The John Edwards Transformational Issue

I'm prompted to write this diary by a post Matt Stoler wrote the other day called "The John Edwards Trust Issue." I was struck by Matt's use of the now-popular term "transformational":

To really buy into the idea that John Edwards can be a transformational candidate, you have to buy into the idea that he himself has transformed.  And while he has certainly shown signs of rethinking his approach to politics, and in particular dropping the centrism that once characterized his persona, he's not there.

Matt's post concerns Edwards' views (or possible views) on foreign policy.  Matt is very dubious of the foreign policy thinkers who have (or may have had) some influence on Edwards' current thinking, and he constructively suggests some names of thinkers he wishes Edwards would be influenced by.  Commenter georgep helpfully fleshed out the actual views of thinkers like Anatol Lieven that Matt would like to see Edwards adopt.  This makes it easier to understand what Matt is really arguing:  Matt is wary that Edwards' foreign policy philosophy may not be radically different from the traditional view that America is "exceptional" and must act and must be seen as the leader of nations rather than as simply a humble partner in the community of nations.

If I've properly understood Matt's wariness, this leads to a number of questions:  Can a president who is influenced by a traditional view of American exceptionalism do more good than ill, or is this president's foreign policy bound to do more ill than good?   Is it politically feasible for a presidential candidate not to express a traditional view of America's leadership role in the world?   Is the traditional view always and necessarily imperialist?

I think when you're arguing a point of view that bucks tradition, you can sometimes be quick to cast others as hopelessly wedded to the wrongheaded, hidebound orthodoxy. But Lieven is smart enough not to suggest it's impossible to find reasonable points of view, even in the halls of orthodoxy:

[I]n the end, by far the greater part of the Republican and Democratic establishments share the same basic myths of American nationalism concerning the righteousness of American power, the same commitment to U.S. supremacy in the world, and a common adherence to the same set of basic imperial strategies.... [T]he liberal hawks who praise diplomacy in principle also appear to misunderstand its true nature. When they speak of engaging other countries diplomatically, what they usually mean is talking at them more loudly and sweetly, but with the same ends in mind.
[My emphasis]

But one thing there seems to be no question of in Matt's mind: for someone to be a "transformational candidate," they must divorce themselves of any association with these  traditionalist views of America's role.  (Matt advises Edwards to "jettison his foreign policy advisors.")  

That brings us back to the topic - what qualifies someone to be a "transformational candidate"?


A Brief Digression

I must digress for a moment:  It's not hard to see the irony when Matt titles his article "The John Edwards Trust Issue", uses the same breathless tone in his piece, gets some pissy comments, and then later appends an update to his post where he sniffs "this isn't really anything more than a 'here's why Edwards hasn't convinced me yet but he could' blog post" - as if there was no reason in the world for readers to take exception.  Well, can we start with the rhetorically overwrought title?  Lately I've been  really, really snarky about  hyperskepticism of Democratic leaders, but seriously:  the "trust issue", in one way or another, is a frame our opponents will use against any of our candidates.  It's a poor way to frame how we think about our candidates.   I have no doubt Matt's post was meant as constructive criticism.  But a "Can we really trust So-and-so?" frame will inevitably and needlessly piss off lots of supporters, some of whom will reflexively respond with posts that diss the author.  Which is exactly what happened in this case.  So that even though the great majority of commenters who took issue with Matt's post were neither impolite nor unsubstantive - Matt got pissy and commented that "this cult thing needs to stop."  Does it serve any good purpose to have enthusiastic members of the Democratic base being labelled cultists by a frontpage writer on MyDD?  And so the dissing goes both ways.  I think there would be much less chance of the dialogue devolving that way if Matt hadn't framed his post as a "trust issue".  The post might simply have been framed as "Here's why Edwards shouldn't put stock in M. O'Hanlon's theories and instead should read A. Lieven's writings" - rather than "Can we trust Edwards when we hear that he's reading books by the likes of  M. O'Hanlon?" 


A Reasonable Definition of "Transformational"

Commenting on Matt's quote above, I noted that Howard Dean had governed as a centrist and many of his supporters in '04 actually found his centrist tendencies quite appealing, and I asked whether this meant Matt would disqualify Dean from being considered a "transformational" candidate.  

Pachacutec commented back:

I don't have the link, but Joe Trippi wrote about this here at MyDD.  Trippi now works for Edwards, after saying he wanted to work for a "transformational candidate." 

