December 18, 2002

"It's the terrorists, stupid!"
In a speech he gave today at the Brookings Institution, John Edwards, a freshman Democratic senator from North Carolina, demonstrated that he has figured out something that clearly none of the other potential 2004 Democratic Presidential hopefuls have.

Dems like Tom Daschle and DNC Chair Terry "Don't Ask Me, I'm Just A Fundraiser" McAuliffe keep trying to rehash the tenpoles of Al Gore's failed 2000 campaign, namely kitchen table domestic issues like perscription drug benefits, unemployment benefits, minimum wage, etc. Despite the fact that G.W. Bush maintains an insanely high approval rating in spite of the crappy economy. And they keep scratching their heads, wondering why the American people aren't running the President and the rest of the GOP out of town.

What these guys don't get is that the American people are still wetting their beds in fear of another September 11th, and Bush has perfected the art of pretending that he's effectively fighting a war on terror. The people don't really care about all the pork barrel spending and corporate handouts that the House Republicans slipped into the Homeland Security Bill at the last minute, as long as there is the appearance of work that will protect them from another terrorist attack. So the lesser Democrats continue to harp on domestic and economic issues and continue to appear out of touch with the underlying concerns of the majority of the population.

Which is what makes this quiet little speech from Edwards so extraordinary. The crux of his argument is something I've felt all along: not only is the Bush administration providing nothing more than window dressing to fight domestic terror, but it's fiscally irresponsible tax policy is putting millions of dollars back into the hands of the wealthy rather than using said money to provide true, substantive efforts to combat terrorism locally. In short, while Bush is pretending to make you safe, he's actually placing American lives in greater risk.

On top of that, Edwards has also outlined his own proposal on the kind of manpower and substantive actions necessary to truly defend the homeland. Now, as you might guess, I have a bit of a problem with this whole "Homeland Intelligence Agency" thing, but, he at least talks about the privacy and civil liberties issues involved in such a step.

This, my friends, is how you beat George W. Bush. Show him for what he really is: reckless, elitist, and willing to sacrifice the lives of millions to line the pockets of his father's golf buddies.

Can you say "Edwards in 2004"? I know you can.
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