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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Two Americas

As my regular readers know, I've long been intrigued by the political skills of John Edwards. Long ago, I predicted he could land a spot on the national ticket (or perhaps in the Cabinet).

In any case, today seems like a perfect date to reference his "Two Americas'" address. Here's the key paragraph:
Today, under George W. Bush, there are two Americas, not one: One America that does the work, another America that reaps the reward. One America that pays the taxes, another America that gets the tax breaks. One America that will do anything to leave its children a better life, another America that never has to do a thing because its children are already set for life. One America -- middle-class America - whose needs Washington has long forgotten, another America - narrow-interest America - whose every wish is Washington's command. One America that is struggling to get by, another America that can buy anything it wants, even a Congress and a President.
And Edwards really electrifies crowds when he delivers these words.

The rhetoric is openly populist and quite appealing:
2004 is a make-or-break election because we need to create one America again. And that is the one thing George Bush will never do. Dividing us into two Americas - one privileged, the other burdened - has been his agenda all along. Just look what he wants to do to our tax code. From the beginning, this President has had one solitary goal: to shift the tax burden away from the wealth of the most fortunate and onto the work of the middle class. He wants to cut the capital gains tax, eliminate the dividends tax and the estate tax, and create new tax shelters for millionaires' stocks that are bigger than most people's salaries. By the time he's done, the only people who pay taxes in America will be the millions of middle-class and poor Americans who do all the work.

That's wrong. It's wrong for a millionaire who sits by the pool on the phone to his broker to pay tax at a lower rate than the cop on the beat or the waitress working two shifts.

What's more, by dividing us into two Americas, George Bush is hurting our economy, cheating our future, and undermining our very way of life. The engine of our economy is not that guy sitting by the pool. It is millions of guys and gals in factories, fields, and offices across America who go to work every day trying to do right by their families. When we invest in those Americans, our middle-class grows, and our whole economy grows. That is the simple truth George Bush will never understand.
Democrats all over the country should be applauding Kerry's decision and renew their vows to help bring down Bush in 2004.

I'd excerpt more of the Edwards speech, but I'd encourage everyone to read it...or watch CSPAN. I'm sure they'll be running versions of it very soon.

Here's how Edwards closes the speech:
We will replace the crass politics of greed and the current politics of rage with a new politics of opportunity.

We are all angry at what George Bush has done to our country, our values, and our way of life. But we all know in our hearts that our anger won't change America; our actions will. Democrats are the party of optimism and action, and I am in this fight to keep that tradition alive, and to build on our country's great successes.

Because I believe in an America where every man, woman, and child can reach his or her God-given potential. I believe in an America where the family you're born into and the color of your skin should never control your destiny.
Here's a song lyric from Little Walter I used to quote after winning a big argument against another debate team: "Boom boom! out go the lights."

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