Ergo, it's reasonable to conclude that Edwards sees himself and wants to be seen as such a candidate.  He has some credentials to make the case with fervor on domestic issues, but does not quite seem to be all the way there on foreign policy.  His GWOT refusal at the debate was a very good sign, though.
...

You will notice that Matt uses his writing to pressure each major candidate to become something closer to a real netroots progressive favorite.

This comment doesn't explain what a "transformational" candidate is, but implies - as does Matt's post - that a transformational candidate must hold some pretty particular domestic and foreign policy views.  Both Matt and Pachacutec feel Edwards is not quite "there" yet on foreign policy.

Pachacutec also implies that if you're really interested in this idea of a "transformational candidate," you should look into what Joe Trippi has to say about it.

OK. So here's the MyDD diary Joe Trippi wrote which  Pachacutec was referring to.  In it, Trippi writes:

The Dean campaign was different not because of ideology or because of opposition to the war -- but because it revolved around its supporters and empowered them.  It was the only campaign in a long time that realized that the people were more important than the candidate.

For Trippi, it does not seem to be about specific policies or ideology - but really about a candidate who truly believes in the people.  So what makes a "transformational"Democrat any better than a Republican, say Reagan - or independent, say Perot - who really believes in the American people?  Trippi elaborates in this comment:

[B]elieving in the people is not the only ingredient but it the essential ingredient.

Reagan believed in Americans as "rugged individuals" each of us capable of fending for ourselves.  His transformation of American politics arguably helped create an era of "what's in it for me" politics -- but it would be hard to say he was not a transformational leader.

When Kennedy said "Ask what you can do for your country" -- he was saying Americans can do anything when we are all in this together and do something for the greater good.

I think this is why transformational leadership on the right is so limited.

I think America hungers for the Progressive brand of transformational leadership.

Do Americans look to the future hoping to face the challenges of energy, global warming, terrorism etc as "rugged individuals"?   Or are they likely to realize that we are all in this together -- that we face challenges today that can only be met  and overcome together -- and hunger for a leader who believes enough in them to challenge the nation to the greater and common good again.

This is where the candidates who say things like the people want someone in the middle to bring people together and solve problems yada yada yada -- are close to getting it but are missing the point completely.

I think this jibes with what ManfromMiddletown wrote in his recent diary, "What is Transformational Change." ManfromMiddletown suggests that a "transformational" leader is one like FDR or Reagan who manages to produce a sea change in the popular view of government.

As progressives, we of course do long for a president, like FDR, who can persuade Americans that we're all in the same boat, that great accomplishments - such as winning World War II - require the collective efforts and sacrifices of the nation as a whole.  Working only as individuals, we obviously couldn't have defeated the Nazis.  Nor, individually, could we have constructed massive engines for economic growth such as the Interstate Highway system and the Internet - or any of hundreds of other examples of public institutions and infrastructures upon which our society has depended for its prosperity.   Whereas Reagan was adept at convincing people to view government as stifling people's individual ability to achieve, FDR was adept at pursuading Americans to view government as the system that helps all of us work together to prosper.  (But FDR also made one of the most egregious decisions any president has ever made - interning thousands of innocent citizens; so, looking back, can we really trust him?  Sorry, I'm being snarky again.)

Can we agree that the essential role of a "transformational" Democratic leader would be to convince a goodly majority of Americans to believe in a progressive view of government and society?   Isn't this view the very foundation of the Democratic Party?   Perhaps we don't even need a new word for it.  As Edwards has said, we don't need to redefine the Democratic Party, we need to reclaim it.  Or as another candidate once said, we need a president who represents the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.


An Unreasonable Definition of "Transformational"

Matt and others sometimes seem to imply that a "transformational" Democratic candidate is one whose policies are in perfect harmony with the progressive netroots.

But this blogocentric view of "transformational" clearly can't be right.  For starters, the "progressive netroots" isn't some monolithic thing - because progressives themselves are not monolithic in their thinking.  An important example would be U.S.-Israel policy.  I know folks who are a lot more active in progressive politics and social action than I am, who also are staunchly supportive of Israel.  While staunch support of Israel isn't something I'd ever expect to see in a frontpage post on DailyKos, when I recently waded into a DailyKos thread on Jimmy Carter's controversial new book, "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid," I found a wide variety of viewpoints.  Progressives are a diverse bunch, even if that diversity isn't always reflected on the front pages of popular blogs.

