Monday, August 6, 2007

Edwards Prepares For AFL-CIO Presidential Candidate Forum By Showing Solidarity With Union Members

John Edwards prepared for tomorrow's AFL-CIO Presidential Candidates Forum in Chicago by unveiling an implicit attack on Bill Clinton and by extension his wife Hillary. According to the AP during a speech in Cedar Rapids, IA he told a crowd of 300 at a union hall.

"It's time that the president stood up and fought for American workers. It's time to have a president that always puts the interests of the American people first."

"For far too long, presidents from both parties have entered into trade agreements, agreements like NAFTA, promising that they would create millions of new jobs and enrich communities. Instead, too many of these agreements have cost jobs and devastated towns and communities across this country."
Edwards' charged that NAFTA was "written by insiders in all three countries." The AP reports that
Edwards used the campaign appearance to offer his trade proposals, including a call for freezing imports of any food, toys, medicines or other goods that are harmful.

The 2004 vice presidential nominee said the economy is growing and productivity is at an all-time high, but wages aren't keeping pace with the increased costs of education, health care and retirement. He blamed technological change and globalization, as well as outdated labor and workplace laws for a system that is benefiting the wealthiest and shortchanging workers.

Edwards said his plan would:

_ Require pro-worker provisions in new deals.

_ Hold trade partners to their commitments.

_ Invest more in dislocated workers and communities.

_ Ensure that imports are safe
During an interview with the AP Edwards renewed his attack on candidates who are beholden to Federal Lobbyists.
"The people who are registered in Washington to rig the system, which is exactly what they do, that Democratic presidential candidates, and Democratic candidates, and for that matter all candidates, should just say we're not taking these peoples' money anymore because it's the way to take their power away from them, and it's the way to bring about the change that this country needs."

He added: "This is not specifically just about Senator Clinton or anybody else, it's about restoring the power of the government back to its people."
Hillary Clinton's chief strategist, Mark Penn, responded to Edwards criticism by issuing a memo highlighting recent polls showing the New York senator leading the Democratic field.

As if to inadvertently emphasize her ties to the corporate establishment, the Sioux City Journal reports that a corporate officer of Standard Ready Mix protested Edwards' comments at a rally of striking Teamsters near Standard's Sioux City plant by parking his pick-up truck close to a crowd of strikers and their supporters with the engine running and displaying a "Hillary for President" sign.
Jim Sheard, secretary of Teamsters Local Union 554, said he's known Edwards for five years, and "while none of the unions are making endorsements yet," he added, "I gotta tell you that John Edwards is the candidate who is not afraid of the word 'union.'"
In an unrelated attack on Hillary Clinton as the establishment candidate the Huffington Post reports that yesterday, Barack Obama used Edwards' "how many of you have a federal lobbyist" line at an appearance at an appearance in Nevada.
"I don't mind lobbyists having a seat at the table, I just don't want them to buy all the chairs. I want them to be part of the discussion where citizens also are part of the process. . . How many people here have a federal lobbyist?"
I guess if Hillary wants to be known as the candidate of the rich and powerful, that is fine with both Edwards and Obama. She better be prepared to be tarred as GOP lite.

Tomorrow's AFL-CIO forum is going to be interesting. I can't wait to see how Team Clinton responds. It had better be something other than Hillary sticking her tongue out while chanting "I'm ahead in the polls, I'm ahead in the polls, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na" or she will be behind in the polls in short order. The kind of inevitable triumphalism that impresses AIPAC and corporate presidents doesn't move middle class union members who have been thrown out of good paying jobs by NAFTA and other trade deals.