Elizabeth said thats not how John Edwards will campaign if he gets the nomination, she noted the Democrats didn’t air one ad in North Carolina in 2004. They were up in Louisiana for about two seconds.
She went on, “They didn’t run one ad in Tennessee, because Al Gore didn’t carry it in 2000. Kansas? Thomas Frank wrote a whole book about What’s the Matter with Kansas. And Oklahoma, what state could be more Republican than Oklahoma? OK Montana.”
“But all those states have Democratic governors. Democrats can win all across this country. OK, maybe John won’t win Utah.”
“But I know the Red Sox won’t win if they don’t show up in Colorado, that maybe the only way they don’t win. You can’t win if you don’t show up. You can’t spot the other team 40 points.”
This is absolutely right in my judgment. The geographical Red/Blue divide is often much less pronounced than it has been made out to be, the electoral maps in the 1990’s elections don’t look exactly like the 2000’s. Edwards message of economic populism, and of course, dissatisfaction with the war, has the opportunity to cut into Republican leads in enough rural and exurban voters to throw entire new states into the mix. There’s no reason the thread the needle if you don’t have to.
Earlier in her speech Elizabeth had recounted the now familiar story about John’s father’s career as a Mill Worker. She added one element I hadn’t heard before, after working his way up coming straight out of high school to being a manager in the plant, John’s father Wallace was forced out because he didn’t have a college education. He continued to work as a consultant, but couldn’t get health care due to a pre-existing condition. That forced his mother to quit the antique finishing business she ran to find a job with health benefits, which happened to be a union job as a postal carrier.
Elizabeth related this part of the story in reference to Edwards universal health care plan, which she promised would mean that, “No American will ever have to leave a job they love or stay in a job they hate because of health coverage again.”
As a policy point, this is a huge selling point for universal health care both as an efficiency gain allowing American workers greater opportunity to seek their highest potential and as a pure freedom and economic security issue for every family. As a political point, I think it is the Edwards’s personal connection to these issues that give John Edwards the real potential to reach into so-called red states and turn them blue.
On another note, health coverage is personal to Elizabeth and John because of Elizabeth’s fight with breast cancer. Elizabeth, in response from a compliment about how well she looked, and she did look good, said she expects to see the high school graduation of her children including the seven year old in contrast to the whispering campaign that she is too sick for John to run or be President.
Cross posted at Boston for Edwards
Update: Video via Youtube