Friday, August 24, 2007

The Case for John Edwards

Re. the US presidential race: I can't help but like what I hear coming from John Edwards, who is running in third place for the Democratic Party nomination behind Hillary Clinton and Obama. He talks about the need to take on media consolidation and the pharmaceutical firms. He has named two of the most powerful forces that continue to undermine American democracy. From a recent speech:
It's not just that the answers of the past aren't up to the job today, it's that the system that produced them was corrupt -- and still is. It's controlled by big corporations, the lobbyists they hire to protect their bottom line and the politicians who curry their favor and carry their water. And it's perpetuated by a media that too often fawns over the establishment, but fails to seriously cover the challenges we face or the solutions being proposed. . . .

For more than 20 years, Democrats have talked about universal health care. And for more than 20 years, we've gotten nowhere, because lobbyists for the big insurance companies, drug companies and HMOs spent millions to block real reform. Instead, they've grudgingly allowed incremental measures that do nothing but tinker around the edges -- or worse, they've hijacked reform to improve their own bottom line.
Frankly, Democrats are not going to rescue American from its current trajectory unless they take on Big Media. But if you resolve -- like Edwards has -- to take on the media during your election campaign, will they not sabotage your election bid? I'm not impressed that Hillary Clinton accepted a campaign contribution from Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch. Here's another paragraph from the recent speech:
It’s time to end the game. It’s time to tell the big corporations and the lobbyists who have been running things for too long that their time is over. It’s time to challenge politicians to put the American people’s interests ahead of their own calculated political interests, to look the lobbyists in the eye and just say no.
It's a strong message, one that will could score points with the public in a debate: Imagine Edwards looking sternly at Hillary (or the Republican nominee) and asking, "Why couldn't you just have said no?"