December 29, 2006

Edwards.

He said he would say he was running that then he did. Do I need to post about stuff like this? A news thing happened. Ah, what the hell.
Though Mr. Edwards’s central theme in the 2004 campaign was poverty, that was not the case on Thursday, as he made only a passing reference to the “two Americas,” his slogan two years ago. Instead of choosing to announce from the Lower Ninth Ward, the impoverished neighborhood that has become a symbol for the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, opted for middle-class East New Orleans, and an area of solid, single-story tan-brick homes that are salvageable, unlike the flimsy frame buildings in the Lower Ninth Ward....

He said the next president would “need to re-establish America’s leadership role in the world,” called for quick withdrawal of 40,000 to 50,000 troops from Iraq, and said it “would be a mistake for America to escalate its role in Iraq.”

Roundly denouncing the administration’s approach, he said, “You can’t lead through raw power.”

He expressed regret for his Senate vote to authorize force in Iraq. “My vote was a mistake,” he said. “I should never have voted for the war.”
Why am I so bored with the idea of Edwards running for President? I voted for him in the primary in 2004. Why did I do that? Because I thought he was the remaining candidate with the best shot at winning. I thought he was smart, charming, and articulate enough to make people want to vote for him. As opposed to what we were about to get. And got.

ADDED: Ooh, I'm so bored with Edwards that I forgot to write the ending of the post saying why I'm so bored! I just don't like a guy who serves one term in the Senate and then reveals to the whole world -- by not running for reelection -- that he doesn't want to bother with any other public service than the one biggest plum job on the face of the planet.

35 comments:

Mortimer Brezny said...

In the Democratic primary, I voted for Dean but split my electors between Dean and Edwards.

Then I voted for Bush.

I will not vote for Hillary. But I'll lie about it to get laid.

the pooka said...

Well, it's not like he's been spending his time since 2004 chillin' on a ranch in Texas or anything...

(BTW, as a fellow Mac person, you might find the John Edwards Widget of interest...).

stephenb said...

I just don't like a guy who serves one term in the Senate and then reveals to the whole world -- by not running for reelection -- that he doesn't want to bother with any other public service than the one biggest plum job on the face of the planet.

Me either.

Anonymous said...

I suppose that we all like reluctant heroes, as opposed to the self-promoting types... But what should the ambitious do, then? We can't draft all of our leaders, can we?

Alpha Liberal said...

I'll just take this chance to say I share Ann's views on these one-termers running. Obama's got my eyes rolling. At least Edwards finished his term!

and, I voted in the same primary in the same manner for the same reasons. Go figure.

But, then, again, if they can do the job, why not?

MD said...

So, when I was back in Iowa visiting my parents this summer, I saw signs advertising an Edwards visit to the neighborhood. And my mother, the most apolitical person in the world who couldn't care less about politics or politicians, wanted to go and give him a 'good talking to' because her kids were doctors and they worked so hard and yada yada yada. I talked her out of it, "Mom, come on, he's a presidential candidate, you can't talk to him like he's your kid or something."

I wish I hadn't talked her out of it. The thought of my gentle mother berating a presidential candidate on 'behalf of her kids' is so far beyond even the worst stereotype of the over-interested-in-her-kids-Indian-mother, that it would have been pure comedy gold. Can you imagine? Poor Edwards. He wouldn't have stood a chance.....

Anonymous said...

I often wondered why people like Althouse, or Mickey Kaus almost never write about Republican politicians. Granted most are old, icky and gross generally, I mean look at McCain. What's to get excited about? "Maverick", "Independent Old School Republican, when in reality he is nothing of the kind. And he NEVER gets challenged.

It's because there is virtually no difference between Republicans. Candidates are replaceable parts, carbon copied to fit into the ongoing idealogical machine. You know exactly where they will stand, and even importantly the media knows where they stand, at all times. And that suits the lazy and morally bankrupt media perfectly fine of course.

