This year the media wasted no time in getting on the case. In an even more shameful intrusion into the political process, they narrowed the field to two, as though it were a fait accompli, offering us the rather titillating choice of whether a white woman or a black man should be picked to run against the Republican nominee.
Even though she has the highest negatives of any Democrat, Hillary Clinton was an obvious pick for this ploy because of her name recognition and talent for fundraising. Barack Obama needed considerable more media attention before he could play his part in this point/counterpoint duet. Both are considered “safe” by the elite because both have ties to the corporate-based Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), the organization responsible for elevating Bill Clinton to national prominence in 1990-91.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the two far outstrip their rivals in contributions received from donors in such industries as securities and investments, hedge funds, private equity, commercial banks, pharmaceuticals and health products, education, computers and the internet. Hillary leads all of them in contributions from lobbyists. John Edwards joins the two at the top only in the category of contributions from lawyers and legal firms, and Chris Dodd leads all Democrats in contributions from the insurance industry.
It cannot be surprising, then, that media outlets paid little attention to the fact that late in November, while Biden and Dodd both voted no, Clinton and Obama voted in support of the Peru Free Trade Agreement, one of the NAFTA babies that the Bush administration has been fast tracking.
The laser beam spotlight on Clinton and Obama is essentially a stop Edwards move. The DLC realized early on that Edwards was likely to win Iowa where he finished in second place in’04 with 32% of the vote. But it will be an uphill battle for the DLC and its corporate clients. And not only in Iowa. Just this month a CNN poll revealed that Edwards was the only Democrat who could win against any of the Republicans.
The Federal Election Commission has done its part to stop Edwards after he opted for federal matching funds by voting early this month to not match contributions made to Edwards through Act/Blue, a political action committee that handles contributions for many Democrats nationwide.
Why are they trying to eliminate Edwards from this race? For one thing, he offers a health care plan that can morph into single-payer if enough Americans choose the Medicare option. He has shown his commitment to unions by walking picket lines over the last three years and promises to make organizing easier for them. In his administration the tax break for the wealthy will be repealed and the minimum wage hiked again. He proposes to change our foreign policy from confrontation and conflict to cooperation and compassion.
Furthermore, Edwards established the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Caroline in ’05 and while others on the campaign trail talk about helping the middle class, Edwards consistently talks about the problems of the working class and the poor.
Finally, Edwards recognizes that in order to end the long national nightmare of this devastating war, restore the Constitution as the law of the land, and mend our shredded social service net, we need to rid the nation’s capital of the chokehold that the giant corporations have on our government. There can be little doubt that this last intention is what caused a senior Republican strategist to say recently on national television, “Edwards is the one that we fear the most.”