In the scope of things, the media – right, left and in-between – has all but decided it shall determine the next presidential nominee from the democratic party. We are no longer in charge, folks. The media’s bias against covering Edwards and for covering Clinton and Obama is downright ludicrous. And, given the lack of coverage and lack of exposure, Edwards has every right to be up-in-arms about the unfairness of the media’s tactics.
In my mind, it becomes a question of which comes first, the chicken or the egg. If the media determines to focus on Clinton and Obama and ignore coverage of Edwards, then the media is determining what coverage we should see and not see. If it determines what coverage we see, then it is determining the news we get about each of the candidates, how often we hear their messages, and how often we see them in forums and headlines. We are bombarded every day with news about Clinton and Obama, but what about coverage of John Edwards? The media seems to have all but forgotten he is still in the race. Some time ago Edwards pledged not to take PAC money for his campaign – something that Clinton and Obama both do.
The following breakdown shows what happened to PAC contributions in the 2005-2006 cycle. Obama isn’t included because he wasn’t raising money yet, or at least it wasn’t an issue yet in the 2005-2006 cycle.
- McCain donated nearly $500,000 from his PAC in 2005-06 to GOP candidates and causes in South Carolina, according to the analysis of campaign-finance records collected by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. The donations included $204 to South Carolina Citizens for Life and nearly $50,000 to the Aiken County GOP.
- Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani’s PAC contributed more than $500,000 to candidates in 2005-06 from his PAC, which was created in 1998. Giuliani set up a presidential account in November.
- New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton spent 1 in 4 dollars from her PAC on PAC salaries. The PAC’s executive director, Patti Solis Doyle, now manages Clinton’s presidential campaign. The PAC was launched in 2001; Clinton’s presidential fund opened in January.
And John Edwards? Here’s what he did with his PAC money:
Former North Carolina senator John Edwards gave no money from his PAC to any candidate in 2005-06. Instead, according to Nick Baldick, a senior adviser to the Edwards campaign, Edwards used the PAC money to advance his anti-poverty agenda. It is a theme central to the Democrat’s White House bid.
The committee funded $120,000 in travel to states such as Iowa. Baldick said Edwards went to Iowa but also went to Oregon and other states to support like-minded state legislators or minimum-wage hikes. Edwards chose to help some Democrats but did so in the context of fighting poverty, not donating money to their campaigns.
The debate over whether or not to take money from lobbyists and PACs is more about symbolism than pragmatism. But isn’t that what we are looking at in the Clinton – Obama race for the White House? We have Clinton and Obama – the first of each category – gender and race – to actually have a chance at taking the White House. But instead of breaking barriers, they are pulling the Democratic party apart.
And now with the South Carolina primary over, we will hear a week of incessant analyzation of the politics of race just as we heard the politics of gender repeated over and over in New Hampshire. The two front runners don’t appear to be uniting anyone; they seem to be dividing this country along race and gender lines.
The following is a letter to John Edwards from Martin Luther King, III. He urges Edwards to continue the fight and not give up.
January 20, 2008
The Honorable John R. Edwards
410 Market Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Dear Senator Edwards:
It was good meeting with you yesterday and discussing my father’s legacy. On the day when the nation will honor my father, I wanted to follow up with a personal note.
There has been, and will continue to be, a lot of back and forth in the political arena over my father’s legacy. It is a commentary on the breadth and depth of his impact that so many people want to claim his legacy. I am concerned that we do not blur the lines and obscure the truth about what he stood for: speaking up for justice for those who have no voice.
I appreciate that on the major issues of health care, the environment, and the economy, you have framed the issues for what they are – a struggle for justice. And, you have almost single-handedly made poverty an issue in this election.
You know as well as anyone that the 37 million people living in poverty have no voice in our system. They don’t have lobbyists in Washington and they don’t get to go to lunch with members of Congress. Speaking up for them is not politically convenient. But, it is the right thing to do.
I am disturbed by how little attention the topic of economic justice has received during this campaign. I want to challenge all candidates to follow your lead, and speak up loudly and forcefully on the issue of economic justice in America.
From our conversation yesterday, I know this is personal for you. I know you know what it means to come from nothing. I know you know what it means to get the opportunities you need to build a better life. And, I know you know that injustice is alive and well in America, because millions of people will never get the same opportunities you had.
I believe that now, more than ever, we need a leader who wakes up every morning with the knowledge of that injustice in the forefront of their minds, and who knows that when we commit ourselves to a cause as a nation, we can make major strides in our own lifetimes. My father was not driven by an illusory vision of a perfect society. He was driven by the certain knowledge that when people of good faith and strong principles commit to making things better, we can change hearts, we can change minds, and we can change lives.
So, I urge you: keep going. Ignore the pundits, who think this is a horserace, not a fight for justice. My dad was a fighter. As a friend and a believer in my father’s words that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, I say to you: keep going. Keep fighting. My father would be proud.
Martin L. King, III
This primary season will be over in a few months and then we have to work on getting a democrat elected. Edwards will “stay the course”, and he will continue to be shoved to the sidelines by the Clinton and Obama squabbles. We are truly being duped by the media into thinking we have a choice of either Clinton or Obama. While Clinton and Obama are biting at each other’s throats, Edwards is trying to get his message out to the public.
But that can be pretty difficult when the media decides to jump ship on its responsibility to provide coverage of the candidates so that we, as voters, can make an informed decision.
We have another choice and that is John Edwards.