Saturday, September 8, 2007

Edwards: We've Got To End It, Not Defend It

Taking aim at the influence of corporate politicians and Washington lobbyists, today, John Edwards challenged Hillary Clinton, and all the other Democratic candidates, to "end it, not defend it." According to the Associated Press, Edwards made these remarks as he accepted the endorsement of the Carpenters Union.

To the roars of the union members, Edwards said, "Washington is rigged against regular Americans, against working Americans like you and the men and women you represent, whose interests and concerns don't stand a chance against the onslaught of lobbyists in Washington, D.C."

Edwards again issued his challenge to all Democratic candidates to refuse to accept money from federal lobbyists and political action committees. Edwards has never accepted either and no longer accepts contributions from state-level lobbyists. Edwards said that he is not asking any candidate to give back money they have taken in the past, but, instead, to declare this a new day for Democrats-a day when the party through the example of its leaders will be the party for the people of this country, not the party of corporate interests.

Edwards has Clinton in a bit of a box. Increasingly, she finds herself responding to him, both on the issue of her electability and on the issue of corporate influence/lobbyist money. To defend taking the money from lobbyists (over $400,000 and counting), she is forced to defend a system in Washington that most people believe does not work for them. Last week, she said that she intended to work within the system created "by the constitution" for change in Washington, and that "you can't deny that the system exists." Today, Edwards said:
Look, Senator Clinton is right – you cannot pretend the system doesn't exist. But you also can't pretend that it works. And that's where she and I part company.
Because I believe if you defend the system that defeats change, you can't be a president that will bring change. When it comes to the Washington influence game, we need to end it, not defend it.
She says you bring change by working within the system established by the Constitution. I think the system has been corrupted by corporate powers never contemplated by the Constitution. This is not the government of, by and for the people that our founding fathers intended.
There is no principled compromise between the way things have always been and the way things could be.

This discussion of whether the system need to change or merely be trimmed around the edges is a debate that is likely to escalate as Americans become increasingly frustrated with the escalation of the war in Iraq and the failure of the new Democratic majority to stand up to the President.

1 comment:

Button Gwinnett said...

Thank God somebody said it. I can't believe the free pass that Hillary has gotten on defending lobbyists. What in the Hades kind of politician can stand up in front of hard working, every day Americans and defend a corrupt system that takes their power away?

Sure, they are "real people too." They're real people really drowning out your voice with the sound of their money shakers!

But since she has the corporate media in her back pocket (thanks, Rupert Murdoch and Fox News) she's their girl. Edwards, Obama, real agents of change, etc. need not apply.