In the final clip presented in Part 1 of this vlog, Edwards sums up the need for activism and engagement on the part of voters this time around. It’s a change election and though the “I can’t change this country by myself” meme is basic pabulum for any candidate seeking office, Edwards brings it into a very sharp focus in his final remarks. I’ve not heard any other candidate make the connection so persuasively between what we have and what we need.
To paraphrase Gandhi you’ve got to be the change that you believe in. You can’t stay home and hope that someone else is going to do this for you. You can’t.
I listen to Bush and Cheney, not much (laughter), but occasionally I do listen to them and I hear them say. This is what I hear them say, you tell me if you hear the same thing. “You stay home. Go shopping if you need to, but we’re going to take care of you.” I don’t want them to take care of me; that’s not America. We don’t go and cower in the corner. We are strong, brave and courageous people and we’re going to go out there and do what needs to be done… You look at the change that has happened in this country’s history. I grew up with the civil rights movement and I know where it happened. It didn’t happen in the oval office. It happened with good people with some backbone and courage…
LBJ is famous for telling civil rights leaders in this country: “Go out and make it possible for me to do the right thing here.” I know that as a member of this blog you do engage in the discussion and try to bring about the change this country desperately needs possible. Thank you for that because, today, there is nothing more important.
VictoryNH primary defenders were represented at the event. Do you support first in the nation status for the NH Primary?
Edwards does and while that may not come as a shock to you in the political blogging class his response had a twist to it. In short Edwards takes the opportunity to pop one off if you will, but for very good reason.
I do and I always have because this way of campaigning is so important. It’s important for a number of reasons. One of them is: if you can’t stand in front of NH voters and answer hard questions then you don’t deserve to be president of the United States. Second, this process separates the wheat from the chaff, you know? Anybody with enough practice can give a good speech. The question is: can you come and stand and answer hard questions? That demonstrates whether you really have the experience and the knowledge and the vision and ideas to be president.
Edwards has shown a commitment to campaign in the old style of hand to hand combat that Iowa and NH voters are privileged to see up close and personal and although many have commented on his predilection toward Iowa, his home away from home since 2004, it seems to me that Edwards is now comfortable with his level in the Hawkeye State and consequently will be showing an increased vigor in taking on the tough as nails Yankees, no not that kind, of the Granite State. NH must be his act two. Many have speculated that Edwards need only come in third to survive the snows and remain competitive in the race, but I think he’s going for it up here. I think he has now determined that without first class status going in to South Carolina he’s DOA on February 5th.
You may remember that in Iowa it was his campaign style and upbeat message that won voters over and catapulted him from also ran status to the top of the bunch on that cold Monday night in January. Those are the reasons the Des Moines Register editorial board gave for their endorsement in the final days. Unfortunately, for all of us in the whole country, Edwards got no bump out of Iowa. The press corps allowed only two stories to come out of NH: Kerry turns it around and Dean screams. Remember? There was virtually no mention or coverage of the amazing groundswell of support Edwards pulled out of what seemed to be a competitive three way race between Dean, Kerry and Gephardt only a month before the vote.
He closed in Iowa on spit and polish alone. He closed on a truth telling Two Americas theme. He closed like no candidate has ever closed in the final month anywhere in modern history and “you can take that to the bank,” but he can’t do it on guts and truth alone this time around. This time he’s up against the glitz and glamour of Clinton and Obama. This time will be the same for him, he’ll be drowned out by the chattering class and marginalized for having the temerity to be an upstart contender with a specific and detailed agenda that could actually bring about change in this country and not just incremental change at the margins but real honest to goodness fundamental change so desperately needed today. He will surely be outspent and, no offense to the hard working JRE team in Manchester, he’ll be up against the best machines that money can buy in American politics today.
This whole thing is going to be over in the blink of an eye, kids. He can’t close in NH without you. That’s the God’s honest truth. He needs you now. Your country needs you now. Send us a president, NH. Send us a detailed and specific agenda that has the potential to transform the political dialog in this country. We have been playing on their side of the field for far too long while the middle-class and the poor are dying in front of our eyes. I don’t mean that figuratively. Look at Katrina, Edwards was three years ahead of the curve on that one. Look at Sicko, no one else has a plan that requires coverage for everybody – everybody. Send us a president, NH. Send us Edwards and he’ll do the rest. “You can take that to the bank.”
I digress, wah’r ya gonna do?
Back to the show…
I read in the papers today that Giuliani said the capital gains tax you favor would drive jobs and businesses from the US, any response?
