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Sweet column: Edwards, Obama tangle. Fighter vs pragmatist.


SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa --Stumping across the same snow-covered Iowa countryside, Democratic primary rivals Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards clashed over a philosophical divide toward governance: Is it better to have a fighter or a pragmatist in the White House?

The question, being raised by Edwards in Sunday show interviews and in recent days, comes as Obama and Edwards are engaging with each other -- not Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton -- with the Jan. 3 Iowa caucus looming.

The Obama and Clinton camps are taking pains not to offend Edwards supporters, whom they will need if a caucus vote goes into a second and subsequent rounds.

Edwards' team is hoping concerns about Obama's experience raised in Sunday's Des Moines Register endorsement for Clinton will drive into their camp voters who were torn between Obama and Edwards.

Obama and Edwards have positioned themselves as the anti-Washington candidates, and in the closing days of the campaign, Edwards in particular has been working to draw out how they are different.

While all the Democrats back universal health coverage, the campaign has centered on how the front-runners would get it done.

On CBS' "Face the Nation," Edwards said Obama believes "the way you deal with these powerful entrenched interests is you sit at a table, negotiate with them and somehow a way -- somehow or other they'll compromise away their power. . . . I believe you have to take them on and . . . there's going to be an epic fight in front of us to be successful."

At a town hall meeting on Sunday -- one of four for Obama, plus church -- Obama said Edwards' approach is not realistic.

"What I also know is that if you don't listen, then you are not going to get much done, even when you are dealing with a drug or insurance company. . . . We need insurance companies to participate in some way in order to make it work. So you are going to have to listen to 'em," Obama said.

Obama started the day at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Mason City, sitting next to precinct captain Joann Hardy and her family. He talked about his Christian faith -- and took part in a church tradition of tossing mittens on a Christmas tree.

He ended it at a school gym here, where he continued to hunt down undecided voters. Said Obama, "My job is to be so dazzling today that I have persuaded at least some of you to caucus for me."


"Is it better to have a fighter or a pragmatist in the White House?"


No, it is better to have an unyielding, determined fighter who is level-headed and efficient in his approach to solving problems.

Ah, that would be a FIGHTING PRAGMATIST.

For all Clinton surrogates I know you don't like the title but I urge you to read on to the end.

Reason number one, when you look at the democratic candidates, it is clear that she is part of the status quo. She is part of the establishment and the establishment resists real change on both parties.

Secondly, her campaign is well financed by the biggest corporations in the United States; The big defense industries, the drug and pharmaceutical companies, and the insurance companies. Not just my empty words, it is well documented and she has publicly defended them too.

According to the most recent data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Clinton's lobbyist-contributors represent a $225 million slice of the Washington influence industry. Clinton contributors who lobby for pharmaceutical companies and interests billed more than any other industry, $30.7 million, or 14 percent of the total. They represent such drug makers as Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb and the influential trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

So you be the judge. Do you think these lobbyists are throwing their money for nothing? They are certainly going to get a lot of things back in return and often, it is going to be at the peril of the average America citizen. So is there any reason why we should replace a corporate sympathizer with another corporate worshipper if we really want meaningful change?

Thirdly, her presidency will only resurrect the problems we faced in 1990s. For example the partisan war fair to demonize each other; the endless investigations where billions of tax payers’ dollars were spent. Why would Democrats want to go through this painful and shameful circle again? What is the party of Jackson, Kennedy, and Roosevelt afraid of?

Fourthly, her presidency puts Former president Bill Clinton back in the white house. This is clearly an insult to the American people. Bill was a famous adulterer. He brought great shame to the presidency. He not only committed adultery, but he did it in the Oval office. He looked at the American people on TV and lied about his despicable acts with an intern. While a sin is a sin and no human is sinless we all know that we can't make have sex or any sexual activity on our parents bedroom. And although he is not the first to have extramarital affairs in the White House, it is not our place as a religions nation to condone such acts.

Fifthly, another Clinton candidacy will certainly lead to a democratic lost of Congress. When Bill Clinton took the Presidency in 1993 the 103th congress had the following distribution:

U S. Senate:

Democratic Party 57
Republican Party 43

U.S House of Representatives

Party Affiliation Members
Democratic Party 258
Republican Party 176
Independents 1

By the beginning of the 104th congress, the tables had turned.

