News Release

Perspectives on Edwards

CHRIS KROMM
Kromm is executive director of the Institute for Southern Studies and publisher of Southern Exposure magazine. He said today: “Edwards’ populist side — his famous campaign message of the ‘two Americas’ — isn’t just rhetoric: Edwards has pushed for a patient’s bill of rights, closing corporate tax loopholes, overhauling NAFTA, and beefing up laws to protect union organizing. He has opposed school vouchers and privatizing Social Security. He’s also pro-choice, opposes federal efforts to ban gay marriage, and gets high marks from environmental groups. But he lost some progressive supporters with his early and unapologetic support of the Iraq invasion, as well as his vote for the Patriot Act — although his grilling of John Ashcroft over military tribunals is legendary. In short, he’s not the populist barnstormer the Republican National Committee would have you believe, but he’s also not your typical conservative Southern Democrat.”
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KEVIN GRAY
Contributing editor for Black News in Columbia, South Carolina, Gray said today: “As beauty contests go, the dull, blue-blooded Kerry — picking a veep who portrays himself as an up-by-the-bootstraps son of a mill worker, who mouths populist themes — is the story the liberal establishment wants to sell. Of course Edwards is also a millionaire and, despite his stump speeches about ‘two Americas,’ the fact remains that he himself lives in Country Club Hills in Raleigh and has a beach house in a gated community far away from the have-nots of our divided country. And, while he is quick to talk about ‘two Americas,’ there is nothing in what he says to really solve the problem. Both Edwards and Kerry gave George Bush a blank check to wage an unnecessary, unprovoked war and, if elected, they will expand the number of troops in Iraq — maybe even bringing back the draft. Both men have criticized the Ashcroft Justice Department but both voted for the incredibly intrusive Patriot Act. They supported Bush’s underfunded ‘No Child Left Behind’ and, as far as Israel is concerned, both stand with George Bush and Ariel Sharon and their shameful, criminal treatment of the Palestinians.”

Gray added: “The attempt to put the DLC [Democratic Leadership Council] face on the party so as to appeal to ‘Reagan Democrats’ will be at the expense of issues that African Americans have traditionally supported, such as opposition to the death penalty and more funds to education as opposed to the prison industrial complex. The Democrats’ election strategy to this point has been ‘Anybody but Bush.’ The selection of Edwards is consistent with that strategy but such a shallow, reactive strategy doesn’t offer a structural fundamental change in American politics away from empire building.”

Resource: John Edwards, like John Kerry, maintained that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction before the invasion of Iraq. For example: “We know that he [Hussein] has chemical and biological weapons.” (Oct. 10, 2002) [See: www.senate.gov/~edwards/statements/20021010_iraq.html]

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167