The first lesson of Edwards’ announcement this morning is this: If you are going to wear a wireless microphone so you can appear before the press without the artifice of a podium, you should make sure your staff puts new batteries in the transmitter, so your audio signal will not deteriorate as it runs out of juice, or as it encounters interference from the zillions of other wireless devices at the news conference. Better yet, use a wire.
The second lesson is more substantive. Watching the event on television, it appeared that the backdrop crowd Edwards assembled was almost entirely black — not a big surprise in that part of New Orleans. Now, Edwards “Two Americas” refers to the division between rich and poor, or at least between poor and everybody else. But the visuals suggested that he views that pretty much as a black and white issue. Why not use the media event to suggest that the Two Americas goes beyond racial divisions? Hurricane Katrina hurt a lot of people without respect to race — just look at the damage it did in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, which is 88 percent white, and Harrison County, Mississippi, which is 73 percent white, and Hancock County, Mississippi, which is 90 percent white. If you’re going to have a Katrina-themed media event in New Orleans, why not bring in representatives of all the people who were hurt by the storm and who suffered from the local/state/federal government’s initial mishandling of it? That would look a lot more like the Gulf Coast, and, just coincidentally, it would look a lot more like the Democratic electorate Edwards hopes to attract.