Monday, February 05, 2007

Send in the Clowns Part III: John Edwards

The New York Times covers John Edwards:

  • Completely withdraw from Iraq within 12 to 18 months
  • Provide health insurance for all the uninsured
  • Raise taxes for those making more than $200,000

  • There is no military solution to this civil war
  • Instead of increasing the number of troops in Iraq, we should immediately withdraw 40–50,000 troops
  • In order for the Iraqi people to take responsibility for their country, we must show them that we are serious about leaving, and the best way to do that is to actually start leaving
  • Since President Bush took office in 2000, the number of uninsured Americans has increased by 8 million
  • President Bush's proposal offers much more help to a family making $300,000 than one making $30,000
    The President has the authority now to raise fuel economy standards if he wants to, but the standard has been at 27.5 miles per gallon since 1985. Under his leadership, we are now importing 60 percent of our oil, up from 53 percent in 2000

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Nov. 16, 2006 – Just like the millions of Americans who turn to their neighborhood Wal-Mart for their holiday shopping needs, Wal-Mart announced today that former Sen. John Edwards is seeking to be one of the first to get a Sony PlayStation3, one of the most coveted holiday gift items this Christmas season.

Yesterday, a staff person for former Sen. Edwards contacted a Wal-Mart electronics manager in Raleigh, North Carolina to obtain a Sony PlayStation3 on behalf of the Senator's family. Later that night, Sen. Edwards reportedly re-told a homespun story to participants of a United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union-sponsored call about how his son had chided a fellow student for purchasing shoes at Wal-Mart.
Surely you can't mean this John Edwards, who was "on the campaign trail again, this time against Wal-Mart?"
Even the Daily Kos chimes in:

An excerpt:
I admit that Edwards is a much better speaker and more personable than Clinton. However, his recent emphasis on poverty and workers' rights is a bit confounding. As a wealthy trial lawyer, Edwards did not put in a single hour towards pro bono work. Even lawyers of modest means do some pro bono work. And yet, despite his wealth, Edwards did not bother to use his skills towards pro bono work of any kind.

Captain's Quarters Blog also weighs in:

Shifting Blame

It has been amusing to see Democrats in Congress attempt to explain away their votes for the war in Iraq over the past year. Most of them have settled on the excuse that the Bush administration deceived them in October 2002 into authorizing military force based on the exact same intelligence that moved them to declare official American policy of regime change in 1998. The Democrats won a majority in the midterms by stoking Bush Derangement Syndrome, but for 2008 they face a daunting task -- winning elections without using the retiring George Bush as a bogeyman.

John Edwards has found a solution by shifting blame yet again, and in the process exposing the "Bush lied" meme as a hypocritical dodge. In his Sunday appearance on Meet the Press, Edwards attempted to excuse his vote on the AUMF by blaming Clinton administration officials for confirming the intel coming from the Bush administration (via McQ at QandO, emphases mine):

MR. RUSSERT: “ A grave threat to America,” do you still believe that?


MR. RUSSERT: Why were you so wrong?

SEN. EDWARDS: For the same reason a lot of people were wrong. You know,
we—the intelligence information that we got was wrong. I mean, tragically wrong.
On top of that I’d—beyond that, I went back to former Clinton administration
officials who gave me sort of independent information about what they believed
about what was happening with Saddam’s weapon—weapons programs. They were also wrong. And, based on that, I made the wrong judgment. ...

MR. RUSSERT: But it seems as if, as a member of the intelligence
committee, you just got it dead wrong, and that you even ignored some caveats and ignored people who were urging caution.

Read more here.

Edwards clearly has a great deal of skepticism to overcome, on the left and right. Can he withstand the one-two Hilary/Obama punch? Is his youth and relative inexperience as a politician a drawback or an asset? Will he successfully sell his populist man of the disenfranchised?

It's too soon to tell... but he will definitely need more than his looks to get elected.

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