by Benjamin J. Kirby
It is the two-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, and for as wild and crazy as the passage of the Act was, the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court deliberations over the Act will be even more interesting.
Make no mistake: despite the ongoing GOP presidential primary conflagration, this issue, along with the economy, will be front-and-center during the general election.
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I said yesterday I didn't think John Edwards could sink any lower. Looks like he probably will.
But I also track with Charles P. Pierce on this.
John Edwards was the only Democratic presidential candidate since Jesse Jackson who went out of his way to talk about poverty in America. Not in an oblique way. Not as an afterthought after blathering for hours on the pressures on The Middle Class and how he wanted to unleash Small Business, The Engine Of The Economy — both of which, in purely political terms, meant discussing the not-inconsiderable economic perils of struggling white folks. Talking about poverty, and about poor people, meant talking a lot about black people, and that's the kind of thing that Al From and the Democratic Leadership Council convinced a generation of ambitious Democratic politicians was a vote-killing extravagance that the party could no longer afford. I thought that it mattered that there was someone out there at least talking the talk on the big stage about how there are pockets of unforgivable hunger and want in this nation the existence of which should embarrass us all.
And, today, I think about the people in those places who may have heard the same thing in John Edwards that I did, who believed in him more fervently than anyone because of what he was saying about the people like them. Now, they're largely invisible in our politics again, except as people whose interests can be used as chips in our grand bargains. If you want to be pissed at John Edwards, be pissed that he let those people down. I am.
I am, too.
Look, it's one thing to make some political predictions -- Who will win this state? Who will take that precinct? What percent? By how many? -- and be wrong. It's another to put your faith in someone and have it trampled, decimated so completely, basically vaporized.
The great failings of John Edwards are two-fold. Yes, we may well have lost for a generation the opportunity to talk about the poor and the hungry and those most in need in this country. The conversation needed to happen, and now, as a public policy issue, it is likely dead.
Worse, though, is the fact that nothing will actually get done, at least not on a grand national scale. Poverty will continue to be marginalized as a subject as the national political conversation continues to focus on the middle class.
Don't get me wrong -- I still think Obama is the clear choice ("Corporations are people, my friend!" is your likely alternative, so...). But John Edwards had a chance -- not just at the presidency; at so much more -- and he wasted it. What a shame.
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I'm on Twitter @bkirby816
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Green light, baby.
It's finally Friday.