John Edwards in Atlanta

Nearly 300 Atlanta-area people braved yesterday's atypical snow to see and hear former Sen. John Edwards speak at the IBEW Local 613 union hall.  Had the weather been better, I have no doubt the room would have overflowed.  As it was, the room was full of people, full of positive energy, and full of fierce determination to stand by our candidate, come what may.

Mark Taylor, Georgia's Lt. Governor from 1999 to 2007, took the microphone about 2pm to begin working up the crowd.  Despite his loss in the 2006 governor's race, he's still got the fire in the belly.  Taylor spoke to our desperate need to win the White House in 2008, ("We knew George Bush would mess up America; what we didn't know is that he would mess up a world!")  and how it is Edwards who can best compete in more states than the other candidates (meaning Georgia).  After about 15 minutes, Taylor handed the mike to Governor Roy Barnes (GA governor from 1999-2003).  He again hammered home the electability issue saying, "Georgia Democrats can not afford to apologize for the head of our ticket!"  It is no secret that Democrats here have been beaten down for the last 3 cycles, with devastating consequences on issues like water, transportation, taxes and health care.  Barnes paid due homage to the union movement, then seamlessly at 2:40 pm, only 10 minutes behind schedule, he thundered "Ladies and gentlemen, John Edwards!"

The P.A. system began playing John Mellencamp's "This Is Our Country", but it was barely audible amid the cheers of the crowd.  I was positioned near his entrance to the stage, so I was able to receive an intial handshake from Edwards himself.  He took to the stage, joined by Barnes, Taylor, Richard Ray (a well known labor leader in Georgia), several members of the Georgia Legislature (including Senator Vincent Fort, a real hero in the fight to preserve Grady Hospital), and two past chairs of the state Party.  

I saw very little of Edwards speaking, as Governor Barnes was between me and the candidate.  That was OK, as the sound system worked well.  Some have suggested Edwards has a desire to form some kind of alliance with Obama; there was no evidence of that yesterday.  He blasted Obama's invocation of Reagan as an example of transformational change.  Edwards also mentioned the fact that the candidate who has raised more money from the defense industry, Big Pharma, and insurance interests isn't a Republican - it's Hillary Clinton.  JRE got in one good line I hadn't heard before.  "If you can join the Republican Party by signing a card, the same should apply to a union!" The rest was a pretty standard Edwards speech; end the war - Nataline Sarkisyan - we're the underdog because we don't kowtow to the corpoate structure - that's why we need to win.

He spoke for about 25 minutes, then waded into the crowd to shake hands and sign plackards.  I got my chance, but asked him to sign my copy of the 80-page platform booklet.  "I'd like you to sign this, because it's the ideas that matter".  He signed it for me, saying "You're absolutely right." Suffice it to say, that little booklet has just become one of my prize possessions.  After taking a cell-phone photo for the lady next to me, I left the scene to give others a chance.  On the way, I met up with fellow Cobb County Democrats, as well as those with whom I went door-to-door in Greenville, SC.  Afterwards, Edwards held a brief impromptu news conference with the local ABC and FOX affiliates, as well as Jim Galloway of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  He also took a few questions from regular folks, including a teacher upset with NCLB, and another concerned about mental health issues.  About 3:40, John Edwards left the room and headed off to the next event.  

Mind you, this was before the disappointing numbers from Nevada came through.  That said, I do not believe knowing the numbers would have deterred a single person there.  Certainly not me.  After coming back home (a 1.5 hour journey on mass transit), my apolitical but very observant girlfriend asked the following question: "Are you supporting John Edwards out of self-defense?" My answer was yes.  That's why I cannot give up on this campaign.  I am working class to my very core, and I stand in defense of my right to live, and to have some effect the course of our society.  I depend on having affordable housing and mass transit available to me (the former mentioned directly in Edwards' speech).  

Compromise is not an option.  John Edwards is the only potential leader of the Democratic ticket who can stop the bleeding here in Georgia.  While it looks like the worst parts of Speaker Glenn Richardson's tax plan (eliminating property taxes in exchange for a huge sales tax increase) will be blocked this year, there will probably be increased regressivity in the tax code worked in some other way.  The water plan is inadequate, and mass transit and public health will be further neglected.  We must turn the corner here, and unfairly to be sure, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are not the ones to do that.  The tranformational change we as a country need will not come by accepting corporate lobbyist and PAC money, nor will it take academic self-importance.  

