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« Jesus, Trump, and Skip Alston | Main | Reading comprehension »

Jan 30, 2008

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John G

Maybe he will run against Dole. As I remember he was about as effective a senator as she is.

Spag

"....and I will demonstrate that I put my money where my mouth is and start the process of ending the Two America's by selling my 29,000 square foot house that two people live in and donate 90% of the proceeds to charity. With the remaining 10% I will purchase a more reasonable house in the $400,000 range. I will also donate 70% of my net worth to charity, which will still leave me in the top 1% of all taxpayers. The cause of my life is ending poverty, and I intend to prove it with my actions. To whom much is given, much is expected and I expect to give away much."

Oh wait. He didn't say that. I suppose he will fade into history and die a very wealthy man in the "other" America.

Joe Killian

I am always baffled when people who self-identify as any kind of conservative (selectively) argue that Americans can't both be philanthropic and interested in bettering the lives of the poor and also make a lot of money and have luxuries.

I don't think George W. Bush or Dick Cheney (or Rupert Murdoch or Bill O'Reilly for that matter) living like the wealthy men they are means that they don't care about poverty or are especially hypocritical -- and I don't think the argument is any more effective with Bono or John Edwards because they spend more time talking about and working with and for the poor.

You can certainly echo the Bible and say that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God -- but it seems more ideologically consistent (and intellectually honest) for conservatives to instead remind us all (correctly) that one man's wealth does not create another man's poverty.


justcorbly

Complaining that rich people are hypocrites if they condemn a system that allows and encourages poverty is, at least, a plausible explanation for Republicans' avoidance of the issue.

Ian McDowell

It can be argued that it's hard to be a Christian, in the sense that Christ and the Apostles practiced the religion, and rich without also being a hypocrite, which may be why the faith didn't get really popular until Rome adopted and considerably changed it. Much the way that Kingsley Amis once said (I'm paraphrasing here), "I'm neither a Christian nor a pacifist, but I don't see how you can call yourself the first without being the second."

Alan Cone Bulluck

Do you think the wee douche will finally act like a real man by owning up to his ultimate responsiblity as a husband and take care of his terminally ill wife? Doubtful. That man is one sick opportunistic prick.

Jon

We will, at least, be spared a while the color-by-numbers rhetoric that Edwards employs.

But I will agree with Edwards that it is indeed a moral responsibility to care for the poor. There are many ways to do that: giving money to charity is the most obvious, but you can also lend physical help, give of your time and resources, help pay a bill, tutor, etc. The best help you can give is usually in your own community.

His campaign, however, has been about turning that moral responsibility into a legal obligation that one fulfills passively by paying taxes so that enlightened leaders such as he will assign the poor to appropriate government services in a faceless, check-the-box bureaucracy. And the extent of his "caring for the poor" has always seemed to hinge upon his getting elected. Even in this speech he talks about speaking to homeless people under a bridge -- and that's it.

justcorbly

Giving money to the poor is, at best, a stopgap, and, at worst, a self-serving moral emollient. The only effective way to help the poor is to change the political and economic sytem that is responsible for their creation.

Spag

One would think that a person who claims that ending poverty is his "life's work" would be far more charitable with his wealth. It is one thing to advocate policies that redistribute wealth or call on government to end poverty, it is quite another to put your own capital to work without being forced to by the government.

If Edwards truly is committed to this as his life's work, then he can demonstrate as much on a personal level without the government. Bush was dead on the other night when he said that the IRS accepts money orders and voluntary contributions. But Edwards need not send more tax money to the IRS to make a difference. He would be far more effective using his own money directly. He wants to help the poor as his life's work but remain rich at the same time. So his commitment to poverty ends when it stops him from being a millionaire. This means his life's work is really becoming a millionaire with poverty a secondary consideration. If he has far more than he needs and is serious about ending poverty, he can give a lot of it away and still be wealthier than 99% of Americans.

I suspect one reason he never caught on was due to the gap between words and deeds.

Bubba

"I suspect one reason he never caught on was due to the gap between words and deeds."

And the evidence of such (provided mostly by Edwards himself)that was obvious to a large majority of people.

Edwards has been damaged goods politically for years.

Joe Killian

I think you're setting up a needlessly narrow and very selective criteria in which to judge someone's seriousness about defeating poverty.

Martin Luther King Jr. did not give everything he did not need to the poor -- but we don't question his commitment to them.

