Edwards in Portland: at least one convert
by hubbird, Wed May 02, 2007 at 01:39:40 PM EDT
I've been mostly on the fence with regards to the primary contenders. I like Obama's biography and his overarching campaign narrative, but John Edwards has been saying the right things. Today, in the ILWU hall in Northwest Portland, John Edwards won me over.
One of my reservations about Edwards has been that when I've seen him on TV he doesn't seem to be comfortable. He can come across as slick, a little condescending, and all around "too lawyery". But today he was none of those things. Aside from a few moments where he seemed to get tongue tied, he was personable, comfortable, and real.
More than anything, what impressed me today was his willingness to not just take a strong stand on issues (which he did a number of times), but to ask his supporters to stand with him and to build a lasting movement for good in this country and around the world.
The single moment, among many powerful ones, which cemented my support for Edwards was at the beginning of the Q and A session. He was asked (roughly): "Do you support corporations having the same constitutional rights as individuals?" to which he answered, simply, "no."
Maybe this was a matter of him misunderstanding the question, or at least not understanding the full import of the question, but I suspect that, as a lawyer, he knew very well what he was saying. This is a pretty big deal. Has any other candidate even addressed this issue? Would any other candidate even try to formulate an answer to that question, much less answer it so unequivocably?
The other very powerful moment was when he directly addressed the "Global War
Of On Terror" question from the debate. He explicitly stated, I'm sure to the delight of the Netroots bigwigs in attendance (shout outs to Kari Chisholm and Jesse Cornett of Blue Oregon), that the term "Global War On Terror" is a right wing political frame used to justify their military adventures and torture camps. Then he said one of his best lines of the night:
Raw power alone will not make you a leader. You need to have moral authority
and went on to discuss America's role in the world with regards to Sudan, AIDS, and global warming.
That's one other strong point I want to address: his global warming policy proposals, while stopping short of the carbon tax Dodd has called for, are very strong. He is very vocal about a 25% rps and reducing carbon emissions 80% by 2050.
The one moment which gave me pause was the only question he seemed to evade. A man asked if shutting down Guantanamo meant that he was going to push for a repeal of the Military Commissions Act and try the alleged terrorists in civil courts. He stammered a little, and changed the subject briefly to address torture, before saying that they should be given "a hearing of some sort". Hmm.
Anyways, all around, a spectacular performance. I'm on board and am about to make a (very small by virtue of my very small means) contribution.
Was anyone else there? What did you think?