Two weeks ago Indiana Senator Evan Bayh announced that he was forming an exploratory committee to run for President in 2008. I watched him on one of the Sunday news programs and wondered where the fire in the belly was. Well now the fire is definitely out. He has decided not to run according to today’s Washington Post.
One reason – after spending two years and raising some $5 million dollars – a trip to New Hampshire netted small crowds while Senator Barack Obama coming to New Hampshire packed in the crowds.
As Bayh said, ‘”The odds were always going to be very long for a relatively unknown candidate like myself, a little bit like David and Goliath,” Bayh said in the statement. He added that beyond the question of “whether there were too many Goliaths or whether I’m just not the right David,” his chances were slim.
Democrat Bayh joins two other Democrats, former Virginia Governor Mark Warner and Wisconsin Senator Russell Feingold, in withdrawing from the 2008 Presidential race.
Meanwhile Democrat and former Senator John Edwards says he will make an announcement before the end of the year. When Senator Edwards was in Seattle at the beginning of December he said he had truly not made up his mind. He did a book signing at the University Bookstore on Dec 2, 2006 and acknowledged that he had to make a decision soon.
Edwards acknowledged that it was a mistake when he voted for the Iraq War. I would say that the mistake was voting to give Bush carte blanche, another President might have used the vote more seriously to get international involvement in resolving the situation. He called the present choices bad and worse.
When asked by a precocious 9 year old in the audience what the first thing he would do as President, Edwards noted that there were a lot of important things that needed to be dealt with like energy independence, health care and poverty. But he said the single biggest project was to “restore America’s ability to lead the world.”
Edwards said we live in a dangerous, chaotic world. He said if we look at the last 6 years it is clear that “raw power alone doesn’t make you a leader.”
The 9 year old responded that Edwards sounded like Jimmy Carter, who said “make peace, not war”.
And this is where I lost Edwards, because Edwards told the boy he was correct but he would add that in order to have the ability to lead the world, the world would have to see us as a moral country. We would have to be a defender of human rights, not an offender. Edwards said America was a light when he was growing up but that is not the case today.
Edwards said the world needs to see our better angels. He said the President needs to travel to other parts of the world and both listen and speak to people – show them that we care. We have an enormous responsibility to the world according to Edwards because we are the richest nation in the world.
Why did I lose Edwards here? Maybe its because it sounded pretty paternalistic and messianic. Was he trying to atone for Bush’s mistakes and his when he voted to support Bush on Iraq. Senator Fullbright years ago called it the arrogance of power – that America knows what is best for everyone else. Edwards vision of the President and America leading the world was what got us into Iraq.
I don’t support terrorism or the use of violence to achieve political ends. And I don’t support what some have distorted the Islamic religion to say, that makes women non-citizens and that kills teachers and doctors and other to further their power. The problems are real and the threats are real. I just don’t think we need another foreign policy that makes America a leader.
What we need is a President that respects other nations and their sovereignty. We need to be a nation among nations, not an angel leading others in the world.
We can do more to lead the world by setting a good example and getting our own house in order like by becoming energy self sufficient and not make countries whose internal and external polices we disagree with, wealthy from our money by buying their oil. Bush is making this country economically unstable by both expending our capital and human lives on someone else’s civil war and by sending American capital to other nations for products like oil that we could do without if we change our profligate ways.
The world and the US would be much more secure if instead of spending the billions we spent in Iraq for war, we had it for energy independence within our own nation. Having higher fuel efficiency standards which Bush opposed would help. Increasing energy efficiency would help. Building green buildings would help. More windmills would help. Solar energy.
Maybe I’m over reacting. You tell me. I know Edwards is a good man and that he cares but I hope Edwards gets a better spin on what he sees the Presidency is about before the next time a 9 year old asks him what the first thing is that he would do as President. The vision thing is important.
Edwards’ book unfortunately doesn’t help explain Edwards much since it is a book of essays he edited. The book is called “Home: The Blueprints of our Lives” It is not a vision for a future America or the world as seen by John Edwards. It does not tell us how to get out of Iraq or how to end terrorism around the world or how to feed kids or provide for a good education or eradicate disease. And that is what we need to hear about now from someone who wants to be President.
We don’t need a drinking buddy for President like Bush sold many people on – we need someone willing to lead and propose solutions and answers to real problems facing America and the world.