Anonymous said...

I think most people would commend Edwards for not running for reelection to the Senate and for President or VP at the same time. And its not like Edwards has disengaged from public service since 2004. In fact, it can be argued (and I'm sure this is what Edwards would say) that there are more and better opportunities for public service available to Edwards having left the Senate.

Wasn't your argument against voting for Carter basically that he wasn't ambitious enough? That logic appeals to me more than that a candidate is too driven to the highest office.

LarryK said...

I think what Edwards really revealed by bailing after one Senate term was his knowledge that he wasn't going to be elected to another - it's something I fully expect to see repeated in about five years by Jim Webb.

Anonymous said...

As a Republican, I'm thankful most Democrats weren't as smart as you. I'd like to think that a guy like Edwards couldn't win (very likeable, and that's about all he is), but he was many times a better candidate than Kerry, and Kerry almost won!

Anonymous said...

Hero? John Edwards? John Edwards, the centi-millionaire trial lawyer who never bothered with professional and ethical obligations? John Edwards, the purveyor extraordinaire of junk science and class warfare? John Edwards, the professional politician whose campaign finance coffers were filled to overflowing in 2004 with fraudulent $2,000 contributions from law firm employees making $20,000 per annum?

What a laugh! Only in a nation full of William Lerachs could John Edwards have a remote hope of being considered a hero.

Anonymous said...

Hero? John Edwards? John Edwards, the centi-millionaire trial lawyer who never bothered with professional and ethical obligations? John Edwards, the purveyor extraordinaire of junk science and class warfare? John Edwards, the professional politician whose campaign finance coffers were filled to overflowing in 2004 with fraudulent $2,000 contributions from law firm employees making $20,000 per annum?

What a laugh! Only in a nation full of William Lerachs could John Edwards have a remote hope of being considered a hero.

Anonymous said...

I just don't like a guy who serves one term in the Senate and then reveals to the whole world -- by not running for reelection -- that he doesn't want to bother with any other public service than the one biggest plum job on the face of the planet.

Which senate seat did you want him to run for and when?

The 2002/2008 seat held by Dole?
Or his 1998/2004/2010 seat now held by Burr?

Are you saying you wanted him to run for President and also run for Senator all at the same time? Or that he should run for Vice President and Senator all at the same time?

Or are you saying he should skip the 2008 Presidential race and run for Senator in 2008 and in 2010.

Would you do that?

Freder Frederson said...

It's hilarious that you are belittling John Edwards, and Obama before him, for their dearth of experience. George W. Bush was halfway through his second term as Governor of Texas--a weak Governor state at that--his first and only elected office, when he was elected president. Now, one term in the Senate (or four years plus state legislative experience) isn't good enough?

Kyle said...

At least he didn't go find a farm and mind his business, like some kind of small man or something.

sonicfrog said...

What I think is interesting about Edward is not the man himself, but the people who are latching on to his candidacy and functioning as his campaign cheerleaders. I drive around a lot which affords me the luxury of channel surfing the radio. I sometimes listen to Air America to get a glimpse of the left perspective. The far left contingent (Randi Rhoads, Rachiel Maddows *sp*) are enamored with him, and have been talking up his candidacy for months. What I don't get is why, to them, Edwards is so much better a candidate than Obama. Edwards is young-ish, but Obama is the genuine article. They are both one term senators, but unlike Edwards, who wasn't polling well in his district and didn't seek a second term, and lost big in his party's presidential primaries, Obama is a politician on the rise who seems poised to be a multi-term senator if he chooses. Though his national political career is short, Edwards, through his attachment to Kerry, already comes off as part of the establishment, while Obama is indeed a fresh face. Though they both hold law degrees, unlike Edwards, Obama doesn't champion himself as a lawyer. You know the old saying - everyone hates lawyers... until they need one! My question is this: How is Edwards going to make the case that we need one as President?