Matt suggests that if Edwards wants to be a "transformational" candidate, he should "jettison his foreign policy advisors." This seems audacious - I wonder if Matt even knows all the names of , let alone all the policy views of, the advisors that he's decided should be purged.  But a commenter in another thread goes a step further:

Matt,

You should interview John Edwards for MYDD and ask him about your concerns point blank.  Ask him who he would appoint as Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, National Security Advisor.  

Since he is counting on support from internet progressives, I think he would have to accept an offer from you for an interview.

Look, I like Matt. I like all the writers at MyDD.  But, fergawdsake, I wouldn't want them vetting the people who run the candidate's blog, let alone vetting the people who would serve in the candidate's cabinet!

And I don't want the collective progressive netroots to be doing that, either.    

I think a good president actually should be capable of making important decisions pretty much without the netroots' assistance.  Because that's, you know, the president's job.  I don't want the Democratic president to be the puppet of the progressive blogosphere any more than I'd want a Republican president to the puppet of the conservative blogosphere.  (Well, OK, the latter is a much more frightening thought, but my point stands.)


Is John Edwards "Transformational"? 

My favorite candidate is John Edwards, and whether or not he wins popularity contests on DailyKos or MyDD, I fully expect that, as a candidate - and if he becomes president - he will make choices I don't always agree with.  In fact, I'm sure he will sometimes take positions that I adamantly disagree with.

And yet, while I honestly think all of the leading Democratic candidates have the potential to be great presidents, to my ear John Edwards is most loudly and clearly expressing the fundamental principles which distinguish the party of Franklin Roosevelt from the party of Ronald Reagan.

Most importantly, in my view, he talks about the goal of eradicating poverty in America and focusing intensely on arresting severe poverty worldwide.  He talks about specific policies for doing so, and for measuring the progress of these policies.

Now, suppose you're skeptical - maybe even hyperskeptical - so you don't "trust" him.  Suppose you think, "He's really a centrist, he's just talking about poverty in order to try to appeal to the left flank of the party."

But here's the thing.  When he talks about tackling - indeed, ending - poverty in America, just as when he talks about truly universalizing healthcare coverage - he is putting himself on the spot, politically.  If Edwards becomes president, the annual poverty numbers, I will wager, are going to get much more scrutiny.  Think about it:  What grist for Republicans if Edwards is president and the annual report released by the Census Bureau in the summer of  2010 shows that poverty has risen for the second year in a row!  By that very same token, there will be tremendous incentive for Edwards - assuming even the cynical view that he is nothing but a self-interested politician - to work hard to make sure his Republican opponents never get that grist - that is, he will have much incentive to institute policies that actually do reduce poverty.  

I believe progressives too would hold his feet to the fire on this issue, to a larger degree than we might a Democratic president who did not make the issue of poverty central to their campaign.  

If you want another take on why it's so important for Democrats to speak boldly on traditional Democratic issues like fighting poverty and ensuring health care, consider what historian Rick Perlstein says:

Take something like federal aid to education. That was an idea Democrats had ever since the New Deal. It never succeeded for various political reasons, but they just kept at it and by 1965 Lyndon Johnson finally passed the thing. By that time, everyone knew what the Democrats were about: They were the party that supported federal aid for education. Compare that to when the Clintons proposed their health care plan in the early '90s. He ran and won on the idea that he was going to deliver health care to all Americans, and for various complicated reasons he lost that battle. But instead of saying well, this is what the Democrats are about, we're going to stick to it despite the setback, Hillary Clinton very explicitly said: What I learned was that you have to do things in small steps and incrementally. She specifically backed off the marker that the Democrats laid down, that we are the party defined by our pledge to deliver health care to everyone.
...
["Marker" is] a gambling term. A marker basically is a commitment to pay. In Guys and Dolls, Nathan Detroit would say, "that guy holds my marker." It's something you can't back out of, on pain of getting your knees broken. The marker that Republicans have is that everyone who runs for office has to sign a pledge--it's enforced by their own knee-breaker, Grover Norquist--that on pain of political death they're not going to raise taxes.

My thesis is that a commitment that doesn't waver adds value by the very fact of the commitment. The evidence is that even though the individual initiatives that make up the conservative project poll quite poorly, they've managed to succeed simply because everyone knows what the Republicans stand for. And the most profound exit poll finding in the last election had nothing to do with moral values, it was all the people who said that they disagreed with the Republicans on individual issues, but they voted for George W. Bush anyway because they knew what he stood for.

