Edwards and Obama on Poverty

Check out Ed Kilgore's post on the contrasting approaches to fighting poverty that Barack Obama and John Edwards have outlined in recent days, "with the former arguing that some poor and isolated urban neighborhoods need to be broken up, and the latter arguing that they can be revitalized." Ed connects this to a long-running debate in anti-poverty circles going at least as far back as the 1968 primary where RFK had a more Obama-ish view and Edwards a more McCarthy-ish one.

More broadly, this seems to reflect the difference between a community organizing background and a more detached, "let's have some smart people study the problem" way of having approached the issue. In practice, though, this seems like the sort of subject where either candidate would wind up with a variety of different people working for them and end up espousing a mixed approach. What's more, it's not the 1960s and one assumes that any anti-poverty initiative will wind up heavily shaped by the views of influential members of congress who represent poor districts.

CORRECTION: I worded this backwards. It's Obama who wants intensive re-investment in poor communities and Edwards who wants to give poor individuals opportunities to move into other areas.

Photo by Flickr user Ellie van Houtte used under a Creative Commons license