As the Democratic presidential contest moves to the distressed industrial Midwest, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have ratcheted up their antitrade, anticorporate rhetoric.
The candidates have made broad attacks on corporate wealth and tax cuts they say tilt toward the rich, along with more specific attacks against health insurers and oil companies, among other industries. On Friday, Mrs. Clinton began airing a TV spot in Wisconsin in which she says, “The oil companies, the drug companies, have had seven years of a president who stands up for them…. It’s time we had a president who stands up for all of you.”
Both candidates increasingly sound like former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards as they pursue his endorsement and the voters — particularly union members — who were drawn to the populist candidate before he dropped out last month. Illinois Sen. Obama got a boost toward that goal Friday with the backing of the Service Employees International Union, one of the most politically powerful labor organizations.
It’s hard to see how embracing this kind of invidious rhetoric and anti-growth policies succeeds in a general election. Who was the last candidate of class warfare who won the presidency? FDR in ’36? Andrew Jackson?
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