Bill Gates has personally donated more than almost any living human being to various philanthropic causes. He says he now considers it his life's work. But according to this ridiculous criteria by which you're judging Edwards we'd have to call him a hypocrite, since he's still a very wealthy man, still makes a lot of money and is a multi-billionaire. his commitment to poverty ends when it stops him from being a millionaire. "This means his life's work is really becoming a [b]illionaire with poverty a secondary consideration."

Let's lynch the hypocritical bum.

And Warren Buffett while we're at it. That bum is doing extraordinary, revolutionary philanthropic work on a staggering scale -- but he's still living like a very rich man and could give away much more of his personal fortune and still be richer than Edwards. But does he do it? No. Because that's not really his chief concern. His chief concern is being rich. If he says otherwise he's kidding us and himself, because the numbers speak for themselves.

I think it's incredibly cynical and sort of pointless to spit at Edwards for being rich and professing a commitment to ending poverty but not any number of other people who are doing the exact same thing (many on a much larger scale)...but not running for office.

I can see how Edwards' politics would irk you. That's fine. Disagree with that. But suggesting that no one who's a millionaire could possibly mean what he's been saying and that it's all a political ploy is just weak sauce. There are SO many better arguments for why the guy would make a crap president -- none of them dependent on judging him in ways we wouldn't other million or billionaires who are genuinely committed to ending poverty and consider it their life's work. He doesn't become any more a bastard than any other millionaire philanthropist because he also wants to be elected and use the government to help solve some of the things that cause poverty.

You may not agree that government should be used in that way, or can be effective at that task. That would make you a lot more conservative than your "if rich people cared about poverty, they'd give away their money" jag. And that's fine. But attack the ideology, not the man. His having a world view you don't agree with doesn't make him a dishonest charlatan.


Ed Cone

Edwards never developed an organic base of support built on years of public service. IMHO he didn't put in enough time in the Senate, and that disappointed a lot of North Carolinians.

Rich pols don't have to make themselves middle class or poor to be credible advocates of the average guy -- look at FDR and JFK. Nor do rich people have to give away all their money to have good intentions. But Edwards never seemed to shake the alleged divide -- even as GW Bush, a rich man's son who coasted through much of his life on that ticket, was able to sell himself if not as a champion of the poor then as a regular guy.

I don't doubt Edwards' sincerity -- there are better issues than poverty to choose for purely opportunistic reasons, and I am a big believer in the heart and spirit of Elizabeth.

Edwards failed to catch fire with voters in a year where two rock stars dominate the Dem race, but his ideas helped define the agenda (for the better, in my view).

David Beckwith

While reading some of the ignominious, opprobrious, and simian kneejerk reactions (with emphasis on the jerk), I am reminded of what Balthasar Gracian said about such garbageminds:

"Go straight to the good in everything.
It is the happy lot of those with good taste. The bee goes straight for the sweetness, and the viper for the bitterness it needs for its poison. So with tastes : some go for the best, others for the worst. There is nothing that doesn't have something good, especially books, where good is imagined. Some people's temperaments are so unfortunate that among a thousand perfections they will find a single defect and censure it and blow it out of proportion. They are the garbage collectors of the will and of the intellect, burdened down with blemishes and defects : punishment for their poor discernment rather than proof of their subtlety. They are unhappy, for they batten on bitterness and graze on imperfections. Others have a happier sort of taste : among a thousand defects they discover some perfection that good luck happened to let drop. "

To these I simply say: John is better than you.

justcorbly

Giving money to the poor, as an act of charity, does little to eliminate poverty. Those who condemn Edwards and praise Bush's wise-ass lame joke about the IRS presumaby give great chunks of their wealth to the poor. Right?

For 2000 years, Christians have been admonished to give to the poor. Other religions make the same agrument. Well, look around. It hasn't worked. The poor are still here and new poor people are created every day.

If giving to the poor is intended to provide temporary relief and to make the donor feel better and get a tax deduction, then that is what it does. But, if giving to the poor is intended to eliminate poverty, the evidence shows it's pretty ineffective.

Eliminating poverty is not the same as helping the poor.

Roch101

"One would think that a person who claims that ending poverty is his "life's work" would be far more charitable with his wealth." -- Sam

Asserting this implies that you know the extent of Edward's charity and have judged it to be insufficient. So, for those of us who do not know, what is the extent of Edwards' charity?

