Increasingly the Iowa race, on the Democratic side is about the competition between Barack Obama and John Edwards. Not just for which of them might be able to come in first, but which of them might be able to place second, knocking the other, or possibly Senator Clinton, into third and, possibly, out of the race.
The main divide between the two — at least as they present it to the voters — is on which one of them has more fight in them. Edwards calls Obama “too nice” to be president. Obama responds with “I don’t need any lectures on how to bring about change, because I haven’t just talked about it on the campaign trail. I’ve fought for change all my life.”
And so on.
But everything you really need to know about the differences between the two is captured in responses each sent to my five year old daughter, Josie, who wrote letters to all the Democratic presidential candidates asking why democracy is a better form of government than monarchy.
The background on this is that my daughter is going through a serious princess phase leading to endless arguments between us on the relative virtues of republican and democratic versus monarchical forms of government. I have yet to win. And if Mary Queen of Scots, her current obsession, picks up a few delegates in Iowa City Four, don’t be too surprised. . .
Anyway, the Edwards approach is simple and direct and unequivocal: “I believe that democracy. . .is the best system. We, the people, get to have a voice in the decisions” that shape our nation. “I also believe that we cannot take our democracy for granted. We need Americans to actively participate.”
Obama, a bit more nuanced and engaging and inclusive: “Naturally, as an American, I believe democracy is the best. But what you might not know is that this doesn’t have to be an “either-or” question. As it turns out, many of our best friends have BOTH democracy AND monarchy! . . .I encourage you to do more research about different forms of government at school. . .I hope you find this topic as fascinating as
With only a day left, we are still waiting to hear back from Hillary.
— Michael Schiffer
Michael Schiffer is The Washington Note’s blogger for the Iowa Caucuses and is a resident of Iowa. He is a program officer in Policy Analysis and Dialogue at the Stanley Foundation based in Muscatine, Iowa — and was previously senior national security adviser and legislative director in the Office of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)