U.S Senate:

Democratic Party 46
Republican Party 54

U.S House of Representatives

Party Affiliation Members
Democratic Party 204
Republican Party 230
Independents 1

The bad news was, the Democratic Party had lost 11 seats in the U.S Senate and 54 members in the House of Representatives in less than four years of the Clinton presidency. The good news was that they were still in control of the White House. So what had turned the tides against the Democratic party?

-The Gingrich Revolution ( Republicans had a great vision for the country) -Whitewater investigation (Seven year investigation which only ended in 2006. $70 million tax payers money had been spent)

-Travelgate investigation (Began in 1993, Bill Clinton was exonerated in 1998 and in 2000 Independent counsel Robert Ray issued his final report stating that Hillary Clinton had made factual false states but there was insufficient evidence to prosecute her)

-And of course almost everyone in the world today knows of the Monica Lewinsky case and all the other extramarital affairs of Bill Clinton

There is no doubt in the minds of political experts to this day that these scandals contributed to the lost of a Democratic majority in Congress. These investigations did not only taint the presidency, but they also gave a black eye to the Democratic Party. Their members had fought to defend their president at all cost even though they knew he was wrong. The Clinton’s had succeeded in pitting the Democrats against the Republicans. The country became more polarized and Al Gore could not keep the White House at the end of 2001. It was not until 2006 that the Democratic Party regained control of both houses of Congress.

Sixthly, a Clinton presidency will tie the hands of Congress such that big issues facing the nation today like immigration, Iraq war, Global warming, Energy independence and many others will not be resolved in a meaningful way. In other words nothing will be done to benefit the average American and instead more will be done to benefit big corporations. Take for instance, today Democrats in congress particularly in the Senate can barely pick up legislation for debate. Will they be able to do so with a president that more than half of the country say they won't vote for?

Also, another Clinton presidency will be a top the Bush presidency when it comes to secrecy. She is clearly a hawk or I should say a wolf in sheep clothing. She voted for the Iraq war, which should never have been authorized. She has refused to acknowledge that it was a mistake and to acknowledge that it was bad judgment on her path, but since tried to dodge, twist, lie and confuse voters about her position. Lately, she voted for the Iraq resolution which could also be used to attack Iran. More so, she has not release her files from the Clinton library even though it is clear that they have the powers to release those records if they wanted to. She has not make her current tax record or the earmarks (Polk) public like other major candidates have done. So why should voters replace a very secretive government with a more secretive one?

Lastly, another Clinton Presidency will led the situation where for more than 25 years only two families would have run this country. Yes it is true and it is called nepotism, Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton.

Well, to the Clinton surrogates, this is old news. But I urge you to think again. Ask yourself these questions before you go out to vote or before you throw a dime to her campaign again..

1) Is another Clinton Presidency good for the Democratic Party?

2) Is another Clinton Presidency good for the country?

3) Will another Clinton Presidency bring meaningful and real change to your life?

4) Is she really authentic?

5) What has she done as an individual that directly affects your life?

6) Is she part of the status quo, the establishment?

7) Why do big corporations support her campaign more than any other candidate in both parties?

8) Does she govern by polls or by principle?

9) Is it enough just to win an election when you don’t have a majority in Congress?

10) Why does half of the country say they won’t vote for her?

11) Why do the Clintons lie so much?

There are two things wrong with this post. First, second choice voters come from candidates who are not viable in first round voting, meaning they received less than 15% of the vote in their precinct. Seeing as Edwards is in a three-way tie with Obama and Clinton, it is highly unlikely that Edwards will fall down enough that his voters will have to move on to a second choice. Also, you are blurring the differences between the front-runners' health care plans by stating that they all back universal coverage. Only Clinton and Edwards' plans are universal, because they contain a mandate to cover everybody. Since Obama's doesn't, experts have estimated that up to 15 million people could be left without coverage in his plan. Thus, Obama's plan is not universal.

