Because Democrats incorrectly believe government is part of the solution, not part of the problem¹:
While John Edwards was winding up a tour of America’s most impoverished areas, another Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), came to Anacostia yesterday to stake his own claim as a poverty warrior — and to present a vision for fixing struggling inner cities that directly challenges that of Edwards.
To the Edwards campaign, Obama’s move to address poverty is a sign that Edwards has shifted the debate. “This is another example of Edwards leading on the issues and other candidates following,” campaign spokesman Eric Schultz said.
The Edwards campaign should refrain from patting itself on the back. Every economic populist in this (or any) campaign will wrap himself in this issue. That’s what economic populists do. It’s always a marketing push to the middle rather than an economic push to the top.
¹ Note that this does not mean I’m against a limited public safety net, which is the claim levied against libertarians. There is a difference in believing that government is ineffective at solving the problem and believing that Americans living in poverty “deserve” to be there or should stay there until they can dig themselves out.