So Obama's internal polling must show Edwards in the lead because now we're hearing about how trial lawyers are teh evil. For a guy who sells himself as a uniter-not-a-divider, Obama sure does say a lot of divisive things. The only people he seems to reserve judgment on are the mythical moderate Republicans with whom he will find a new third way - a fourth way! No, Cheney found the fourth way. I guess Obama will find a fifth way.
I'm old fashioned. I liked the first way. You face a crisis. You have an idea that the majority of Americans support - or because you're a leader you have an idea that you bring the majority of Americans around to supporting - and you get it enacted for the benefit of greatest majority of Americans (not members of Congress) as possible. Right now, whoever becomes president has it easy in this regard. Americans want out of Iraq. American want to lead with morality. Americans want universal single-payer health care. Americans want corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes. Americans want to help out the least among us. Americans want clean air and water and energy. Americans, with a wave to Howard Dean, want America that acts like America.* The next president won't have to be a leader as much as s/he'll have to be a fighter.
I have already endorsed Chris Dodd because he doesn't only talk about leading, he leads. I want him to be the next president. But Edwards is my second choice and so in light of Obama's foolish line about trial lawyers, I'm going to point you to two places where you can find information that will put that self-serving, right wing comment into the political context that Obama and corporate America don't want you to ever think about.
The first one is a site the author calls "my small contribution to the debate over the morality of trial lawyers, the myths and realities of frivolous lawsuits and the politics of tort reform." The author has collected news items about the Lakey case, the one involving the five year-old girl and a defective pool filter. It's the case that was supposed to have made Edwards' career although he was already well-known and well-regarded as a personal injury lawyer when he took it.
This is an account of Edwards' closing during that trial:
Parsons finished his closing argument Friday morning, then Edwards stood to speak. It was his first closing since his son Wade, 16, was killed in a traffic accident April 4. Edwards' teenage daughter, Kate, sat in the front row.
For 90 minutes, Edwards led the jurors through the evidence, showing them how he figured the law had to be applied and telling them to consider the lifetime of care Valerie will need.
Periodically, he stopped and asked, "Am I making sense?" or "Y'all understand what I'm saying?" The jurors always nodded.
On a large posterboard, Edwards added up the dollars for Valerie's past and future medical bills, plus her physical and mental suffering. The total Edwards said was necessary: $42 million. Finally, Edwards put down his pen and faced the jury. His voice, already soft, dropped even lower in pitch and volume. Everyone in the room leaned in to listen. "
There was a wonderful, wonderful thing written this past spring by someone who was writing about a tragedy that occurred," Edwards said. "It involved the death of a young boy who should not have died. "What he wrote was this: 'We have to gather around this family not because we understand what they're going through but because they have to know we share their pain.' " Edwards paused, as he struggled for words. "Their loss is our loss," he said. "Their child is our child. The responsibility we have toward our children. ..."
Edwards looked over his shoulder and spotted his daughter. He opened his mouth and for a moment, no words came out. He turned to the jury again: "That responsibility is a most awesome responsibility."
Their child is our child. Not for nothing, but over 160 thousand children have become uninsured since BushCo crucified SCHIP on the cross of for-profit health care. I want a president that takes the reality of a family losing health insurance for their children personally or who can at least act like s/he does and will inspire others to do so because that's what leaders are for. I don't need a candidate who worries most about preserving the power of Corporate America and its minions in Congress. When Obama takes a swipe at trial lawyers, he's telling me that's where his concerns are. If you want to read about why that should be a dealbreaker, check out the second site, CorpReform. It's been around since 2004. I found it during BushCo's successful push for "tort reform" in 2004/2005.
From the site:
Corpreform.com's mission is to tell the public the truth about tort reform - that it punishes people to protect profits. That's it. There's no hidden motive. There's no effort to sign up personal injury cases, or garner support for a particular political candidate.
Despite that last bit, the author of the site is open about supporting Edwards. That endorsement is worth a lot in my eyes.
So here's hoping that Dodd wins Iowa, New Hampshire, the nomination and the White House. But if that doesn't happen, then I'm hoping that Edwards is the guy that does and that he won't let us down.
* I changed that phrase from one that reminded me of Langston Hughes' poem "Let America be America Again," which I love but what isn't what I wanted to reference there. I meant to reference this collection of Howard Dean clips in which he says, "I want an America that looks like America."