Ed Cone

As long as we're quoting scripture, Jesus said the poor would always be with us. Relative definitions of poverty aside (a low-income American has access to many things undreamt of by, say, Herod or Caesar), that is no reason to avoid the issue, which is, as justcorbly's previous comment addresses, actually two issues -- helping the poor, and fighting poverty.

Charity can help the poor. That is, giving money or material or service at the right moment can make a huge difference in someone's life.

Poverty itself demands structural approaches, beyond any eelymosynary remedies applied to individuals or small groups.

I don't know what John Edwards gives to charity. I don't think he has to give most of his money away, certainly at this point in his life and his children's lives, to be considered charitable or to show genuine concern.

But his message as a politician is more about addressing poverty and its structural causes than proclaiming himself the charity champion.

Spag

Edwards has used his poverty center as a campaign tool and that has been demonstrated.

Again, his commitment to the poor seems contingent upon government action rather than personal acts, i,e, "I will help the poor but only if the government forces me to through taxation- or tells me what my contribution should be".

I am also willing to bet that Edwards spends a lot of money each year on tax advisers who tell him how to avoid paying as much taxes as possible, thereby providing even less money to the government to provide for the poor.

The guy is an empty suit with a completely phony message.

Roch101

So, Sam, are you retracting your assertion that Edwards' charity is insufficient?

Ed Cone

I think there is room to criticize Edwards' use of the poverty center as political tool.

The personal charity v structural action argument misses the distinction discussed in recent comments. It's not really what Edwards is talking about.

The blanket dismissal of Edwards and his work seems well answered by Beckwith's quotation.

Jon

As long as we're quoting scripture, Jesus said the poor would always be with us. Relative definitions of poverty aside (a low-income American has access to many things undreamt of by, say, Herod or Caesar), that is no reason to avoid the issue

Thank you, Ed; those were two points I wanted to make but didn't want to appear argumentative.

Still, I think it is important to understand poverty in America relative to poverty elsewhere, especially if we are to take a systematic approach to it. Edwards' campaign was justly criticized for making it sound as if America today were as privation-rid as America circa 1930s. It would be responsible to investigate why being poor in America (relative to one's fellow citizens) is on measure a better life prospect than being even upper-income (relative to one's fellow citizens) in most other nations in the world -- so that in crafting policy responses for the poor in America, one doesn't in ignorance propose throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

And there's another issue, too. Poverty statistics don't take into account federal aid -- so it is in some ways misleading to point to poverty statistics as proof that the federal government is leaving these people behind. Now, I understand that making a nuanced case along those lines is too complex on a campaign trail, but I also think people sometimes intuitively understand an issue even if they cannot "put their finger on it" (i.e., enunciate it clearly as a policy wonk), which is partly the reason Edwards' message failed.

justcorbly

>> "eelymosynary..."

Man, had to google that one. It's not in my Mac's dictionary.

>> "Edwards has used his poverty center as a campaign tool..."

No argument. He used it to keep himself in the public eye after 2004. Rudy G. used 911 for the same purpose. It's a common tactic by politicians who happen to be out of office and want back in.

>>"Edwards' campaign was justly criticized for making it sound as if America today were as privation-rid as America circa 1930s."

We aren't in the depths of the Great Depression, but the fact that a smaller percentage of the population are in poverty does not diminish the suffering of an single individual. If you're homeless, you won't take any solace from a lecture on the 1930's.

More importantly, none of this has much of anything to do with what I think is a moral obligation to support political action that makes the infratructure changes needed to end poverty. Many, many people are driven by real and legitimate religious and moral motives to give aid to the poor. However, that's often done with a 'the poor will always be with us' attitude, which seems to me to verge on being a copout.

Differences in wealth will always be with us, but the poor need not be.

Ed Cone

I'm not meaning to cop out at all, just pointing to an observation by a champion of the downtrodden, in order to make the point about the persistence of the issue.

In my view, this persistence argues for structural solutions. Healthcare and education are necessities in our society, and lack of access to them (or expensive and inefficient access, in the case of healthcare) puts large groups of people at a disadvantage from the start.

There will always be people who are poor -- we shouldn't have a system that exacerbates that reality, but one that allows people to climb past it.

Lex

Say what you will about the Edwards candidacy -- "doomed from the start" comes to mind -- he has put the poor in general, and the victims of Katrina/Rita in particular, on the national agenda in a way no other candidate has.

