A strong speech by John Kerry this morning, although also one whose sometimes somewhat stilted delivery provided a good reminder of one of the great benefits of having John Edwards on the ticket. Kerry hit the right marks:

John Edwards and I are going to work together to build one America for all Americans.

We need a President whose working as hard to keep Americans’ jobs as he is to keep his own.

I have worked with John Edwards side by side and sometimes head to head…I know his skill, I know his passion, I know his strength, I know his conscience. I know his faith.

And he quoted Langston Hughes’ tremendous “Let America Be America Again.”

And the crowd loved all of it.

The talking heads are already making hay of Edwards’ supposed inexperience. I’d say Edwards brings exactly the experience George Bush (and arguably John Kerry) lacks: Experiencing the hardship of poverty and personal tragedy, building a career and securing economic security for himself and his family, and working to secure justice for other working people wronged by powerful interests (that, and he was on the Senate Intelligence Committee). That’s not to say that the policies Edwards (or Kerry) advocates to bridge the two Americas are as radical as the ones that I and friends of mine with personal experience as members of the American underclass would like to see. But it is worth noting that between them, Kerry and Edwards bring to bear the experience of facing poverty at home and of facing war abroad, of a lifetime of public service and of building a tremendously successful career on one’s own while serving others – and that George Bush has none of the above experiences. He came to Washington with neither the independence of an outsider nor the experience of an insider. When he ran, he’d experienced neither the ravages of war nor the ravages of poverty – and he still hasn’t. Only this time around he can run on the experience of presiding over a three-and-a-half-year trainwreck for our jobs, our economy, our healthcare, our social security, our homeland security, our international leadership, and our civil liberties and civil rights. I’d likely support a ticket running against that record from the left (even if from not far enough to the left) from whatever personal experience. But if Ken Mehlman and Karl Rove want to make an issue of experience, bring it on.

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