PS. Though it has much lower ratings, and they often come off as complete loons, I find Pacifica Radio broadcasts to be much more interesting and compelling radio fare than most of the Air Americas lineup, which comes across as nothing but bitter partisans who copy and employ the worst techniques commonly used by Rush to envoke emotional responses.

Joe Baby said...

Edwards about as qualified as Heidi Klum, and for the same reasons.

Anonymous said...

Has there been a change made to your commenting policy? I think I made a quite reasonable comment about Edwards and I am surprised that it seems to have been moderated out.

Mike said...

I find the populace rhetoric coming from a wealthly personal injury lawyer to be both amusing and offensive. When he gives it all away, I'll start to take him seriously.

The partisan moderate said...

John Edwards, has never bothered to explain considering the great failure of "the Great Society" to eradicate poverty or even alleviate poverty, how his programs will be successful. Furthemore, for a man who constantly talks about two Americas it is clear to which one he belongs: see his three million dollar home.

Anonymous said...

John Edwards may be a centi-millionaire who hoardes his new-found riches but John Edwards was once one of us,a man of the people.

As a man of the people, John Edwards stands at the forefront of class warfare as he harps on his theme of "Two Americas," with rhetoric matching his own personal version of reality, that of fifty years ago.

As a man of the people, John Edwards has been a tremendous advocate for junk science (making his fortune in the process).

As a man of the people, John Edwards has been a remarkable advocate for assisting the poor, as long as someone else, not he, dirties their hands, as his record of complete failure to meet his professional ethical responsibilities while a practicing attorney demonstrates.

As a man of the people, John Edwards had his campaign coffers filled to overflowing with fraudulent $2,000 contributions from first-time and never-since political donors (and law office employees) earning $20,000 gross per annum.

Yep! John Edwards is a real man of the people! In a nation of William Lerachs, perhaps.

BoneUSA said...

Edwards' perpetual candidacy falls right into Ann's point the other day about Gerald Ford and her respect (which I share) for the fact that he never sought out the presidency. Edwards is the polar opposite. He had less than one term of public service by the time he ran for president (not, in any meaningful sense, much more experience than Obama will have had by 2008 -- which is why the Edwards' boosters' criticism of Obama for lack of experience is so groundless, and I'm no Obama fan).

The tiger has a point about ambition. But in my view the problem with Edwards is that he didn't even pay lip service to the notion of being a reluctant hero. He doesn't see it as a virtue. With those pols who at least pretend to be reluctant as they ruthlessly climb the political ladder, I presume there's a recognition that perhaps there's something unseemly, or just plain wrong, about naked ambition to be the No. 1 honcho. So they claim that they are being called into the profession of politics and so on. Edwards just jumped from ambulance chasing to a few years of sunday morning talk shows from D.C. to a run for it all, in the most transparent manner possible.

Bruce Hayden said...

I agree with Mike about a rich trial lawyers trying to pretend like they represent the downtrodden. If he wants to be taken seriously, he should give away his ill gotten gains first.

It still comes down to a question of why someone whose primary claim to fame was making millions of dollars driving ob/gyns out of business for allowing women to have non c-section deliveries should be qualified to be president.

Anonymous said...

Ann,

I too made a comment earlier this morning and it has to appear. Go ahead and delete this one, I'm just wondering if that was a mistake, or if you really meant to moderate that comment?

Bruce Hayden said...

reality check

Ann now has comment moderation turned on. Up until fairly recently, the blog was unmoderated. Instead, she had to delete posts of miscreants.

I am not suprised at the change - things had been getting progressively more heated over the last month or so, with our esteemed blogging diva having to delete ever more comments.

Ann - Sorry if this is off topic. I may have missed you explaining this change. If so, sorry about the repeat.

Anonymous said...

I just don't like a guy who serves one term in the Senate and then reveals to the whole world -- by not running for reelection -- that he doesn't want to bother with any other public service than the one biggest plum job on the face of the planet.

Yes, I've struggled to put into words my distaste for him, but this sums it up.

