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One of the things that I admire most about Edwards is that after the election, he went back to school to talk to a bunch of smart academics about how to solve poverty. It shows in his speeches -- there are striking facts he's found out (the average white family has $80K in assets, the average black family has $6K, the average hispanic family has $8K) that segue into policy proposals (helping poor families build assets by giving them money for houses in better neighborhoods).

BTW, it's Gandhi, not Ghandi.

Well, this makes me think. I agree the current US political environment cannot produce great leaders. We will have to do away with the way we finance elections, including the out of control spending it takes to get elected. No more television or radio ads.

I had some hope that Howard Dean, with his $100 contributions from folks like me, would change all that, and look what happened to him. (Yes, I know, he's part of the establishment now. A good thing, but we'll see.)

In these days of swift boat politics, I don't think anyone worthy will ever be elected.

Which is Karl Rove's real crime.

Incidentally, the name of Thatcher is invoked with fear here, as in don't vote Tory, you might get--shudder--a Thatcherite.

Umm... I like Edwards a lot. As for letting you down, I hope you also checked out the nice little rant he blogged setting the record straight on his Dean comments - it's here

As for being great, you find Gandhi great... I, as someone who was born and raised in India, do not. There are very few people who are considered universally great. I mean who really considers Margret Thatcher great in America? For the poor, it'll always be the champion of the poor that is great... he who might not be too cherished by the rich though. For most people, studying a person or his life or his greatness is not a task at hand... their judgment is based on passing knowledge or fleeting study (and I don't necessarily mean you or your friend).

As for Edwards, I'm excited to see his platform in 08... considering that he is on a task force to russia, is doing a lot of poverty work, is working on the issue of globalization through a part-time overseas job... and other stuff, I expect him to provide some sort of new deal... and I hope he delivers, because he certainly is capable of it.

Edwards is not talking to academics to find out poverty solutions... he is researching himself and working things out with his poverty center work team. That is what his job is... they are not paying him to just talk with others. That fact that he mentions is from a study that he must have gone through.

Anyway, I'm glad he's looking at all this.

I especially liked this commencement speech by him... I saw sparks of greatness in there... a synthesis of America's moral character and promise. Every few years, we've needed a leader to remind us what the promise of america is and what America stands for... Lincoln did it, FDR did it... Edwards wants to do it, let's see if he can redefine America for the 21st century.

understanding that we were talking about this century

Um ... you've only had one president this century ... or zero if you only count lawfully elected presidents.

For a second I thought you were saying that YOU Robin, would be interviewing Edwards. Now THAT would be quite something I think. Is there any chance Edwards will be turning up in your neck of the woods?

I think the secret of being a great leader is to be dead for a long time. People tend to forget your failings and that other people disagreed with you on things and just remember with patriotic warmth all the great things you didn't do and say but got attributed to you over time.

And do we count someone as great just because they got a lot done even if it wasn't stuff you'd necessarily want done?

For example is Oliver Cromwell the greatest leader Britain has had? Our solitary technical dictator of England, the Lord Protector?

Hey Kathy! I didn't realise you were living in the UK. Are you British or American? Whereabouts do you live? London-ish?

Or is greatness on their merits as a person? Or both -- like Joan of Arc.

David, I am American, living just outside London. I've been here a little over a year, and am finding it a fascinating exercise exploring the differences between Ameri-think and Brit-think.

Plus I really like the sheep. (Speaking of, some Friday Sheep blogging just went up at my place. Perhaps I've found the next great leader?)

Although I don't agree with you about Bush, I'm glad you've found a like-minded person to talk things over with.

KathyF: as you may have figured out already I'm a Brit living in the US - Alabama actually - for nearly 8 years now.

No sheep here but a lot of cotton. Your sheep comment made me laugh because it sounded like you were seeing sheep in London. The city where I live really does have fields of cotton smack in the middle of it. I mean you'll be driving down a main road and it'll be houses and shops on one side and a cotton field on the other.

That's certainly quite a difference from England.

The weird thing is, there are sheep and cows and horses inside the M25 (the London orbital). On the day of the bombings, I was stuck in traffic, and I looked up on an overpass. There came a flock of sheep, followed by a shepherd and a dog. Even the sheep were leaving London that day!

Anyway, I think it's great.

Yay! the M25 - biggest ring road in the world. So you're sitting there in the 117 mile long traffic jam watching sheep overtake you, thinking how much worse it would be if you had to actually go into London instead of by-passing it.

I'm guessing you used to live in the north of the US. Round here animals are pretty typical. We have 30-40 cats and dogs at any time (because my wife runs an animal shelter). Next door one way keeps chickens and the other side has several horses. More horses down the road, and another crazy lady who has a dog shelter, goats, more dogs (everyone has a few dogs), cattle, sheep and wild deer are still quite common. And then there's the less remarkable nightlife; possums, skunks, groundhogs, raccoons....

One of the county pounds we go to doubles as a disused zoo. It's weird. There are several disused zoos round here. It's not open to the public; I guess they never make any money so they are sort of a hobby and the security is on a shoe-string. This place has about half a dozen tigers and they are just behind chain link fence that my domestic cats could get out of let alone a tiger. It's nuts. They have a black bear behind chain link too. I've seen plenty of big dogs bust out of chain-link at home - how do they think a bear's going to be stopped by something like that!?

While Mr Edwards certainly is a likable person and much more tolerable than the Kerry/Gore-bot twins, he a) needs a lot more time to bake and b) he really needs to put some distance between himself and his past of making $millions by suing the pants off of doctors based on junk science. At the core of that sunny disposition lies a very greedy snake. I wonder what doctor was brave enough to help his children into the world.

Barack Obama could be the next great Democratic president in 2012 or 2016 if he can develop policies that match his personality. Maybe even if he doesn't because he's smoother than Clinton and carries a lot less baggage.

I couldn't vote for Edwards because I believe he's a traditional spender, but I *might* vote for Obama IF he shows that he is a fiscal conservative between now and then.

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