Wednesday, January 2, 2008

John Edwards' Message

John Edwards has received comparatively little media attention in his quest for the Democratic nomination. That is unfortunate, as he has a distinct chance at the nomination. In addition to being a white male (which may play a bigger role in the Democratic primaries than many suppose), he is also by far the most liberal of the Democrat frontrunners.

Both Michael Moore and Kos (of the liberal megablog the Daily Kos) have said that Edwards has the most in common with their beliefs. He has just promised to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq ten months after he is sworn in, something none of the other Democrats frontrunners have pledged to do. He seems to be the candidate of choice for the far left core of the Democrat party.

The root of Edwards’ message is his aggressive populism. He claims to be against corporations, big business, and entrenched political interest, and for the little man. (There really can’t be a better representative of the poor than someone who pays $400 dollars for his haircuts, can there?). He has said that “I absolutely believe to my soul that this corporate greed and corporate power has an ironclad hold on our democracy.”

In John Edwards’ world, “Corporations” are the problem with everything. No universal health? It’s the drug and health insurance companies standing in the way of progress. The Iraq War? Oil companies. Whatever the problem is, there is a sinister corporation behind it.

Of course, this worldview is absurdly naïve. Edwards and his supporters seem to think that there is the undeniable power possessed by corporations is simply a matter of corporate greed; the little man looked away for a minute, and the next thing he knew, a heartless CEO was denying him health insurance and outsourcing his job to China. Edwards sees CEO’s as literal robber barons smoking cigars in their counting houses in between jaunts to steal from the poor. He sees himself as a latter day Robin Hood, taxing the rich to give to the poor.

It is inevitable that big business will have a large amount of political power. Most business’ provide some essential service—food, energy, entertainment—and given the relative few options, and the massive global economy, it is inevitable that huge amounts of money will end up in a relative few hands. Money is power.

The only way to break that cycle is the limit the amount of money that can be collected by any one entity. That is the strategy used in Europe. To be sure, there are a few megacompanies in Europe (Nokia springs to mind), but most new megacompanies (Apple, Microsoft, Toyota) are formed in the United States or Japan, and China and India provide much of the manufacturing. Europe hangs on to the coattails of America.

So where is the power in Europe? Not in the overtaxed corporations, but in the government. And Europeans aren’t getting much of a return on their investment. Europe is crumbling. 80% of London crime remains unsolved. (That rate makes David Dinkins look like Rudy Giuliani). Rioting French “youth” (“youth” meaning “Muslim youth”) are so common as to hardly make the news. Economic growth in Europe is either slow or nonexistent. The welfare state is crumbling. Europe is wholly dependant on the U.S. for defense. (Which country has the second greatest number of America troops deployed there? Germany)

On the bright side, corporations don’t have much power over there. John Edwards can be happy.

It is fortunate that Edwards has little chance at the Democrat nomination, as he is easily their most electable candidate. In most polls, Hillary and Obama remain more or less tied with the Republican candidate. Edwards usually crushes him. Fortunately, it is doubtful that Edwards will get the nomination.

Edwards’ message resonates with the core of the Democrat party. However, it is a small core, and it is uncertain whether his message will resonate will more mainstream (read: not crazy) Democrat voters. His strategy is geared towards 2006—he focuses on the Iraq War and the need for change in Washington. The Democrats have had a full year in power, which undercuts his cry for change—when the GOP was control, it made sense, but a divided government gives Democrats like Edwards a shot at putting their plans into execution. The Iraq War, after the brilliant Petraeus surge, is becoming a bit of a non issue for Democrats. Even if the far left is right, and Iraq will explode into violence in the spring (that is their current argument, if you haven’t been paying attention), that will come too late to help Edwards. (The fact that a violence spike could help the Democrat candidate is a sign of how crazy the Democrat party has become).
Edwards’ antiwar and pro welfare message may resonate with voters sometime—but not this year. The war and welfare are issues that don’t have a lot of momentum behind them. Neither does Edwards. Thank God.


At January 2, 2008 at 7:35 PM , Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

hiya Daniel..I'm so disallusioned with politicians I truly dont know who to get behind...........

At January 3, 2008 at 5:44 AM , Blogger Beth said...

John Edwards needs to read some Ayn Rand!

At January 3, 2008 at 5:50 AM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

Edward's self proclaimed idea was presented 50 years ago by a one Ayn Rand in her masterwork "Atlas Shrugged". In it she refers to a fictional (yet very real by today's standards) bill known as the Equalization of Opportunity Bill.

