Edwards just doesn’t get it

by lestro

On Thursday, the Reno Gazette Journal endorsed Sen. Barack Obama as the best choice for the Democratic party’s nomination. They cited his talk of unity and change and ability to cite both Presidents Kennedy and Reagan as agents of change.

According to a CBS reporter, John Edwards jumped all over Obama for the Reagan reference:

“When you think about what Ronald Reagan did to the American people, to the middle class to the working people,” said Edwards.

“He was openly – openly – intolerant of unions and the right to organize. He openly fought against the union and the organized labor movement in this country. He openly did extraordinary damage to the middle class and working people, created a tax structure that favored the very wealthiest Americans and caused the middle class and working people to struggle every single day. The destruction of the environment, you know, eliminating regulation of companies that were polluting and doing extraordinary damage to the environment.”

“I can promise you this: this president will never use Ronald Reagan as an example for change.”

Edwards isn’t wrong. Reagan fucked over the middle class, sold out the government to private interests, tripled the national debt, ignored AIDS, made ketchup a vegetable in public schools and rolled back a bunch of environmental advances.

But he isn’t right, either. Reagan’s election in 1980 set the tone for the next 12 years. I grew up in the 80s, so I have no recollection of what happened before, but even a cursory glance shows the structural changes and cultural ripple effects that still has all of the Republican candidates drooling all over which blowhard is the most fit to carry Reagan’s jock strap.

For the record, here is the actual quote to which the Edwards campaign was responding:

“I don’t want to present myself as some sort of singular figure. I think part of what’s different are the times. I do think that for example the 1980 was different. I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

There’s been a lot of talk of “change” this election season but the real question is what that change means to the person who says it. Today, we got a look at what two of the Democratic candidates mean when they say change.

Obama apparently means one of those fundamental shifts in the way we look at things. A new generation rising to power and bringing with it a different world view, a new, more interconnected sensibility that draws the best parts of both sides of the aisle.

Edwards version of change is an old definition, a change of faces and rhetoric, but the same world view we’ve been arguing over for decades.

It is time to sluff off the world view of the Baby Boomers. I am appreciative of what they’ve done, but they are still fighting the same fights while the world is moving past them.

You can’t really blame Edwards for wanting to improve the VCR, but i think it might be time to take a chance on this up and coming DVD technology…

UPDATE: Well, Bill and Hillary Clinton both weighed in on this proving they too are just building a better VCR. They are both still struggling with the difference is the word change and are happy to distort what Obama said (though his campaign’s response was admittedly disappointing) in a distinctly Boomer political maneuver.

The report is at TPMelectioncentral and links to Bubba and Obama’s additions are at the bottom.

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One Response to Edwards just doesn’t get it

  1. Pingback: The page finally starts to turn « The Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi

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