John Edwards cannot give up, and neither can those who support him.  How can one compromise the principle of self-defense?

I hope to post some pictures later, assuming some friends of mine remember to email them.  Thank you to all who read this for keeping the faith!

Tags: Atlanta, Electability, Georgia, John Edwards (all tags)

Comments

14 Comments

Edwards baffles me

What in the world is he doing in Georgia when he is trailing in third place in South Carolina?   He should be in SC shaking every hand he can shake right up until the close of the polls.

He is just bizarre sometimes.

by dpANDREWS 2008-01-20 08:43AM | 0 recs
he was on his way to SC

but stopped in GA, a Feb. 5 state. What is your problem?

by desmoinesdem 2008-01-20 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: he was on his way to SC

If Nevada is of any indication, he will fall far below 15% in almost every state. I think it's laughable for guys like you to desperately want him to be some sort of 'kingmaker'... I wouldn't mind him staying on the ticket for Ttsunami states, but he just won't get any delegates...

I've seen a couple of other state polls in the past few days, Edwards is already constantly polling under 10%.

by prisonbreak 2008-01-20 09:05AM | 0 recs
Re: he was on his way to SC
Edwards is not a NAFTA candidate.
The corporate owned media loves NAFTA - and promote corporate owned candidates - Hillary and Obama who voted for NAFTA deals.
Get it?
by annefrank 2008-01-20 10:02AM | 0 recs
Message to you

My apologies for what I posted yesterday. A mistake.

peace.

by kevin22262 2008-01-20 10:43AM | 0 recs
no problem

We're all frustrated now.

by desmoinesdem 2008-01-20 01:29PM | 0 recs
Thanks

It really was a mistake on so many levels.

Drinking and blogging don't always mix.   :)

by kevin22262 2008-01-20 05:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards baffles me

Thanks for the strategy advice.  I believe it is very smart for Edwards to spend time on the key February 5 states like Georgia.  Treating South Carolina as the be-all-and-end-all would be suicidal.

by Steve M 2008-01-20 08:49AM | 0 recs
thanks for writing up the event

It's always worth seeing a candidate live, if possible. The energy in the room is so different from what comes across on television.

We need to keep Edwards' message out there.

by desmoinesdem 2008-01-20 08:48AM | 0 recs
Re: thanks for writing up the event

Obama won't win the nomination - but DC Dems and media cast a 2 year senator as a rockstar to appeal to younger voters to build the Dem Party base - and diminish Edwards.

The Dem establishment love them some lobbyists donations - and know that Obama will continue the corporate welfare - paid by U.S. taxpayers.

Washington lobbyists endorsing Obama and Hillary -
http://www.rollcall.com/politics/kstendo rsements.html

John Edwards is NOT on the list! WooHoo!

by annefrank 2008-01-20 10:09AM | 0 recs
Re: John Edwards in Atlanta

This is a nice diary- I'm glad you got to meet him- it's exciting when we meet our heroes- it's always great to read something where someone's inner self seems to glow off the page.

by reasonwarrior 2008-01-20 09:40AM | 0 recs
Re: John Edwards in Atlanta

http://projects.ajc.com/gallery/view/met ro/0119edwards/#homepage_tab_newstab

Here are some pictures of the event.  In one, he looks really tired, but all of them reflect his determination and genuine affection for the people.  Remember, this was a free event; he didn't make a dime off of it as far as I know.  

My heartfelt gratitude to those who posted encouraging comments.  You are the best!

Those who were less than encouraging will have to explain to me three things:

First, how the corporate structure ISN'T running the working class of America into the ground.

Second, the exact mechanics of how a candidate can take money from lobbyists and PACs without being beholden to them.

Third, how one can use Ronald Reagan as a POSITIVE example of transformational change.

by CLLGADEM 2008-01-20 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: John Edwards in Atlanta

It's too bad the state Democratic Party disenfranchised me, and I won't get to attend an Edwards event...

At least it snowed in the south.  How you like them apples? :p

by Sean Fitzpatrick 2008-01-20 12:56PM | 0 recs
Re: John Edwards in Atlanta

Can you be more specific about what the State party did?  I'm not being snarky with you.  Are you at liberty to relay your story?

by CLLGADEM 2008-01-20 01:21PM | 0 recs

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