Thursday, March 22, 2007

Things have changed

It's been a strange day. I have to imagine that everyone's reaction to the news of Elizabeth Edward's cancer recurrence has everything to do with their own experience with cancer. For me, it brought back the time when I learned my sister had come out of a far too brief remission with leukemia. One of the worst days of my life.

Of all the things I've read today about the Edwards, I like this the best:

The Elizabeth Edwards Campaign (The Nation):
She believes in her husband's run for the 2OO8 nomination -- not merely because the candidate is her husband but because the campaign has embraced so many of her progressive values -- and she has influenced it profoundly.

Always more deeply and specifically critical of the Iraq War, Elizabeth Edwards has played a central role in moving her husband toward a more aggressively anti-war position. In the summer of 2OO5, before John Edwards apologized for his 2OO2 vote to authorize President Bush to take this coountry to war in Iraq, Elizabeth Edwards expressed support for Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a slain soldier who was then emerging as a leading war critic.

At a time when few prominent political figures were willing to step up and tell President Bush to meet with Sheehan and hear her anti-war views, Elizabeth Edwards wrote, "Whether you agree or disagree with every part, or any part, of what Cindy wants to say, you know it is better that the president hear different opinions, particularly from those with such a deep and personal interest in the decisions of our government. Today, another voice would be helpful. Cindy Sheehan can be that voice. She has earned the right to be that voice."

There is no question that John Edwards has become a stronger candidate as he has listened more to the advice of his wife than the consultants who, in 2OO4, prodded him to be too cautious and controlled. As someone who has seen the two of them together, I am convinced that John Edwards now relies on Elizabeth Edwards as his essential adviser.

That's good for him politically, and, frankly, it's good for progressives who want the Democratic presidential contest to feature a top-tier contender who speaks seriously about the need to advance economic and social justice at home and abroad.

Elizabeth epitomizes strength, intelligence and character. Exactly what we need in our next First Lady.

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