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September 18, 2007

Hillary and Edwards, Sitting in a Tree...

My latest column is up at Tapped, arguing that John Edwards is to Hillary Clinton's plan as Harris Wofford was to Bill Clinton's plan. Who was Wofford? What does it all mean? Well, read on, dear internet people...

September 18, 2007 | Permalink


The Wofford campaign also made James Carville into a national figure, and there was a great deal of speculation in late 1991 about which Democratic candidate for president would hire him. IIRC, Carville went with Clinton at least in part because Cuomo was taking too long making a decision about running...

Posted by: Chris | Sep 18, 2007 11:28:40 AM

Problem was, Wofford was defeated by Man-on-Dog Santorum in the next election.

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience | Sep 18, 2007 11:32:43 AM

Although John was, in fact, raised a Baptist, I don't think he's playing John the Baptist (or Harris Wofford) in this story. For one thing, he's in it to win it (sorry). For another, you forget that Carville and Begala ran Wofford's campaign and then after that race made them superstars, their next gig was running the Clinton campaign, thus the campaign themes were pretty consistent.

Of course, there was a bit of a disconnect between the well run populist '92 presidential campaign and the politically tone-deaf technocratic White House of the early Clinton years (most notoriously, the "secret health care task force" with reportedly no doctors on it--- I doubt that's true, but that's certainly how it was reported at the time). I leave to the reader to remember who ran that task force.

Since Edwards and his team are running the sort of populist campaign that Carville and Begala ran in 1992, I'd argue that in the 2008 race, Edwards is more like the Bill Clinton of the '92 race than Hillary is.

Perhaps a better analogy is Huey Long and FDR. Long's "Every Man A King" wealth redistribution plan spooked FDR. But for his assassination, its likely Long would have run against Roosevelt. In response, FDR moved left on economic issues, enacting the Wealth Tax Act of 1935 (not actually a wealth tax but rather a more progressive income tax) just a very progressive income tax) and more famously, the Social Security Act.

Posted by: beowulf | Sep 18, 2007 11:42:55 AM

WHY won't any candidate challenge BigPharm's retail pricing markup? Canadian prescriptions are significantly cheaper than American prescriptions, even though many are frequently manufactured in the same place. Why is this tolerated? Why won't any candidate challenge BigPharm?

This markup makes EVERYTHING more expensive--surgical supplies, ER equipment, rubber gloves, oxygen tanks, you name it.

Are the candidates taking money from BigPharm, too? That would explain their silence.

Until the profit-making greedheads are directly challenged, lasting change in the health care system is impossible.

Posted by: DaisyDeadhead | Sep 18, 2007 12:16:13 PM

Excellent column, Ezra! In your post below (Does 1994 Help Clinton or Hurt Her), I comment that given where things are now with the three Dem. candidate plans, they should unify the plans and present a Dem. party plan - in anticipation of GOP opposition, and as a sign of seriousness about major reform.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Sep 18, 2007 12:41:32 PM

"WHY won't any candidate challenge BigPharm's retail pricing markup?"

Senator Clinton won't because they finance her campaign.


This primary inspires a massive amount of cynicism. Progressives need a new party.

Posted by: Father Figure | Sep 18, 2007 1:23:25 PM

This morning's Diane Rehm show was focused on the Hillary plan. The panel had an AEI guy on it doing his best to lob some grenades, it was interesting to hear what the corporate right wing could come up with for an immediate response. Look forward to lots of non-arguments like "every state is different, we can't have federal control!" and "people who get sick in Illinois aren't the same as people who get sick in New York, it's just common sense!" ad nauseum...

Posted by: chowchowchow | Sep 18, 2007 1:56:11 PM

I loved the article, Ezra, and it captured a lot of my thinking yesterday. If Hillary wins and passes this thing, my support of the Edwards campaign will not have been in vain.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Sep 18, 2007 3:07:47 PM

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