Thursday, January 25, 2007


UP FRONT News January 15, 2006
Published by Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham

“The paper that can’t be bought and can’t be sold.”


As recently as a few weeks ago, many progressive readers on UP FRONT News
were reacting to my preliminary early urgings to John Edwards to announce his candida- cy for president with sympathy but with comments like “he doesn’t stand a chance against Hillary Clinton.” They were wrong then and they are more wrong now.

It is true that, in financial comparison to John Edwards, admittedly a wealthy man with some rich friends, Mrs. Clinton is a political version of a multinational conglomerate. Aside from a husband, who, quite aside from his serious human-rights deficient record as president, is a the biggest ATM in the universe, Mrs. Clinton is closely tied to Hollywood, real estate and media wealth, e.g. Barbra Streisand, Donald Trump, and Rupert Murdoch respectively. She is nonetheless, at least in my book, a loser.

While it is axiomatic that money can buy elections, it can also lose them - provided that someone is ready to use his or her wealth for the public good, rather than, as is the case with Hillary Clinton, for the pursuit of power and more wealth at any cost to the public. John Edwards may well be the person who can use his money, and even more important political assets, including the hard to calculate factor of charisma, and beat both Republicrat Clinton in the Democratic primaries and whomever the Republicans nominate, even if for example the Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr./Lenora Fulani- infiltrated Greens try to give it to the Right by running a “split the left” candidate (Nader?, Fulani?)

While, during his keynote address at the “Realizing the Dream” celebration on January 14 at Riverside Church honoring Martin Luther King, Mr. Edwards mentioned no names, he blasted “this president” for the prosecution and escalation of the War in Iraq. Remind- ing an almost full house that Dr. King on April 4, 1965 (exactly three years before he was assassinated) had at Riverside Church first openly opposed the Viet Nam War being prosecuted by his erstwhile political ally in civil rights, President Lyndon Johnson), Mr. Edwards, said that it is once again the time to refuse to remain silent. He got a long standing ovation. When Mr. Edwards, as he has on many occasions, acknowledged that he was wrong when, as a U.S. Senator, he first voted for the war, an anti-War protester in the audience loudly asked him why he voted that way. Whereas, had the question been put that way to the imperious Hillary Clinton, she would have ignored the heckler, Mr. Edwards acknowledged the spontaneous questioner openly but did not supply a detailed answer. In the past Mr. Edwards has said that at the time he believed the reports about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction. The questioner, Paul Rosen, a comed- ic writer with whom I am a bit acquainted from Union Square, and I met up by coinci- dence after the event. Mr. Rosen told me that, although he is open to the possibility that Mr. Edwards indeed had been misled, he believes that, like most Democrats, he folded to political pressure.

As far as the War is concerned, while Mrs. Clinton pursues her adventures in opportun- ism by criticizing Bush on the War, Mr. Edwards has called for the immediate withdraw- al of 40,000 troops. While ANSWER and some other so-called peace groups may de- nounce Edwards for not demanding that all the troops be out by Valentine’s Day, it seems that, presidentially speaking, he is the peace candidate.

Mr. Edwards, who, as the 2004 Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate, spoke often about ending poverty and homelessness in America, may also be, relatively speaking at least, a redistribute-the-wealth candidate (very much unlike his poverty issue-timid run- ning mate John Kerry).

While Mr. Edwards has spoken eloquently about the Genocide in Darfur and violence elsewhere, I have been pushing him to start talking about what I call the “Quiet Geno- cide”, that continuing in Chinese Communist occupied Tibet. And so I was really glad to hear Mr. Edwards include in his speech an explicit reference to Chinese human rights vi-olations. I am hopeful that China and Tibet become a campaign issue, especially in light of the fact that a story in the Washington Post describes a Human Rights Watch report reveals that human rights conditions in China “deteriorated” in 2006. The report says that this is so despite public relations efforts by the Chinese regime to look good because of the 2008 Olympics, scheduled, despite under-reported protests, for Beijing.

By being in the right place at the right time at the end of the Riverside Church event, I had a chance to very briefly meet Mr. Edwards (again) just outside the Church as he was heading for an SUV. It took him a few seconds, but with a reminder from me, he recalled our previous brief meetings. I thanked him for his comment about China, shook his hand, got his autograph, and he and I went on our respective ways.

During his introduction of Mr. Edwards at the event, Martin Luther King III said that it was in part because of Mr. Edwards’ acceptance of Dr. King’s political agenda of peace and prosperity for all and human rights that Edwards was picked as the keynote speaker. It is not hard for me to see why Hillary Clinton, no doubt to her chagrin, was not picked. Hillary Clinton’s response to Mr. Edwards’ comments on Iraq was to accuse him of running a “negative” campaign. I think Hillary Clinton is starting to sound like a loser.
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