I find it interesting that Edwards critics seem to think the only ways to help the poor are give your own fortune away or legislate redistribution of wealth. But another way is pursuing public policies that strengthen and expand the middle class. We did that in several ways in the 1990s, from tax policy to welfare reform, and, aided by the dot-com boom, it worked.

As for legislated redistribution of wealth, the Bush tax cuts, notwithstanding their merit in stimulating the economy in general, have resulted in an unprecedented upward concentration of wealth. They've been assisted by increased caps on credit-card interest, more and bigger bank fees, and changes to bankruptcy law. So that cuts both ways.

Jon

We aren't in the depths of the Great Depression, but the fact that a smaller percentage of the population are in poverty does not diminish the suffering of an single individual.

Of course. But if the topic is policy (political action, infrastructure change, etc.), then that portion of the conversation must necessarily be general. With respect to the suffering of the individual, that is why I spoke as I did about individual acts of caring for the poor, which are not encumbered by rote bureaucracy and can involve you meeting whatever need presents itself. These would be true needs, also; it is easier to game a system than it is to hoax someone you know.

Differences in wealth will always be with us, but the poor need not be.

But "poor" is, as Ed pointed out, a relative measure. Poverty (or better said, privation) is a more objective standard. It is easy to conflate the two, but let us not lose sight of the good things that we do and the good situation that we have in this nation in general as we examine ways we could be better. This is not to deny the real suffering, heartache and worry that the poor in America have. But we will always have the poor among us, even if statistics on the poor here include those who own one car instead of two, basic satellite TV instead of a full menu of sports cable option, a cell phone instead of a cell, a landline and home Internet, etc.

There are statistics and there are individuals, as you rightly point out. Political matters deal in statistics. Caring for the poor as Jesus did involved touching individuals' lives. That's why I agree with Edwards that it is a moral responsibility but differ with him on making it more of a political responsibility than it is already.

Bubba

"The blanket dismissal of Edwards and his work seems well answered by Beckwith's quotation."


If you want to make a case for what a fine citizen Edwards is, be my guest.

It doesn't matter anymore politically.

Ed Cone

The Edwards '08 campaign is over. The impact of his campaign on national politics, though, is far from over. As noted here and elsewhere, Edwards helped shape the debate in ways that matter quite a bit, and will matter into the future.

David Hoggard

Reading from Gracian's quotation... (Thanks for it, Dave, I am going to memorize the whole thing)

"Some people's temperaments are so unfortunate that among a thousand perfections they will find a single defect and censure it and blow it out of proportion. They are the garbage collectors of the will and of the intellect, burdened down with blemishes and defects : punishment for their poor discernment rather than proof of their subtlety. They are unhappy, for they batten on bitterness and graze on imperfections."

Then it didn't take long at all for our very own Spag and the consistently dour Bubba to demonstrate Beckwith's point.

Spag

Sometimes the defect is so blatant that it fundamentally flaws the rest of the equation. Now one cannot even criticize a Democrat on the MAJOR point of his campaign without being accused of being a "garbage collector", etc., huh Hoggard?

If a man says that the central focus of his life is poverty it is fair to examine whether that is true or not. Your attempt to equate making this examination with a complaint about the color of Edwards' tie diminishes you, not me or Bubba.

What if he was right on poverty, but wrong about everything else? Should we ignore everything else?

The intellect that is in the garbage isn't mine or Bubba's.

Debra

First, Elizabeth Edwards has the same stage of cancer as Fred Thompson -- and he was running for president. She is no more terminally ill than Thompson or thousands of other Americans.

John Edwards was both the most progressive candidate on issues and the most electable on paper. He ran a terrific campaign and defined it in a positive direction.

But that didn’t matter because of the media's egregiously awful and idiotic coverage of Edwards.

The inane, substanceless focus on Edwards’s house and haircut, instead of the policies he proposed, is shameful. The "how can you care about poor people when you're so rich" meme implies that poor people are not entitled to representation in the American political system, since it allows for only wealthy people to run.

John Edwards spoke for not just the poor, but those of us in the middle class who work two and three jobs apiece, yet can't afford health care as we watch companies (represented by highly paid lobbyists) outsource our jobs.

John won the South Carolina Democratic debate and yet not a peep out of the media because they are so focused on the celebrity candidates Obama and Clinton.