So that's why Edwards is my favorite candidate.  He speaks boldly on fundamentally Democratic issues like poverty, health care, labor rights, the environment - and I think speaking this way makes it more likely that bold progressive policies will actually see fruition.  

Should we call this "transformational"?  I think it's right on, whatever you want to call it.

Tags: Anatol Lieven, Franklin Rooselvelt, Jimmy Carter, Joe Trippi, John Edwards, Michael O'Hanlon, netroots, Rick Perlstein, Ronald Reagan, transformational (all tags)

Comments

17 Comments

Re: The John Edwards Transformational Issue

So that's why Edwards is my favorite candidate.  He speaks boldly on fundamentally Democratic issues like poverty, health care, labor rights, the environment - and I think speaking this way makes it more likely that bold progressive policies will actually see fruition.  

I'll go one step further and say that not only is John Edwards speaking boldly on fundamental Democratic issues, he's running the campaign in a way that encourages his supporters to actually get involved on these issues. With another candidate, I would probably be knocking on doors and handing out flyers about the candidate. Instead, I'm doing things like signing up kids for public health care plans and cooking food for the homeless AND spreading the word about John Edwards' vision.

by clarkent 2007-05-14 03:19AM | 0 recs
Re: The John Edwards Transformational Issue

Yeah, I think he has a real opportunity to brand himself as an "outside-the-box" candidate.

I read an article about the candidate brands, and it said the Obama was like a Mac and Hillary was a PC. Seems to me that Edwards can represent a new alternative to an old binary in politics. Just as a new operating system could completely revolutionize the IT world, Edwards could be a completely different kind of candidate.

by bluenc 2007-05-14 04:20AM | 0 recs
Re: The John Edwards Transformational Issue

I think that placing the "transformational" title to Edwards (or Obama) is premature.

Edwards has (and for some seized) this opportunity to remake, repackage himself as an "outside the box" candidate. However, this opportunity only exists because he is not in the Senate, and when he was in government, his voting behavior is less "transformational" than we would like.

Placing the "transformational" label on Obama, at this point is similarly problematic. As the front page diary on Daliy Kos suggests, either he will come off as naive, or incredible. Only time will tell. However, the fact that Obama has the support of independent voters suggests that he really could reshape the political landscape.

Again, though, a transformational president must be president to succeed, and neither Obama or Edwards are there, yet.

by thetadelta 2007-05-14 08:10AM | 0 recs
Re: The John Edwards Transformational Issue

Goldwater and Dean are examples of two candidates who failed in their bid to become president, yet their campaigns were most definitely transformational.

by clarkent 2007-05-14 08:56AM | 0 recs
Re: The John Edwards Transformational Issue

According to blogger Matthew Yglesias, Edwards has positioned himself to the right of Clinton and Obama when it comes to foreign policy.  The foreign policy people he has surrounded himself with have a decided moderate/centrist thrust, and their known points of view (gleaned from books they have written, op-ed essays they have published) are imperialistic in nature.  Add to that the reading list that Edwards himself stated has been his influence, and you arrive at a picture of a candidate who, when it comes to foreign policy, may not be "progressive."

Rob in Vermont, your diary basically glosses over the importance foreign policy has assumed in the progressive world.  The Iraq war is the overriding issue for many self-proclaimed progressives. Aside from Iraq concerns over Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Syria, etc. factor in here.  To those progressive bloggers, foreign policy concerns trump everything else, and you arrive at candidate assessments based on foreign policy concerns first and foremost.   The domestic issues that you bring to the table here (poverty, health care, labor rights) are important issues, but at this point in time they are easily outdone by foreign policy concerns, which to the progressive blogosphere are most important.  

Basically, the candidate is not seen as "transformational" (in progressive terms) when that most crucial element is not seen as "progressive," but rather "positioned to the right of Clinton and Obama" or "imperialistic."

by georgep 2007-05-14 05:12AM | 0 recs
It's still the economy, stupid.

I understand that for you and for many other Obama supporters foreign policy is the most important issue, but the truth of the matter is that exit polling from the 2006 elections shows that it's still the economy that matters most.

