Auros (auros) wrote,

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Tomorrow Begins Today

I'm just home from working the sign-in table at a reception at the Rappaports' house, for John Edwards. He gave a short, but passionate, speech, and fielded several questions, including some hardballs about his stance towards Iran, and about why his healthcare proposal isn't a simple single-payer plan... I thought he answered very well, putting his earlier remarks on Iran (that it's "unacceptable" for them to have nuclear weapons) into context (as in, that's a figure of speech for "it'd be really bad and nobody in the Western world wants it to happen!") and outlining the sort of diplomatic approach he'd use. He also made a point of discussing the fact that Iranians held pro-America demonstrations after 9/11, and how he doesn't think Iran has an inherently anti-American culture.

Re: healthcare, he basically pointed to the same feature that Krugman did -- forcing private insurers to face fair competition from a gov't-run plan. As he put it, this way, rather than having Congress or the president choose, Americans can choose one at a time whether they think private insurance, or a government-run plan like what our Veterans get and like what Congressmen get, is better. If lots of people choose the government plan, we can switch to single-payer later. I'd like to see something like Edwards' plan shape up in the CA legislature. It's sufficiently similar to what Schwarzenegger has already proposed that he could conceivably get behind such a plan, while filling in details in ways that are much better than I expect the legislative GOP members to like. (But hey, that didn't bother Arnie on the greenhouse gas regulation bill...)

Other questions touched on New Orleans (the worst-hit neighborhoods are no better off than they were a few weeks after the storm, and if he were President, he'd be holding briefings every 1-3 days on the situation there, and pressing people on what they've actually done, just like a Pres gets daily briefings on security and is supposed to "shake the tree" to make things happen -- like how Clinton kept people engaged enough that they stopped the Milennium LAX bomb plot), on the influence of campaign consultants (apparently a lot of consultants think it, uh, inadvisable to focus on things like the fact that there are 37M Americans who face hunger due to poverty, and he thinks it inadvisable to hire such consultants). He also rattled off some budget numbers, in support of the idea that while the budget deficit matters, he'd rather have us on a long-term path towards balance, while fixing healthcare, investing in education and alt-energy, etc; than slash the gov't in order to balance the budget immediately. And he basically said that even if we put taxes back to where they were in the '90s, we can't have it all. He did discuss some savings and efficiencies to be found -- among others, scrapping the idea of deploying the untested, non-functional missile defense system.

I have to admit, I'm still sorry Warner's not in the race -- running as a former Governor lets you point to more specific accomplishments. But Edwards was a key force behind last year's living wage initiatives, which passed in seven states. And his work in New Orleans and elsewhere, addressing poverty and healthcare issues, is rock-solid.

I think Edwards has the passion, and the sincerity, to win over a lot of DTS, and even Republican voters -- and to win them over long-term. He talks about the problems we face in blunt terms, and offers pragmatic, non-ideologically-based solutions. If there were Reagan Democrats, I can imagine there being a fair number of Edwards Republicans.

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