The Edwards: Dividers, Not Uniters

Elizabeth Edwards previously appeared to be a strong asset for her husband’s campaign, but she has now made a second major gaffe. Not long after pondering whether John is at a disadvantage for being a white male, Elizabeth is now expanding on her husband’s divisive theme. I’ve already commented on my feelings about the inherent message of class warfare in the Two American’s theme, most recently here. Now I find that Elizabeth Edwards is talking about two Democratic Parties.

The Progressive: Is there a split between “new Democrats” and progressives, or what Paul Wellstone used to call “the Democratic wing of the Democratic party?”

Elizabeth Edwards: John gave a speech at the DNC meeting saying we don’t need to reinvent our party; we just need to remember who we are. And who we are is the party of working people, including people who want to work and can’t, [and] people who have worked and are trying to retire. That’s who we are and have always been. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that.

It’s easy to get misled with the DLC mantra “love the worker, love the employer.” The employers can pretty much take care of themselves. So as a party our job is to give voice to those people who don’t have a powerful voice. Unless that translates into votes or contributions, it turns out a lot of Democrats just ignore these people. They use language about working class people, but they are not out there with them. They use language about the immorality of poverty, but they are not out there. …

And so the difference, it seems to me, is not between old and new Democrats but between actual Democrats and rhetorical Democrats. Sometimes it seems we have these beliefs but it turns out it’s like a Hollywood set: It’s all facade and there’s no guts behind it.

Sure, Elizabeth can look towards her version of pure Democrats. That excludes a lot of Democrats, and sure excludes independents such as myself. It also excludes all the “Starbucks Republicans,” “South Park Republicans,” and affluent suburbanites who helped give the Democrats their victory in 2006. We’ve had enough of this attitude from the Republicans of the far right and we certainly have no use for a Democratic Party which adopts the same divisive tactics. Their attitude helps explain why John Edwards polls so poorly among independents who vote Democratic, while supposedly fake Democrats like Bill Richardson lead.

If Elizabeth Edwards wants to create litmus tests of Democratic purity, many of us who have voted Democratic in the recent past will not consider ourselves one of her “actual” Democrats. Should John somehow win the nomination, don’t count on our votes in November 2008 and see just how far John can go.

Maybe we do have Two Americas. There’s the American of John Edwards and his supporters, and there’s the other American of Independents, Republicans, and a growing number of Democrats who find Edwards a political hack and phony who has no place on a national ticket.

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  1. 1
    sk2 says:

    You are so far off on your position on Elizabeth Edwards. There are many who feel that she is right.

    There be some independents that still like the corporate controll on the country and the likes of the Blue Dogs that keep the true democratic vote to get anything done impossible, as they continue to side with Pres. Bush on the votes. Then you will no doubt be for Richardson, Clinton or Obama.

    But Elizabeth is right, there is a separating of the democrats and many are sick and tired of those in the party that should really be on the republican side of the ticket.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:


    “But Elizabeth is right, there is a separating of the democrats”

    There is a confusion in your response between “right” as meaning factually correct and “right” as meaning the correct approach.

    I’m not saying she is not right as a matter of fact. Unfortunately she is correct that there are Democrats, apparenty including you, who see the Democratic Party as representing only a small of people.

    That does not work in a two party system. A leader of such a party cannot be an effective leader of the whole country. You are simply the opposite side of the same bad coin as the Bush Republicans who rule from the far right and write off everyone else who was formerly a Republican.

    Democrats with attitudes such as yours and Edwards are the reason that Republican have dominated government so long. When people finally realized how extreme the Republicans became they rejected them, but they will not stick with the Democrats if they make the same mistakes the Republicans did.

    Write off everyone who supports Obama, Richarson, and Clinton as not being real Democrats. How do you expect to then be a majority party?

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