From Florida to Hawaii and parts in between, pro-fair trade challengers Tuesday beat anti-fair trade incumbents, according to a major report on the 2006 midterm results conducted by Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch division. Incumbents who had voted for the U.S. trade status quo of NAFTA, WTO and Fast Track were replaced by fair traders rejecting these failed policies and advocating improvement in 37 congressional seats (7 Senate and 30 House).

"This election changed the composition of Congress on trade to more closely represent U.S. public opinion. Congress needs a system for negotiating U.S. trade agreements - with a steering wheel and emergency brakes on negotiators - that delivers on the public's expectations for a new trade policy that wins for American workers and farmers and does not harm the environment or food safety," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch division.

Trade and offshoring were wedge issues actively used in 115 congressional campaigns nationwide with more than 25 paid campaign ads run on trade and offshoring. Election exit polls conducted by CNN and The New York Times revealed that Americans' anxiety about the economy and job security trumped Iraq war concerns.

This was the number 1 lesson of 2006, Iraq is important, but it's economic insecurity that caused people who voted for Republicans previously to give Democrats their vote in 2006.  If we want our presidential candidate to win in 2008, we have  to make sure that lesson was learned, and not allow the election become mypopically focued on Iraq, while economic insecurity is racking states like Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. There's a real disconnect between the issue that are moving voters, and the dialogue that's dominated by donors who just don't understand that no one gives a shit about what they think, nor will they ever.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-05-14 05:53AM | 0 recs
Re: It's still the economy, stupid.

I am not saying that I necessarily agree with Matt Stoller on this, I was just offering thoughts why he (and other bloggers) arrived at the conclusion they did.   It seems that foreign politics is THE issue for many progressive bloggers.  

by georgep 2007-05-14 06:13AM | 0 recs
Re: It's still the economy, stupid.

Ok.

If so then bloggers need to realize that this is a serious disconnect with the political reality in this country.  If we have a candidate who runs on Iraq, they will not win that vital 35-65 working class demographic that has been trending Republican, but turned for Democrats in 2006.  This is an issue that's a fixation for the post-grad crowd, but that's not where movement in the electorate occurs.  

The movement that defines electoral victory or loss occurs with lower income voters who are not college graduates.  That's what led to Democratic victory in 2006.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-05-14 06:30AM | 0 recs
George P is an Obama supporter?

Above thread:

I understand that for you and for many other Obama supporters...

Coulda fooled me!    =)   Pretty sure he's in the Clinton camp.

by rashomon 2007-05-14 11:42AM | 0 recs
Re: It's still the economy, stupid.

Half of our national budget is spend on our military. When you consider that, the military issue is the economy, stupid. ;)

by Pope Jeremy 2007-07-14 08:40PM | 0 recs
Re: The John Edwards Transformational Issue

According to Matt Yglesias, Clinton is practically a right-winger. Yglesias' post on Edwards' foreign policy just takes an old article on some books that Edwards has read and takes him to task on it. For example, the points on foreign policy that Edwards has articulated thus far are in direct opposition to Michael "give the surge time to work" O'Hanlon's views, but Matt cites O'Hanlon as an influence on Edwards.

by clarkent 2007-05-14 05:55AM | 0 recs
And completely ignores part of the article

namely the last part:

Not that those books will have provided him with any easy answers.

Edwards continues to call, for example, for an immediate withdrawal of as many as 50,000 troops from Iraq, a stance that seems at odds with something O'Hanlon recently told me.

http://www.observer.com/node/31041

by okamichan13 2007-05-14 01:31PM | 0 recs
Re: The John Edwards Transformational Issue

The domestic issues that you bring to the table here (poverty, health care, labor rights) are important issues, but at this point in time they are easily outdone by foreign policy concerns, which to the progressive blogosphere are most important.

Actually, it isn't an either/or, a dichotomy between domestic and foreign policy. I said in my diary that the thing I find most important about Edwards is that he is focusing on poverty in America and worldwide.  You go back to the speeches of FDR.  Of Eleanor.  Of JFK.  They were focusing on the same issues.  What Edwards is articulating goes to the very heart and soul of the progressive Democratic view of America's position in the world.

