Your Morning Edwards Analysis
By: Mark W Adams

John Edwards:Busting Conservative Myths about the Military
John Edwards is getting a track record for blazing the trail on national security. He was the only Democratic contender at the first debate to openly criticize the label "war on terror". His lonely stance was unusual and illustrates how fearful we've become as a nation as well as alienated from the fundamental principles of our own democracy. Military experts--many veterans among them-- have been broadcasting their dissatisfaction about this label since the war began. Terrorism is a tactic, not a long term strategy. And the Bush Administration has been getting a free ride on this moniker since the post 9/11 world began. But then, understanding the integrity and the substance of the military would explode the neo-conservative election strategy that revolves around distorted labels of strength and weakness, patriotism and "America hating." We will endure these talking points until a group of wise Republicans decide to take their party back. In the meantime, we on the left can obstruct this BS by retiring old, tired rhetoric like "Hawks vs. Doves", "guns vs. butter" or "military industrial complex". We've got most of the liberal arts grads. Let's make up some new language. We need to act fast. The military now sucks up over half of the money available in the budget every year. (not counting the wars) Our service members are accumulating more and more responsibilities, from door kicking to election monitoring. We've laid far too many tasks at their feet, all without a thorough deliberation in Congress or elsewhere. Our elected leaders need to draw some clear boundaries before we all get used to the status quo. I'm a traditionalist on this score: I'd like to see the military circumscribed to very specific roles--only where the presence of credible coercion is vital. The division of labor for US national security is a long awaited debate that is the centerpiece of civil-military relations today.
For a broader analysis of the evolution of Edwards progressive record, check out David Mizner's MyDD Diary, JRE's Journey: Edwards Goes Left (Also in Orange).
While critics of Edwards make far too much of his change--he's always had palpable progressive instincts--supporters do him a disservice if they deny that he's moved left. Of course he has, especially on foreign policy. But the change has not been sudden or capricious, as his detractors claim; on the contrary, it has been gradual, sometimes halting, and, given his instincts, natural. Far from mysterious, his growth has its roots in political and personal forces that aren't difficult to discern, if you care to look.
David does an admirable job focusing out attention in the proper direction.
Diarist Be Inspired, (Sirius at MyDD) summarizes the "scathing exposé from Media Matters which explains how the Main Stream Media conistently dumps on progressives in general, and John Edwards in particular:
  • Media often give short shrift to the actual substance of progressive proposals, focusing instead on their cost.

  • Media portray wealthy candidates who advocate progressive economic proposals as out-of-touch hypocrites. Bizarrely, wealthy candidates who advocate conservative economic policies that would actually enrich themselves often escape similar scrutiny of their personal finances.

This is simply insane.

It is no more an example of "hypocrisy" for a rich man to want to help the poor and middle class than it is "ironic" to experience rain on your wedding day. That just isn't what the word means.

An example of hypocrisy would be a politician who claims to care about the poor and middle class while pursuing policies that line the pockets of the wealthy at the expense of the rest of the nation. A "compassionate conservative," for example. That's hypocrisy.

A rich man who says he cares about poverty and pursues policies designed to fight it? That isn't hypocrisy, that's empathy.

One final note. It's official, the Senate is actually going to have a vote on the Feingold-Reid anti-war amendment which cuts of funding for tht ewar by Markch 31, 2008. (HT: TPM Cafe) this should put tremendous pressure on Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton who can no longer try to hold a middle ground between anti-war rhetoric while voting to continue funding the war.

Will Hillary cling to her proposal to "deauthorize" the 2002 vote to allow the President to use military force against Iraq if diplomatic efforts failed, but refuse to back up the legalities with the power of the purse? Does Obama have the stomach for "playing chicken" when the choice is ending the war -- starting right now -- or "staying the course?
For the record,
"We support Reid-Feingold, but actually think we should go further. The Edwards plan calls for Congress to use funding power to force an immediate withdrawal of 40-50,000 troops to show we're serious about leaving, followed by an orderly withdrawal our combat troops that would be complete in about a year. Reid-Feingold uses funding to start withdrawing troops in four months and complete it by March 31, 2008 - not immediate. We're for the use of the funding power and support this bill as far as it goes, but we think we should go further and begin withdrawal immediately."
This is the first time the Senate has been asked to vote on this issue in such stark terms. If Senators Clinton or Obama fail to vote yes to Feingold-Reid, Edwards can solidify his position as THE only top-tier candidate who truly opposes the war.

Frankly I'm surprised the leadership decided to allow this to come to the floor since the number 2 Democratic Sentator, Dick Durbin, would be loathe to put his fellow Illinois Senator in an awkward position.

Powered by ScribeFire.