CA Dem Convention: Edwards’s speech

Edwards follows Waters. Looks awfully young and blow-dried. Dazzling smile, but not creepy like Kucinich’s. Obama and Edwards have very different oratorical styles. Obama makes you think “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have this entirely admirable human being as President?” Edwards makes you focus on what he’s saying, whether you agree or disagree.

“Past the time for poll-driven politics”.

“I voted for this war. I was wrong to vote for this war.”

“If the President of the United States vetoes that bill, it’s George W. Bush who’s not supporting the troops.” “They should send him another bill with a timetable; they should not back down.” [huge cheers]

Need to regain the respect of the world.

“America is not just a place; America is an idea. And that idea is equality and diversity.”

Genocide in Darfur. “The most powerful nation in the world has declared that genocide is going on, and then stepped back and let it happen?” How does that look?”

Americans spend $4 for a cup of coffee, while newborns in Africa get AIDS because their mothers can’t afford $4 worth of medicine.

What if we committed to funding primary education for every child in the world?

The world must see the United States as a force for good.

On my first day in office, you have my word that Guantanamo will be closed.

Global warming. 4% of population/25% of greenhouse gasses. How can we ask India and China to help.

Carbon cap. Ratchet down the cap. Auction the permits. $30-40B/yr. for clean energy r&d.

Tighter fuel-economy standards. [Why do you need that, with what amounts to a carbon tax?]

“It’s time for a President of the United States to ask Americans to be patriotic about something besides war.”

37 million Americans in poverty. If the Democrats don’t speak up about that, why do we exist?

We’re better than this.

Living wage; organized labor built the middle class; card check. If you can join the Republican Party by signing a card, any worker in America ought to be able to join a union by signing a card. Ban permanent replacement workers.

Graduate from high school, qualify for college, and agree to work 10 hours a week, and we’ll pay for your tuition and books. (He’s done that with privately-raised money in parts of North Carolina.)

Not enough to say you’re for universal health care without saying how you’re going to do it.

Employer mandate: might lead to single-payer. Outlaw underwriting based on pre-existing conditions. Subsidy for health insurance up to $100,000/yr. in wages. Public-sector cost:

$120 b/yr. Paid for by repealing upper-bracket tax cuts.

It’s not that we don’t know what needs to be done. We know what’s to be done.

Income inequality: the top 300,000 earners earn more than the bottom 150 million.

Race is still real.

1 million new housing vouchers to break up concentrated poverty.

His decision to go ahead with his campaign despite his wife’s cancer. Challenges other to similar sacrifices: “How much do you love America?”

“The great movements that changed America didn’t start in the Oval Office.

A candidate who can compete in Iowa Missour-ah and Kentucky and Georgia (omits NC).

Overall, a very strong speech, which gets a strong reaction from the crowd.

From the press conference:

Compromise on Iraq? No. “It’s not the job of the Congress to agree with Bush.”

Politics of running on tax increases. “Honesty begins in the campaign.”

Do you have a comment on the $400 haircut? No.

Distinguishes between funding the troops and funding an open-ended war.

Immigration: Do a better job on the southern border. Use technology.

11-12 mil. Deserve a right to earn American citizenship fine. Learn English.

Windfall taxes on oil companies.

Elimination of the deficit is not the top priority (distinction from others)

VA Tech massacre: national registry (he means the background-check process) seems to have broken down, mental health, gun show loophole Second Amendment, hunters, I never met a hunter who needed an AK-47. Not another word about crime.

Edwards draws some distinctions with other candidates: he’s willing to say how he’ll pay for stuff, he can campaign across the country, he doesn’t give ending the deficit top priority. But not a bit of nastiness.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com