The Dartmouth

Monday, January 26, 2004

The Dartmouth Endorses Edwards for President

In a state where talk is curt and blunt, John Edwards' southern drawl takes on an almost foreign tone. He is an outsider in so many senses -- a one-term senator from a Republican state, the son of a mill worker-turned-self-made millionaire and a relentlessly optimistic candidate in a fearsomely negative campaign. But if he seems out of place in the Upper Valley, the same cannot be said of Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas and yes, Florida, where a weak showing in November will almost certainly hand the election to President Bush and result in another four years of miserable failure.

Though the importance of electability is undeniable and its prominence in this election remarkable, John Edwards is more than just a pretty face. To borrow a slogan from John Kerry's campaign, he's the Real Deal. Raised in a small North Carolina mill town, Edwards worked his way through public schools to become the first in his family with a college diploma. After completing law school, he spent 20 years representing the common man in court against the insurance industry, before running a stunning Senate campaign against a popular Republican governor. What a refreshing contrast to Bush and his three fellow Yalie opponents.

John Edwards embodies the American dream and he has a domestic policy agenda to prove it. His College for Everyone program would pay for the first year at any state university or community college and his healthcare program would guarantee coverage to every person under 25. These ideas jibe with the general theme of hope and optimism that Edwards has pushed on the stump. It's a refreshing return to the ideals of a Democratic Party that has in recent years lost its voice and its way.

John Edwards seems to be everybody's second-favorite candidate. But he's our first. Less controversial than Dean, less patrician than Kerry and more polished than Clark, Edwards provides us with a solid standard-bearer to combat the terrifying specter of another Bush presidency. As Michael Moore pointed out last weekend while campaigning for Clark in Collis Commonground, the Democrats need somebody who not only can win the election, but also carry with him the five southern Senate seats being vacated by Democrats in November. John Edwards is that person.

Opponents point to a perceived lack of experience in politics and foreign affairs as a potential liability, but they are wrong on both counts. As Dick Gephardt's less-than-stunning performance in Iowa confirmed, the electorate is not looking for another lifelong politician. As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he brings to the table exponentially more know-how than did the former governor of Texas. He is a quick study, and there is little doubt that he would guide this country away from perpetual code orange.

As you cast your vote tomorrow at Hanover High, think carefully about who you want to send to the White House, but think too of who you want to send to the South and to the Mid-west to take on Bush directly.

We proudly and without reservation endorse Senator John Edwards for President of the United States.

Copyright © 2004, The Dartmouth, Inc.  Reprinted with permission.

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 Editorial Board members:
 Megh Duwadi '05 President
 Kaitlin Bell '05 Executive Editor
 Julie Murray '05 Photography Editor
 David Schnur '05 Associate Editor
 Kate Carolan '05 Features Editor
 Paul Heintz '06 Op-Ed Editor
 Jon Hampton '05 Sports Editor
 Mark Sweeney '05 Sports Editor
 Lindsay Barnes '06 Arts & Entertainment Editor
 David Schnur '05 Online Editor