…Considering how the election turned out, asked a young man describing himself as a former Howard Dean volunteer, what have you learned?
Edwards has heard this question before. In typical Edwards style, he already has a standard answer for it. “The American people want strength, conviction and a core set of beliefs that you will fight for,” replied the former senator, presidential candidate and vice-presidential nominee. Discussing “how to maneuver our way through the political landscape,” he added, is a fool’s errand. “How about if the Democratic Party actually stands for the values the Democratic Party has always stood for?” asked Edwards. “We shouldn’t change what we believe and what we stand for because of one election or even two elections.”
…One nagging question remains: What, exactly, do the Democrats stand for?
…It is also the question John Edwards has taken up more directly than any other potential 2008 presidential candidate. “We stand for work and opportunity,” Edwards said earlier this year. At times he has talked of creating an “opportunity society.” At Harvard he spoke of allowing all Americans “the dignity and honor in hard work.” The precise formula is a work in progress, but Edwards envisions a campaign in which the Democrats do not merely list good policy ideas, but emphasize the moral foundations of social justice, and depict the party’s ideas as representing the essential American values.