What if:

– Politics were really about the needs of all Americans and not just the ones who could afford to write out the big checks?  The Edwards ad at the right hits home with me — in part because the fellow in the ad reminds me so much of so many people I know here in WV who need someone to speak for them in the halls of power.  See what you think.

– The press listened more to Arthur Schlesinger (via Atrios):

Arthur Schlesinger, in his biography of Kennedy, quotes Richard Harwood of The Washington Post:

“We discovered in 1968 this deep, almost mystical bond that existed between Robert Kennedy and the Other America. It was a disquieting experience for reporters. … We were forced to recognize in Watts and Gary and Chimney Rock that the real stake in the American political process involves not the fate of speechwriters and fund-raisers, but the lives of millions of people seeking hope out of despair.”  (emphasis mine)

– Political reporters stopped worrying so much about the horse race aspect and focused, instead, on how seriously the American public are taking their political decision-making process this time around?  On the fact that Iowa is only the first in a long series of primaries and that Americans benefit from a discussion of the issues — not some sort of quick coronation?  Stop rushing us — selecting a president is important, and if you learned anything the last few years it ought to have been that picking the wrong person is bad for the nation.

– Barack Obama stopped parrotting GOP memes?  Here’s the truth:  yes, there are some plaintiffs’ lawyers who bring stupid ass cases, but there are also defense firms who defend claims that ought to settle – solely because their corporate clients fail to see reason or ethical obligation when they have wronged someone.  There is not one side with clean hands — take it from someone who has both sued on behalf of clients and defended clients against suits.  It sucks when you get sued, absolutely, but it also stinks when you are injured and your insurance company, as one example, to whom you paid premiums for years, tries to find every loophole in the world to avoid paying your claim.  It is far from a one-trick pony show in terms of bad faith. 

And in case Mr. Obama, who is Harvard law school trained himself, hasn’t noticed — state bars nationwide have mechanisms in place to file complaints against poor lawyering, and both state and federal courts have mechanisms in place for Rule 11 sanctions from the court for bringing or prosecuting actions in bad faith.  And no lawyer on either side of a civil case is forced to represent a client — they just aren’t.   So stop the soundbite scapegoating, beyond being factually inaccurate, it’s also conduct unbecoming a lawyer who sure as hell ought to know better than to feed inaccurate stereotypes to the public to score short-term political points.

Happy New Year, everyone!