The media’s reprehensible coverage of the presidential race in general and of Edwards in particular will have a far reaching impact on America and the world.

David Hoggard

No we shouldn't, Sam. You missed my larger point which was probably silly and out of place.

I've never met you, but I have never pictured you with a smile. Same with Bob - whom I have met - who never smiled.

Mine was more of a general observation than a comment on this particular subject and I guess I just couldn't resist. Perhaps we should meet sometime to dispel my impression.

jimcaserta

"The primary aims of the [Bill & Melinda Gates] foundation are, globally, to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and, in the United States, to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology." Gates's house is valued at $135 Million. Is Gates not worth listening to or working with on the issues related to his foundation?

In regards to EE, my wife and I were watching the 60 minutes episode a while back when Edwards decided to stay in the race. I asked my wife whether she would want me to quit if we were in that situation, to which she instantly responded no. That was the question I was waiting Couric to ask - how did that conversation go when John asked Elizabeth whether he should stay in the race.

Spag

Hoggard, I feel the same way about a lot of the people on this blog and others but I guess it doesn't bother me because you just never know.

Bubba

"The intellect that is in the garbage isn't mine or Bubba's."

As has been painfully obvious for quite some time.

Speaking of "doom and gloom", Edwards was the personification of such in this campaign.

Linda Daves put it nicely enough:


".....He droned on with a message of doom and gloom continually portraying a negative outlook for America.

No candidate cornered the market on pessimism quite like John Edwards......"

This behavior is in stark contrast to Obama's messege, and even Hillary came off better than Edwards in this regard.

He won't be missed by many.

Bubba

"Same with Bob - whom I have met - who never smiled."

In the physical presence of Mitch Johnson and his machinations, you expected me to SMILE?

Oh, please......

That's like faulting me for not smiling back in the day when somebody was yelling "Incoming!" with a fair amount of regularity.

Dave Dobson

So, John Edwards can't work to reduce (or even care about) poverty unless he gives away all his money?

I'll expect these guys to chop off their dicks before they next pontificate about abortion, then.

dhoggard@triad.rr.com

Good point, Bob.

Spag

Is ending poverty the primary cause of Bill & Melinda Gates' life or is running Microsoft and making it profitable?

It's not that Edwards dares to care about poverty while being a rich man, it's that he claims that it is his passion and primary purpose to end it, yet he doesn't walk the walk. He essentially is asking others to do what he won't do himself despite claiming it as his main goal in life.

Dale Earnhardt wanted to race cars. It was his passion. It was his primary purpose in life, so much so that he had two failed marriages, a son he couldn't afford so he allowed him to be adopted, and was behind on his child support. He dropped out of school just so he could work on his race car. He sacrificed everything for that passion.

There are numerous other examples of people who have sacrificed greatly for their passion, John Edwards just isn't one of them.

Spag

How many abortions did those men have or how many aborted children are they responsible for and how many of those men have claimed that ending abortion is the cause of their life?

That's just a dumb comparison, Dave, factually and structurally.

Jim Caserta

Bill Gates hasn't been CEO of Microsoft for a while - since 2000 when Ballmer became CEO. How does he not walk the walk - by living in a big house? How much impact would Edwards donating all his worth to charity make? Edwards could also just go work at a homeless shelter, or other front-line poverty fighting job. Would that have as much impact as he could have as president? While Gates has given generously, he still has much more wealth than Edwards.

So does a NASCAR driver that does not burn through two marriages not dedicated enough? Are they not sacrificing enough? Earnhardt also made the ultimate sacrifice for his sport.

Ed Cone

For what it's worth, Bill Gates left the CEO job at Microsoft several years ago, and is preparing to retire from all managerial responsibility.

Edwards had issues other than poverty. And to say he has not sacrificed for his passion is to define sacrifice in very narrow terms, i.e., giving away all his money, and also in terms defined by you but that many others find wanting.

Bubba

"He sacrificed everything for that passion."

Earnhardt would have driven for free, and no one could ever have been able to tell the difference on the race track.

Somehow, I don't think the same could be said for John Edwards.

jimcaserta

Sacrifice is an interesting term, because Earnhardt pretty much did what he wanted to do. I would think of sacrifice as giving up something you want to do something more important. Ted Williams & others sacrificed when they gave up their sport to volunteer to fight a war. Passion and sacrifice are different.

Brian Clarey

I love how this is morphing into a NASCAR debate. Keep it up, guys... I'm gonna go make popcorn.

