Benny's World

Sunday, May 29, 2005

JRE Stands By His Values

For John Edwards, the most painful moment of last year's US election campaign came during one of the presidential debates when George W. Bush told Americans that, even if they disagreed with him, they could be sure where he stood. Mr Edwards, number two to John Kerry on the Democratic party ticket, felt his heart sink. Whatever else might be said about him, Mr Bush was projecting his convictions.

Six months on, Mr Edward's party is still sifting the ashes of November's election for clues to its defeat. The former senator from North Carolina shuns recriminations, insisting he is proud of Mr Kerry's courageous campaign. But, as he reflects on his own future - which just about everyone in US politics expects to include another attempt in 2008 to secure the presidential nomination - Mr Edwards is sure of one thing.

In London this week he dismissed suggestions that the election was lost because the party failed properly to get its message across. Those who thought salvation lay in more political consultants or sharper messages were just "dead wrong".

"For Democrats, what's critical is what people want in their leaders - it's strength. And strength comes from a core conviction. This is not about nuance or a change of position here or there. We have to stand up for the strength and the passion of our ideals." Voters, in other words, had to feel certain that policies were rooted in core values rather than tailored or trimmed for this or that interest group.

Read the rest in the Financial Times.


  • "In London this week he dismissed suggestions that the election was lost because the party failed properly to get its message across."

    Anyone could call me "dead wrong", but I know this is, in truth, why Kerry lost.

    I really liked John Kerry, but what he missed was the opportunity to let the voice of the grassroots channels guide the message.

    The closest he came to getting it right was inviting the voice of people like Bruce Springsteen to join with his. The Democratic convention could have used him rather than bands playing sterile tunes like "Celebrate Good Times - Come On".

    I sensed a strained "holding back" throughout the Democratic campaign. I don't think it was a time in history to have walked as if on eggshells. Political consultants failed the DNC.

    The secret to 2008 is a candidate who will inspire the grassroots to get off their tails and work for him (or her). Dean had the know-how, but not the gravitas.

    By Blogger Jude Nagurney Camwell, at 7:20 AM  

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