The original nine that made up the group
of Democratic presidential candidates offered voters something that
has become all too rare in American politics: choice. In a system
that encourages centrism and homogeneity, rarely are American
voters presented with clear, differentiated options on Election
Day. Yet in this primary season, nine different candidates from
different backgrounds brought their individual experiences, talents
and ideas to the table and gave the nation one of its most diverse
candidate fields in recent history. Howard Dean, with his fiery
style and passionate opposition to President Bush. Dick Gephardt, a
career legislator and a Democratic veteran. Wesley Clark, a
four-star general, who made an electric entrance into the campaign
that instantly thrust him to the front of the pack.

Candace Mui

With candidates hailing from so many different professions, it
is surprising that the strongest and most dynamic candidate does
not come from a particularly unique background. He is not a
reverend or a doctor. He is not a combat veteran or a general. He
is not a career politician or a former ambassador. At times, his
campaign has been written off by critics, his message ignored by
the media. Yet, in a time of national crisis, he has chosen
optimism over aggression, populism over pandering. Where other
candidates have lacked style, substance or both, he has shown
uncommon intelligence, passion and charisma that have won him
votes, and won him our support. He is, of course, the son of a mill
worker, a lawyer and a senator from North Carolina. Because he has
run an exciting and positive campaign that has addressed the issues
of concern to most Americans, U.S. Senator JOHN EDWARDS is the best
Democratic candidate to face President Bush in the general
election.

 

In this time of high unemployment and war,
terror and tragedy, it is all too easy for a candidate to trod down
the path of pessimism and criticism. Edwards stands out from the
pack as an idealistic and optimistic voice. When Dick Gephardt and
Howard Dean were spending millions attacking each other in Iowa,
Edwards snuck in and clinched a second-place finish by providing an
upbeat, uplifting vision of America. By relying on a constructive
campaign that entices voters into working toward a greater social
and economic change, Edwards offers a unique and thoroughly
refreshing perspective in a negatively charged atmosphere.

When Edwards speaks about the two Americas, and the pervasive
class inequalities we face, he resonates deeply with many who find
themselves disaffected and neglected in Bush’s America. After
three years of disappointing economic performance and a series of
financial scandals, idealistic dreams of equal economic opportunity
seem just that — dreams. Edwards’s campaign strives to
bring back economic optimism and restore faith in the American
dream. His dominant campaign theme is closing the chasm between the
two halves of America, and his policies aim to provide hope.

Edwards, who has made bridging the economic divide into a
centerpiece of his campaign, has created a series of economic
proposals that reward hard work, uphold American business and
economic values and encourage growth. His economic plan, based on
the premise that middle-class America is the engine that drives our
national success, aims to increase its size and strength.

His tax plan repeals the Bush tax cut for the wealthy, replacing
it with a series of tax incentives and credits to help average
Americans reap the benefits of their hard work. Unlike Bush, whose
tax plan was skewed toward the rich, Edwards plans on lifting the
tax burden off middle- and lower-class America to create a more
just and fair economic system. His “American Dream” tax
credit provides a tax credit of up to $5,000 toward a down payment
on a house.

Edwards also realizes the necessity of economic innovation and
modernization. He has revived the idea of “empowerment
zones,” providing special incentives to small-business owners
who move into areas hit by heavy job loss. In addition to this tax
plan, he has proposed ways to draw venture capital toward declining
areas, leading to the revitalization and modernization of local
economies. With an eye on the future, Edwards has realized that a
new generation of leaders will be needed to further American
prosperity in coming years. Consequently, he has proposed funding
initiatives to encourage investment in education and
innovation.

 

Many candidates made promises during the
primaries to reform higher education, but few indicated a staunch
commitment on the part of the candidate to the problems facing the
nation’s public universities. Edwards’s “College
for Everyone” program not only will help make college
available to more young adults, but reflects an understanding and
commitment on his part to higher education as a whole. Under his
plan, all qualified students would receive one year worth of
tuition in exchange for working an average of ten hours per week in
their communities. This program would allow many students who would
otherwise be unable to experience college the opportunity to see
first hand the benefits of higher learning. In addition to his
education plans, Edwards wants to eliminate legacy admissions,
which prefer the children of alumni, to increase the chances of
children who are first in their family to attend college.

 

Edwards is not a perfect candidate; we
endorse him with some reservations. Perhaps the most troubling
aspect of Edwards’s record is his support for the Patriot
Act. When questioned about his stance on the act, Edwards has
repeatedly taken a confusing position, saying he never expected the
Bush administration to use the powers the way it has.

Edwards’s record on the war in Iraq is also a cause for
concern. While he initially voted to authorize the war, he voted
against the bill authorizing $87 billion for the reconstruction
effort. By voting against the Iraq appropriations bill, Edwards has
attempted to present himself as an opponent of the
president’s war even though he supported it when the time
came for him to vote yea or nay on the Senate floor.

Concerns aside, The Michigan Daily, confidently endorses John
Edwards as the Democratic nominee for president.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *