John Edwards Brings Populist Message Back to Ohio
BY FRANK J. RANELLI
Democratic Presidential candidate, John Edwards, brought his message of returning power to the people into Columbus, Ohio Friday evening. Speaking to a lively and engaged crowd of about 800 people, Edwards laid out his distinct vision for America. Under his popular grassroots theme of, "Small Change for Big Change", Edwards energized an already eager for change crowd, stumping for about 25 minutes, at the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local #189 union hall, near Ohio State campus.
In a continuing effort to reach out to a broader swath of working-class Americans, the negligible $15.00 entrance fee -- which the Edward's camp has incorporate since June -- is part and parcel to his proletarian message. The "Small Change for Big Change" fundraisers are also a deliberate campaign tactic to distinguish Edwards from his chief rivals, Senators Obama and Clinton, whose benefit dinner entrance fees top out at $2300 per plate.
His first visit to the Buckeye State since July, the ex-senator from North Carolina excoriated President Bush by proclaiming, "I don't believe George Bush has injured our reputation in the world, I think he's destroyed it!" Adding, "It's time for the president of the United States to be patriotic about something other than war!"
Continuously withering Bush's policies, Edwards harshly attacked the current administration's failures to embrace the global climate crisis. To a rousing applause, Edwards announced, "It's time for the president to say, 'We're in this together. If we're going to fight global warming, if we're going to preserve this planet, we've got to be willing to sacrifice.'"
The former senator then outlined his own initiatives and policies to combat global warming. Somberly reminding the gathering at the union hall that America produced 25-percent of the world's pollution, Edwards promised to reduce carbon emissions by least 80 percent by 2050 and necessitate all vehicles to get 40 miles per gallon as soon as possible.
Adding some fresh editorial to his address, in a savvy, jujitsu-like political move, John Edwards openly called-out the Republicans in Congress who voted to condemn the liberal advocacy group Moveon.org. Edwards provocatively asked, if the same Republicans who voted to denounce Moveon's critical ad of General Petraeus, where also willing to "step up to the mic" and censure Rush Limbaugh's incendiary remark that service members who support U.S. withdrawal are "phony soldiers."
Edwards then suggested, to the enthusiastic and progressive assembly, "not to hold their collective breath," though. However, to a thunderous ovation of approval, Edwards said, "In my America, dissent is not unpatriotic, dissent is patriotic."
Finally, touching on healthcare, Edwards rhetorically and cynically asked why front-runner, Hillary Clinton, had taken so long to introduce a healthcare plan for America, which merely and largely mimicked his own.
Bringing the supporters to a raucous, speech-pausing cheer, Edwards, if elected President, promised this declaration to Congress: "If you don't pass universal health care by July 2009, then you lose your health care, because there's no excuse for politicians in Washington to have health care when Americans don't have health care."
Before signing autographs and shaking hands with an on-rushing crowd, Edwards promised to pay for his mandatory healthcare plan, which he estimates will cost $100 billion, by rescinding Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy.
After the rally, one member of the audience told a local TV news reporter, "I love John's populist message. I think it's time for America to have a President who stands for 90-percent of us, not just one-percent of us."