Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

John Edwards in 2008 -- 5

Working Class Issues

"It's no accident that the economy is working well for Wall Street. Our economy is designed to benefit the wealthy and the powerful because it was designed by the wealthy and the powerful. Last year, the securities and investment industry spent $61 million on lobbying. Since 1996, the number of Washington lobbyists has tripled to 36,000 – that's 60 lobbyists for every member of Congress.”
-- John Edwards [go here for program in full]
________________

"I got my butt kicked is what happened in Nevada," he [Edwards] said on CNN's "Late Edition." "The job for me now…is when you get knocked down, you've got to get up. You've got to get up and start fighting again."

I'm not sure who really got kicked in the butt in the hiccup caucuses of Nevada.

Just as it was rare until quite recently to find Hill and Bar on a picket line or in a union hall, it is very difficult to sort out Clinton and Obama's deep down feelings about the place of unions in the nation’s economy today. No need to argue experience v. inexperience here.

Not so John Edwards. Here’s Edwards’ bottom line position on labor and unions:

*[Edwards also] supports banning the permanent replacement of strikers so unions can negotiate fairly.”

Ask Clinton and Obama about this specific point and be prepared for a waltz around the Big Table they both like to hide beneath. Bar in particular would have a hard time with it given his new found role model, Ronald Reagan. Some people do remember Ronnie-boy's breaking of the Air Controllers strike with scabs galore. We are all still paying for that one.

And here’s a portion of Clinton’s thinking straight out of her “Labor” plank!

“I also pushed to include provisions to create more opportunities for entrepreneurs. In New York we have a tremendous amount of skilled individuals who could start businesses and create jobs if given the technical assistance and capital.”

Yeah, that really sounds like pound the bricks support for a strong labor movement in this country. Solidarity forever with . . . the Democratic Leadership Council?!?

Anyone who thinks she or he is voting pro-working class this election season, should not forget John Edwards’ roots. They go deep into labor soil–working class origins, factory worker father, public school education, lawyering for the weak against the powerful, long demonstrated personal public support for unions. No other candidate can match this background and record.

When John Edwards runs against the corporate Republican candidate and Karl Rove puts out what he hopes will be an effective “class war” smear, he will not be far off.

But it won’t be about “class war,” it will be about class justice and class balance that Edwards will be fighting for. Something we haven’t had in this country for nearly forty years.

Three states have voted in the Democratic primaries. There's still time to kick the butts that need kicking.

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