Sure, it's not too early to start thinking about the 2008 presidential election. And one of the most fascinating launches to a campaign has come from unsuccessful 2004 VP candidate John Edwards.
The preternaturally cute trial lawyer ran as a centrist, but this time out, he's reinvented himself as a dyed-in-the-wool, wealth-redistributing liberal. Time magazine covers his unconventional (and slightly screwed up, owing to a premature website launch and the unfortunate timing of the death of President Gerald Ford) campaign launch, a three-day volunteerfest cleaning up storm damage in New Orleans. According to Time, Edwards promised to:
- Raise taxes on the wealthy and oil companies.
- Defer any budget balancing until he can implement expensive solutions for universal health care and ending poverty.
- Create 1 million tax-funded jobs in government and nonprofits.
He also flat-out admitted his mistake in voting for the war and took responsbibility for it. Edwards previously had been a lukewarm war supporter. Other media accounts had him promising a change in global warming policy and disavowing the idea of middle-class tax cut he championed two years ago.
It is an interesting conversion (or calculation) for Edwards to move to the left, obviously emboldened by the midterm elections results and pushed out of the center by the large warm air mass that is Hillary Clinton. He'll end up competing for votes with Barack Obama (if he decides to run) and announced candidates Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and Congressman Dennis Kucinich, as well as (possibly) Gen. Wesley Clark.
(BTW, according to his website, Edwards is listening to the Boss's "The River" and Mary Chapin Carpenter's "This Shirt." How hip. And our own check of his One America political committee shows that his largest Tampa Bay contributor is trial lawyer Jim Wilkes.)
Photo: John Edwards Campaign MySpace page