Martin Bosworth wrote in his piece on John Edwards’ withdrawal from the Democratic Presidential race: “Edwards did not fit the assumed narrative the media wanted to run with in this campaignâ€“he was the outsider, the guy who wasnâ€™t campaigning on experience or the audacity of hope. Moreover, he was speaking painful truths about class, corporatism, and how our lives are dictated and controlled by the power elite. So the media machine cranked up the distortion and tried to smear him into oblivion with stupid trivialities. Yet, through all that, his message persevered.” (italics mine)
If this is true, why is JE out of the race?
What Edwards is really doing is paying the price for being a white guy at the time of historic (and mostly just) back lash against the “aristocracy of white guys” that has been the target of the concerted efforts of “liberals” who aren’t liberal at all. What these “liberals” (too often media pundits) are are ideologues who proclaim that someone would make a better (read “more media interest worthy”) Presidential candidate simply because that person is a) a woman or b) an African-American. Justice is one thing – ideology is another – this is ideology at its most reeking…. Yes, I hear your scornful retorts: “These are the times that try [white] men’s souls…” yadda, yadda….
I don’t say this to discredit Hillary or Obama, both of whom have real merit. I say this because the drive to push forward a woman or black candidate is (I fear) a media creation that allows the media then to control the narrative of the Democratic campaign – and the election. And the Democratic Party, which plays the sucker to every narrative the media creates for it, is playing the sucker again.
John Edwards has addressed overtly and directly real issues plaguing our country at this historical moment – the shift toward a class system that the “Repugnacans” have engineered – and their systematic removal of any realistic opportunity for those in the rapidly developing underclass to better themselves. Edwards, like me, Sam Smith, and many others across this country, has been able to work hard, gain success, and rise to a position of both (in a relative sense) wealth and power because of the past social and economic policies of the Democratic Party. I don’t begrudge him any of his success the way the entitled scions of the Right do – to do so would be to repudiate my own life. What I find most repellent in The Left’s rejection of JE is its own smug self-righteousness that it is doing so for the “correct” reasons.
Not so. The Left is rejecting Edwards because he reminds too many of us in the LeftÂ® of what WE came from – how we scrambled and worked and took advantage of opportunities made available by FDR, HST, JFK, and LBJ. It’s easier to glom onto the myth of Hillary as a deserving member of her gender or Obama as a deserving member of his race (despicably patronizing behavior masquerading as visionary open-mindedness) than to stand up and say “offering opportunities for people to better themselves has been and should always be a basic tenet of the Democratic Party.” That would mean supporting Edwards – who espouses these positions – and rejecting the more fashionable idea of supporting Hillary or Obama because they represent a “historic opportunity.”
Poll after poll has shown that Edwards would defeat John “I’m a war President, too” McCain in a general election. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama has fared as well.
I told the members of S&R privately weeks ago that I believed McCain would be the Republican candidate and that he might well defeat Obama or Clinton. And, in another media manipulated tilt at the windmill of history, the Democrat Party (let’s just buy into the humiliation that the Republican rulers of the media heap upon us, shall we?) will lose the 2008 election – and relegate our children and their children to lives increasingly indistinguishable from those of kids in those countries who provide us with illegal immigrants.
I’m reminded of the way Sam Smith and I have often laughingly scoffed that the only Marxists left are those wearing tweed in tony offices in universities. The closest they ever get to the “revolution” is the occasional Cuban cigar obtained from a Canadian friend. Those of us who’ve benefited from the Democratic Party’s social and economic policies that allowed us to get educations and move up the economic and social ladder are like tweedy Marxists. We’re interested in opportunity as an intellectual abstract.
In plain English, too many of us are full of shit. Opportunity is only opportunity if it’s at work on the ground helping kids do better than their parents. Edwards has spoken to this issue in ways that no other Democratic candidate has – or seems interested in doing. What the Democratic Party needs now are people who vote Democratic because they see a tangible gain for themselves in doing so.It’s not about race or gender – it’s about message.
As my grandfather, a North Carolina tobacco farmer, used to say, “there are fools – and then there are damned fools.” The Democratic Party has, I believe, shown itself to be in the latter group by rejecting a candidate whose message has more in common with those Democratic Presidents mentioned above than either of the remaining candidates.
We will soon, I fear, be able to rue our decision at our leisure.