Roch101

"He essentially is asking others to do what he won't do himself despite claiming it as his main goal in life." --Sam

Really, this again? What is it that he won't do himself?

Dave Dobson

Sam, you started out saying, essentially, if Edwards isn't poor, he has no credibility on poverty. Now you're redefining your argument in terms of what life's work and sacrifice and Nascar mean, which seem like pretty artificial distinctions.

If Edwards has to be poor or get poor to work authentically for poverty, then those Republicans should be women or become women to work authentically in the field of women's reproductive health, is all I'm saying. Likewise, they should become abstinent before advocating abstinence, and they should become black before talking about racial inequality and discrimination.

If it sounds ridiculous, it's only because it reflects your original ridiculous assertion.

Ed Cone

Sam, you make it sound as if Edwards was asking other people to give away most or all of their money -- asking wealthy people to give away enough to be middle class.

I missed that part of his message.

I thought he was asking people to (among other things) focus on the economically disadvantaged and find systemic fixes that would help them, and society at large. This would require the wealthier among them to pay somewhat more in taxes, but not to give away huge chunks of their wealth on the scale you suggested he must do to have credibility.

I think it's perfectly appropriate for him to say this, no matter where he lives -- although, to be sure, moving into a massive house at the moment you raise the subject is a potential political liability, whether or not it should be.

Spag

Jim: "I would think of sacrifice as giving up something you want to do something more important." Exactly, like your money.

Roch & Dave: Edwards could take a lot of people out of poverty with 80% of his wealth and still be a millionaire and richer than 99% of the people in the country. At some point when you preach about poverty like he has done but won't use your own money to help the people you care so deeply about, it makes you look greedy (having less than $5 million in the bank is too little) and hypocritical.

Somebody invoked Jesus a few posts back. Somehow I don't think Jesus would believe that being a millionaire is justified if you could help just one poor person, especially if you were still rich afterwards. Edwards isn't Jesus, but you get the point. People who are passionate about animals often take strays into their house at great cost and at great risk to their personal property. They can't save all of the strays in the world, but they can make a big difference for a few.

John Edwards could do the same for the poor that are the "cause of his life" but he won't because he doesn't want to make the sacrifice. What makes matters worse is that he would still be rich even afterward, just not rich enough apparently.

I have no doubt he cares about poor people, but no more than anyone else on the planet despite his rhetoric, and his lack of personal action when he is in such a better position than the average person to help only makes him more appalling and worthy of criticism.

The man is a phony.

Ed has some good points although I disagree with the premise he assigns to the Edwards campaign and whether, even if true, that premise provides cover for Edwards. This goes back to what I wrote in an earlier post about Edwards' charity being dependent upon government action while as a private citizen, he can make efforts without the government that could make a difference for some people.

Doug H

"he is in such a better position than the average person to help"

You mean like running for high office, maybe?

Ed Cone

Edwards' push for government action is an indicator of the scope of the systemic problems he seeks to address.

These problems and their solutions go far beyond the reach of his personal fortune.

Whether he should give his fortune away is his choice.

His choice not to do so (at least to date) while urging systemic reform does not make him a hypocrite in my view.

Jim Buie

John Edwards recruited hundreds if not thousands of people to join him on Habitat for Humanity volunteer rebuilding projects in the Gulf Coast. Indeed, after he withdrew from the race, he spent a good part of the afternoon rebuilding a house in New Orleans.

Members of his "One Corps" participated in canned food collections for the poor, and were encouraged to set up and work in food pantries for the hungry. He and Elizabeth set up a "college for everyone" program in two North Carolina communities with their own money. So, his commitment to the poor wasn't just grandstanding, he actually did tangible things. Even if you cynically assume he was simply image-polishing, it was image-polishing with far more positive outcomes than the other pols who simply talk about helping the poor.

The Edwards campaign pioneered the notion of supporters using online organizing tools for real-world action, now. Though his campaign never really got off the ground with a single primary win, I do hope other candidates will utilize his model to organize people for social good. That, to me, is potentially the true legacy of his campaign.

I wrote about this more than a year ago:
http://jimbuie.blogs.com/journal/2007/01/on_building_onl.html

Edwards never "clinched the deal" with me in terms of his presidential candidacy, never persuaded me that he would be the best president, but I'm sorry these ideas didn't catch fire. I do hope there's still a chance they will.

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