[origionally posted at BlueHampshire]
Watching the debates with my New Hampshire host family, John Edwards really impressed us. He is passionate, he cares, and he has identified the problem — the corporate interests in Washington pushing their own interests at great cost to the public good. Edwards is a fighter, and it is clear he is going to go after them.
It is also clear that Obama has identified this as a root issue as well, and has been working to address it with his work in ethics reform. And, like Edwards, he is not taking dollars from the corporate interests, so he will not be beholden to them.
So what can I say to an Edwards supporter? On this issue we are very closely aligned.
Last night it became clear that the answer is in Obama’s deeper analysis of the situation. It is clear he is an architect, as well as a fighter. His roots in community organizing lead him to an analysis of the situation in terms of power. Where are we going to get the power to fight these interests that “have a strangle hold on Washington?”
We are going to get this power from organizing the American People. Obama is clear on this – he cannot do this without us. In fact, in his speeches he is repeatedly asking for us go get involved, to take back the government of this country. He is willing to build a coalition with republicans – not pander to republican leaders, but find republican voters who are disenchanted, for whom the neo-con promise has not come true.
This, I believe, is a critical difference. While Edwards has identified the problem, and is clearly a bulldog who will chew on the leg of corporate interests, his experience as a trial lawyer slots him into an “us-and-them” mentality. He will label them as bad guys and go after them. And, he will likely win a few.
Obama is seeking rather, to dismantle the structure that allows corporate interests to thrive. He is seeking to change the rules of the game, and he recognizes that in order to do this, he needs to build a broad power base. A power base rooted not in the politics of Washington, but in the ultimate source of political power in this country – the American People.