So, Obama's task is to be "dazzling?" His celebrity status has gone to his head.

I am paying $1200 a month for health insurance (not for a family but just for me). I had cancer last year. I want health insurance mandated and I want a president who will fight to make it universal.

Me and my $1200 a month insurance bill are voting for John Edwards! (and by the way, he is plenty dazzling...!)

Mr Blair It Took You The Entire Blog To Write That Crap,That Nonne Cares About In The First,If You Take A Better Look At Your Mr Obama You're Find That He's Not Much Different Than The Status-Quo Himself,And It Did Not Take Me The Entire Blog To Say That Either.You're Just Like Mr Obama,Long Winded Just To Say Nothing,I See Why You're In Love With This Whimp,You're Just As Whimpy As Your Choice.......GET A LIFE

Personally I am glad that Obama and Edwards are fighting it out. The only reason they went after Hillary was that she was the front runner in the campaign. I personally think that she is our only hope to win. Edwards has a totally different campaign that he did years ago when he spoke of 2 Americas, he lost me this time. I like Obama, but I don't think that he has enough experience at this time to win. I liked his speech at the convention for Kerry, but I don't think that enough people will vote for him and that a republican will win. I see him as a vice president and gaining experience and then becoming president and that we will have 16 years in the white house. I like to look at the big picture of what can happen. Besides look what happened when we put in someone without experience. We've had 7 years of misery since then.

I think John Edwards $400 haircuts are pretty dazzling. Senator Obama has more "elected" years in office than either Edwards or Clinton. Edwards is a one term senator who was running for president the last 2 years of his one term. He couldn't even carry North Carolina as the VP candidate nor would he have been re-elected to the senate. Hillary is too phony. Never answers a question and where is her experience? First lady, no, oh wait she says when she's president "again". I don't remember voting for her in 1992 and 1996. Obama will lead this country, not divide it like Hillary will.

The headline on this article was revised because the one I saw today while googling said...Fighter vs. Realist. I sent Ms. Sweet an email telling her that when it comes to insurance & drug companies giving up their power a realist knows you have to be a fighter. You have to take their power because they will not ever give it up willingly. I'm afraid Senator Obama will get rolled by the insurance & drug companies because he's already signaled to them that he is willing to compromise before he even sees them. Round 1 to the insurance & drug companies. Edwards on the other hand has signaled to them that he's no easy mark for them.

Jackie, just what do you think 'mandated' means? YOU are the one who will be 'mandated' to buy your own insurance.

I agree with Barack - the problem is that insurance (health care) isn't affordable. If it's affordable and available, people have an actual choice. Mandating that someone pays 50% of their income on insurance doesn't make sense.

And yes, I've gone through the 'cancer surcharge' too - it's all part of the pooling concept. The whole point of being in a pool is what makes the concept of insurance work. When insurance companies 'cherry-pick' the companies with the youngest, healthiest workers to give them low rates, what do you think happens to older, established companies with older workers? They pay really high rates. Same with people who have had cancer - they often end up in their own pool.

I had a friend who in the middle of her cancer treatments got a letter from her insurance company that they were cancelling all their contracts in Illinois. What recourse did she have? No other insurance company would take her on. At least the State of Illinois had an insurance plan for last-resort cases such as hers, or she wouldn't have had any coverage at all. What good would it have done to 'mandate' she buy insurance? That wasn't the problem.

Obama 'gets it', which is why I support him.

Mr. Captain-Sky,

You have mis-read me, Sir.

The question asked was which is better in the WHITE HOUSE, a fighter or a pragmatist.

My answer was not and is not wrapped around any candidate, Democratic or Republican.

I simply prefer a candidate who will, indeed, fight (that is, be a 'fighter') but in a level-headed and efficient manner (that is, be a 'pragmatist'). The two are NOT exclusive as it seems two candidates would argue.

OR, was your comment to 'John'? I suspect so as I have not been 'Long Winded' since yesterday.

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 17, 2007 9:58 AM.

Sweet: My Iowa photo gallery; Obama's lawyer years was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet column: Obama tackling Edwards. Asks "What did you do?" The Full Hillary. is the next entry in this blog.

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