It was a bill designed by the Looters that proposes to limit the number of businesses any one person can own to one. It is aimed primarily at Hank Rearden, who uses Rearden Ore to guarantee Rearden Steel a supply of iron ore. By passing this Bill, the Looters can seize Rearden's other businesses for themselves, and then deny him the iron he needs to run his steel mills.

The Looters claim the Bill is meant to give a chance to the little guy.

At January 3, 2008 at 5:51 AM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

Amazing Beth! I was drafting my response before I had even seen yours!!!

At January 3, 2008 at 8:48 AM , Blogger Beth said...

I do need to give my friend Soapie credit for recommending the book Atlas Shrugged to me, which he knows I am currently reading and enjoying, and which inspired my response to Daniel here.

I recommend the book to anyone who hasn't read it!

At January 4, 2008 at 11:04 AM , Blogger steveh46 said...

"Economic growth in Europe is either slow or nonexistent. The welfare state is crumbling."

Do you ever fact check before you write? It wouldn't hurt.

Let's go to the CIA World Factbook for the 2006 GDP growth rates in various countries:

USA: 2.9% (2006 est.)
Denmark: 3.5% (2006 est.)
Sweden: 4.5% (2006 est.)
UK: 2.8% (2006 est.)
France: 2.2% (2006 est.)
Germany: 2.8% (2006 est.)
Netherlands: 3% (2006 est.)
Norway: 4.6% (2006 est.)

Obviously on their last legs.

Easily searchable at

You should try it.

At January 4, 2008 at 11:50 AM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

True it might be a stretch to say it's non-existent, but it is not such a stretch to infer that it is slow or slowing:


Market Scan
Inflation Up, Growth Down In Europe
Parmy Olson, 01.04.08, 11:45 AM ET

LONDON - As America chewed on worse-than-expected employment data on Friday morning, Europe was reeling from worrying figures about higher inflation and slower economic growth.

Eurozone consumer price inflation was at a six-and-a-half year high of 3.1% in December, according to figures released Friday, pushed up by oil and food prices. Wage inflation in Britain, which lies outside the eurozone, has also risen 4%, its fastest pace in 13 years, new data showed. Though not as bad across the Channel, wage inflation in the eurozone is also becoming a growing problem.

Meanwhile, things have also been slowing down in Europe's services sector. The eurozone's services activity index slowed to a two-and-a-half year low, to 53.1, in December--it had been at 58 in August.

"Anything above 50 indicates expanding activity and anything below indicates contraction," said Global Insight economist Howard Archer. The last time the eurozone's services index went below 50 was in mid-2003, when the eurozone was growing at the the snail's pace of 0.8%.

The Services PMI index is a key indicator of the European economy, more so than the index for manufacturing. Services, which includes things like banking, retail distribution and telecommunications, made up 64% of eurozone gross domestic product in the third quarter of 2007. The rest came from agriculture and manufacturing.

Archer believes the eurozone services index for won't go below 50% in 2008, but it'll probably continue to fall.

That puts new pressure on the European Central Bank, whose role is to keep a lid on eurozone inflation whilst supporting economic growth.

"On balance, we expect the ECB to keep up its hawkish rhetoric, but to nevertheless leave its key interest rate at 4.00% next Thursday and for many months to come," Archer said.

The eurozone's benchmark lending rate stands at 4.00%, but the next cut by the ECB probably won't be till the second half of 2008.

European shares were down 1.0% on Friday afternoon, in response to news from the U.S. that jobless claims rose 5%, to a two-year high.

European car manufacturers was the sector worst hit thanks the double whammy of disappointing U.S. auto sales data for the month of December 2007. The Dow Jones EURO STOXX Supersector Index for automakers was down 5.4%, on Friday afternoon with Renault, Bayerische Motoren Werke and Volkswagen some of the worst hit auto stocks.

At January 4, 2008 at 12:27 PM , Blogger steveh46 said...

"True it might be a stretch to say it's non-existent, but it is not such a stretch to infer that it is slow or slowing..."

Compared to the US?

"The Labor Department's report that employers raised payrolls by only 18,000 and that the nation's unemployment rate rose to its highest level since November 2005 unnerved investors, who worried that a weakening job market will hurt consumer spending.

"Investors had been awaiting the jobs report for weeks as they tried to determine whether the economy would continue to benefit from robust consumer spending even as sectors like home construction, mortgage writing and manufacturing slow. Wall Street is concerned that areas of weakness could puncture growth and even tip the economy into recession if consumers can't depend on a solid job market."

At November 10, 2008 at 5:44 AM , Anonymous Lourana said...

Thanks for writing this.

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