Yeah, yeah I have got a response for Giuliani. (laughter) Romney said the same thing the day before… The capital gains rate is 15%, so that means, in fact Warren Buffet … has said that the result of that is he’s paying a lower tax rate than his secretary is paying. That is exactly what happens; people who make their money from investments … I’m here to tell you they are paying at most 15% on their income while the people who work for them are paying a much higher rate that’s my point. It’s not right. So what I’ve proposed is for people making over 250,000 dollars a year the capital gains rate go for from 15 to 28% because I think they ought to carry their fair share of the tax burden. Right now the middle-class is carrying the tax burden in this country. And so what I say to Giuliani and Romney, all that money that they’re making off their investments… I want them to pay their fair share of taxes on those investments and I want them not to be treated better than other Americans are treated. That’s my answer to them.
I might add that the Bush policy on capital gains tax today has done absolutely nothing to keep businesses an
d jobs in this country. They value wealth, we value work.
Someone from Re-Energize New Hanpshire voices a concern. I’m concerned about how a transition to clean energy in this country will affect the working class. Your thoughts?
Thank you for bringing it up. I’m glad people know about this march, it’s a very important cause. I think that if we do the transformation from carbon, oil fuels to clean sources of renewable energy, if we do it the right way we can strengthen the economy in this country. We can create at least a million new jobs. They won’t be blue collar jobs… they’ll be green collar jobs. I think that we don’t look forward enough.
Then he goes off on a bit of a tangent here in a surprisingly frank way. The attendee voiced her concern about the effects on ordinary people in this country, but Edwards takes the discussion up a level in his answer.
In addition to dealing with a crisis that saves the planet, which is not a small thing. In addition to that I think we have a real potential to change the Middle East. In the Middle East we have bad governments and bad leaders and they have no incentive at all to change. They’re not interested in political reform or economic reform; they don’t educate their children because they’re on a drug and that drug is oil. They are mainlining that drug… Some countries in the Middle East that don’t have oil have already done that [reform.]
Edwards has coined the phrase that “we need to ask Americans to be patriotic about something more than war,” when calling for sacrifice and conservation in this country. I might add that we need to ask soldiers to sacrifice their lives for something more than SUVs,.
I want the details on Iraq. What’s your solution?
The attendee is a knowledgeable on the subject and asks a pointed and fair question on Iraq.
Well I’m going to start by telling the truth, we’re not in a good place. The war is a mess and the environment on the ground is extraordinarily dangerous. And I think you have to start with a basis threshold question which is: what maximizes the chances for success? Anybody who tells you that they can guarantee any kind of success in Iraq is not being honest; it’s not the truth. Here’s what I believe, without some kind of reconciliation, some kind of coming to terms between Sunnis and Shi’a leadership there can not be stability in Iraq.
Edwards believes in an immediate troop withdrawal of 40,000 to 50,000 and a continued draw down of forces over 9-12 months. He states that this time period can be used as an opportunity to apply diplomatic pressure to achieve a political solution to the conflict between Sunnia and Shi’a which really is the only way to peace and stability in Iraq. The diplomacy piece to the Edwards solution in Iraq includes everyone in the region including Syria and Iran, especially Iran. Edwards tells us that Iran, being a Shi’a country, really does not want the conflict to broadened and under no circumstances do they want to get into a Sunni-Shi’a war in the region. That’s because Shi’a only represent 15% of the Muslim world and a full out sectarian war in Iraq could bring a million refugees across their western border.
And now the question you didn’t ask that I think you’re getting to that no presidential candidate ever wants to talk about, the question that you never get to in any one of the debates is what do you do if things go bad? Here’s what I think. I think that as we leave Iraq we have to have a rapid deployment force in Kuwait… a naval presence in the Persian Gulf… I might station troops in Jordan if we had stationing authority, that’s something we’d have to evaluate… and strengthen our presence in Afghanistan given the resurgence of the Taliban. I would do all those things and then I would prepare for two possibilities. One is that the war actually starts to spill outside the borders of Iraq… And then the worst is what happens if genocide breaks out… And I think the answer to that would require an international response. (applause)
Slava and JJ wrap up our vlog. Slava asks how can we help and JJ asks Edwards how are you going to get ahead in the polls in NH like you are in Iowa?
Slava is definitely on the bus and it looks to me like JJ is driving his own bus in the fast lane and he ain’t stopping for no stinking tolls either. JJ says to Edwards to preface his question, “after seven years of George Bush and his tribe from Texas I can guarantee you the next president surely will be a Democrat as sure as I’m living and breathing.” JJ gets an applause line when he mentions that Edwards is running first in Iowa, not kidding – check the clip. I know JJ likes Edwards, but I also know that he takes his responsibility as a NH voter seriously and I never took the chance to ask him if he’s declared his preference yet. I sure hope he has decided on Edwards. I definitely want him to be “pounding on the doors” up there in the next couple of months for Edwards.
Send us a president, JJ. Send us an agenda we can run on and win.
I’m not associated with the campaign in any way. I support Edwards for the nomination and I do all these vlogs as an ordinary person with a cheap mini-DV, a PC and free tools available on the web.
See you out there