Edwards has articulated - just as FDR did - the relationships between misery and violence in the world.  Edwards believes that focusing on poverty abroad is not only morally right - it is very much in our national security interests to do so.

by Rob in Vermont 2007-05-14 07:13AM | 0 recs
As I pointed out in Matt's thread

Yglesias didnt do his homework. His post, and Matt's even more so, strongly implied for example that O'Hanlon is or was an Edwards advisor. Neither seem to be true. In fact the only person even mentioned in Yglesias's article that currently appears to be an advisor for Edwards is Michael Spigner. Derek Chollet does not appear to be connected to Edwards now. I've looked into his writings and haven't found anything imperialistic. Neither Matt nor Yglesias have pointed to anything of that nature either.

Yglesias based his entire May 2007 article (and Matt based his on Yglesias) on another article published in December 2006 (6 months earlier) that makes broad implications based upon what Edwards was reading at the time.

Yglesias took the implications from that article, created a fact (Edwards has hawkish advisors), mentions no attempt to contact the Edwards campaign, and ran with it, imo irresponsibly. And Matt took Yglesias's article, took his assumed fact as fact, and then ran with it. The journalism is a bit irresponsible. This is the kind of poor fact checking and follow-up that Media Matters and so many of us here regularly call the MSM on.

You can see the orignal article here (I asked Yglesias to update his link but haven't gotten a response yet).

http://www.observer.com/node/31041

When I tried to point this out to Matt, I got a warning for it - despite being very polite. I hope I don't get a warning for this but with George's post, I thought it should be posted.

We shouldn't limit ourselves to being regurgitators of someone else's fake news.

by okamichan13 2007-05-14 01:23PM | 0 recs
slight correction

"His" in "I've looked into his writings and haven't found anything imperialistic" refers to Michael Spigner.

In fact if there the main influence, if it even originated from Spigner, on Edwards foreign policy would seem to be in two areas of similarity: 1) Edwards focus on global poverty, education and sanitation and 2) Edwards focus on America restoring itself as a moral leader/ example internationlly (as opposed to where America stands now with Abu-Graib etc).

by okamichan13 2007-05-14 01:29PM | 0 recs
Re: The John Edwards Transformational Issue

What I like about your diary is that you believe in keeping Edward's feet to the fire. This is exactly right. What I liked about Matt's diary was his belated admission that his real concern was keeping Edward's feet to the fire. You are right that he didn't define what meant in terms other than a you must think exactly like I think approach to transformation. I've taken issue with this blog on a few occasions over that very point.

Indeed, Matt has threatened to ban me over my views regarding the copyright issues frequently discussed here. He has questioned me for questioning his approach of turning paying taxes into a point of pride and being an American when I said I don't think that should be the point. I agreed we should pay the taxes, but felt the rhectoric was too much focused on trying to specify the reason why people should be okay with paying taxes.

We all come to this from different places, and so long as the values are the same we should respect this fact. I'm not supporting the left because I want to exactly agree with Matt or anyone on exact policies. I support the left because I generally agree with the values that the business of government is the community and individuals in combination- not one or the other.

To the extent that I believe Edwards will champion those causes is the degree to which I support him.

I think what is really at odds here is that Matt wants to simultaneously come up with easy slogans that will be digestable to the maximum number of people as a writer, but at the same time wants to talk about deeper issues. I am not sure one can do both, and the result is often less than what your diary has just done: give us a complex view of the context of these debates and why we want transformation.

by bruh21 2007-05-14 10:25AM | 0 recs
Hopeless Wrong--EVERYONE On Foreign Policy

I can't help thinking that any discussion of foreign policy by candidates right now is hopelessly distorted by the mess that Bush has made.  It's not just that the mess is so bad, it's impossible to clean up.  It's also that it's filled the air with so many terrible ideas.  And in somewhat the same sense as the true opposite of a great idea is another great idea, the opposite of a terrible idea is another terrible idea.

The point I'm getting to is this: whoever's elected President is not going to have a great foreign policy coming out of the gate.  They may evolve to the point of having a fairly good one, but that will take time.  What matters much more will be the quality of their domestic leadership, which is where confidence will be restored, and the groundwork laid for making truly significant changes in foreign policy.

Will this happen, whoever is elected?  Basically, I'm not holding my breath.  But I'm quite concerned that the centrist economics of Clinton and Obama would effectively hobble us, while Edwards at least preserves a chance for further development.  I keep hoping that "progressive" Obam will show up where it counts--not on the boutique issues, but on the big ones, like wealth and poverty.  And I keep being disappointed.

by Paul Rosenberg 2007-05-15 09:10AM | 0 recs

Diaries

Advertise Blogads