With the primaries on the horizon and unfavorable foreign and domestic developments damaging the credibility of the current administration, what previously seemed like a slam-dunk re-election for President Bush is turning into one of the most energized and volatile political seasons seen in years. At the moment, nine Democratic candidates are fighting to distinguish themselves as the most qualified to be our nation's next president. Unfortunately, few voters are taking notice.
A recent national survey revealed that approximately two-thirds of the country could not name one of the Democratic presidential candidates. Besides illuminating a troublesome indifference to national politics, the study reveals the existence of a Democratic political void; a void, we believe, that one relatively under-the-radar candidate is primed to fill. Having announced that he will not seek re-election to his North Carolina Senate seat, so as to devote greater time and resources to his presidential campaign, Senator John Edwards is that candidate.
Edwards, a relatively fresh-face in Washington politics, is the perfect antidote to the cronyism dominating the Bush Presidency. While Bush's cabinet is filled with luminaries from the Ford Administration, Edwards would bring a fresh and innovative vision to the White House. Indeed, Edwards has an uncanny ability to relate to common-folk America, so much so that the "Des Moines Register" hailed him as a "courtly populist." Woven through every policy and proposal is Senator Edwards' message of creating opportunity for more people than ever before. Through expanding affordable health care, college for everyone, turning the economy around and creating jobs, Senator Edwards' campaign is focused on creating opportunity for every American. This pragmatic populism, combined with impressive political credentials, has him poised for a serious White House run.
Senator Edwards has an extremely strong political rsum. His service on the Select Committee on Intelligence and his practical vision of the Iraqi conflict (Edwards supported the war and reconstruction efforts but only under the pretext of greater international involvement) placate national concerns for a nominee with foreign affair qualifications. Edwards has been one of the key leaders in the fight for Homeland Security, adopting a strong stance against terrorism while also promoting greater security in our nation's cities and ports, which are vulnerable to attack. Above all, Senator Edwards' has a vision for a future America that is strong yet well-respected; one that leads, while cooperating with the global community. This is a vision that our country needs, as the Iraq debacle has fractured our ties with some of our oldest allies.
More impressive than Edwards' foreign policy agenda is his domestic record. Over the past year Edwards has developed the reputation as a policy wonk, a claim that his perceptive, judicious nature seemingly justifies. He has presented comprehensive education, healthcare and economic plans.
One of the cornerstones of Senator Edward's platform is his "College for Everyone" plan. The product of comprehensive public schooling, Edwards -- more so than any other presidential candidate -- appreciates the value of inspiring education and opportunity. He has proposed that the federal government should provide every willing student the opportunity to attend a public university if they are willing to work or perform community service for at least ten hours a week. This plan drew some of the largest applause during the recent Black Caucus debate in Baltimore.
Furthermore, Edwards' desire to repair the widening socioeconomic inequalities of our nation brings to mind President Andrew Jackson's famous phrase: "Equal opportunity for all; special privileges for none." Edwards has positioned himself as the defender of democratic capitalism, challenging the current administration to explain why the middle class should pay higher taxes on their earned income than the wealthy pay on their investment income. Edwards has called for the repeal of Bush's tax cuts for the top two percent of Americans as well as a 25 percent restoration of the capital gains tax, so as to repair an ominous debt while simultaneously ensuring financial relief for middle class Americans.
Finally, Senator Edwards, as president, would make health insurance a birthright of every child in our country. With the number of uninsured Americans rising each year, it is vital that a president produce a comprehensive, affordable healthcare plan. At $53 billion dollars a year, Edwards' plan is more affordable than any other plans on the table.
Clearly, Edwards has emerged as the champion of middle and working class interests; interests that have been all but ignored by the Bush administration. From his vehement criticism of corporate scandal to his utter disgust with John Ashcroft's Patriot Act, from his call to mandate health care insurance for all children to his emphasis on federal budget discipline, Edwards has preached the theme: "reward work
rather than wealth." Now with a successful synthesis of an inspiring political agenda and compelling life experiences, Edwards's candidacy seems poised to fill the Democratic political void and emerge to the forefront of executive politics.
Come see Senator Edwards tonight at his 8 p.m. Town Hall meeting at the Top of the Hop. I am certain that you will leave event with great faith in the political future of our country.