Class in US Politics

Add another to the small list of Democrats who impress me (e.g., Feingold, Gore, Dean, Conyers, Kucinich, Harkin, Obama): John Edwards.
Edwards told the conferees "When I spoke on the campaign trail about the two Americas, people called it a downer." The former Senator from North Carolina had anchored his 2004 presidential campaign with the "two Americas" theme about the nation's widening economic divide. Once Kerry invited him to join his ticket as his running mate, Edwards had to downplay what some pundits called his "class war" rhetoric, but which he insisted was more about reconciliation and reform.

Now Edwards has not only resurrected the rhetoric, but also has pinned his hopes for the White House on a strategy of connecting to the nation's grassroots activists. Since January 2005, he has visited 34 states and three foreign countries talking about the "two Americas." In key swing states like Ohio, Iowa, Arizona, Michigan, and Nevada - where an increase in voter turnout among working class voters could make a big difference in the outcome of races for Congress, Senator, Governor and President -- Edwards has joined Maud Hurd, president of the activist group ACORN, to promote grassroots campaigns to raise the minimum wage. At each stop Edwards said, "I am strongly committed to moving people out of poverty and into the middle class," and one of most important things we can do is help families earn more money at work."

He has fired up the crowds at union rallies in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston as part of a campaign to raise wages and benefits for hotel workers. At a union rally in Chicago, he said, "The best anti-poverty strategy is a strong labor movement."
Much like Gore, Edwards has spent his time since losing the election productively and engaged in causes he cares about. I like that his approach to poverty relies on some of elements of conservatism which I think get the issue right (e.g., promoting personal responsibility, reducing teen pregnancies, strengthening families, etc.).

He's also southern and charismatic and stands a decent chance at getting the Democratic nomination in '08. I would gladly vote for him. It means a lot to me when a politician spends his time outside of politics doing something like this, rather than becoming a lobbyist or corporate consultant. It suggests that he actually cares about the issue.

Read the whole thing.

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