Of course, I'd vote for Heidi Klum, even though she has less time as a Senator than Edwards.

Anonymous said...

I just don't like a guy who serves one term in the Senate and then reveals to the whole world -- by not running for reelection -- that he doesn't want to bother with any other public service than the one biggest plum job on the face of the planet.

Yes, I've struggled to put into words my distaste for him, but this sums it up.

Of course, I'd vote for Heidi Klum, even though she has less time as a Senator than Edwards.

Anonymous said...

considering the great failure of "the Great Society" to eradicate poverty or even alleviate poverty,

Huh? Come again? Do you really believe that? I know it is not particularly p.c. to admit it these days, but are you seriously arguing that the Medicare Act (7/31/64) and the Food Stamp Act (8/31/64) did not alleviate poverty then do not do so now?

NB: As poverty is usually defined as the lowest 10% of earnings (or lacking them) or somthing similar, it will always be impossible to eradicate it. There will presumably always be a lower 10%.

Steven said...

As poverty is usually defined as the lowest 10% of earnings (or lacking them) or somthing similar, it will always be impossible to eradicate it

Er, no, it isn't, at least not in official statistics in the U.S. (other countries use other measures). The U.S. does not use a relative poverty standard, but an absolute one -- a fixed, inflation-adjusted income level, established in 1969 using 1963 data. The poverty rate is the percentage of the population below this fixed bar.

Now, it will be noted that the poverty rate is based entirely based on pre-tax, pre-expenses, cash income. So Medicare and food stamps can make the poor better-off without reducing statistical poverty. But, that said, let's look at the history.

Back-tracing that official poverty level historically with census data, the U.S. from the beginning of the 20th Century to the mid-Sixties averaged a one percentage point decline in the poverty rate per year, from ~80% to ~15%. (There were some normal fluctuations, and there was a spike-and-high during the Great Depression that was erased in the 1940s, but overall it was a reasonably consistent decline of one percentage point a year.) From the introduction of the War on Poverty until Clinton's welfare reforms, however, the poverty rate fluctuated like a sine wave around a ~10% average. Since then it has on average declined slightly.

What can account for this? Well, Daniel Patrick Moynihan predicted it back before the War on Poverty was declared -- AFDC's "man out of the house" rule discouraged marriage, while the income-based eligibility rules for poverty programs discouraged working. We subsidized single-mother households and underemployment, and like any subsidy, we got more of what we subsidized.

In 1997 we killed AFDC in favor of TANF, which only provides temporary benefits and includes work rules. The result is, as expected by most economists, that poverty has declined, as the subsidies for non-work were reduced.

Steven said...

On Edwards:

First, governor of any state is a hell of a lot more relevant to being President than service in the Senate. A Senator is just one of a hundred guys; there is not the decision pressure, there are no major administrative difficulties, and you can outsource your vote to the party line or internal polling on any policy question that's not what you want to concentrate on.

As far as "which senate seat did you want him to run for and when?", who says he had to run for Senate? He couldn't have run for the 2006 House? Or served as president of a nonprofit? Since 2004, the only jobs Edwards has done were a part-time faculty position as director of a new "Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity" at UNC, and a senior advisor position at Fortress Investment Group.

Oh, and he's made some speeches, spending his time unofficially running for President.

John Edwards was a lawyer. Then his son, whom he wanted to join him in his law practice, died. Denied that chance of immortality, he decided he wanted to be President. He ran for the Senate to get the position necessary to be taken seriously, and immediately dedicated the whole of his time in the Senate to running for President. He lost, and has spent the whole of the time since then doing nothing but continuing to campaign to become President.

I don't want a guy who wants to be President just because he can't think of anything else worthwhile to do with his time now that he can't give a law firm to his son.

WisJoe said...

This place is a hoot. Edwards is an admirable man. Somebody here seems to be an amateur psychiatrist who thinks Edwards' thwarted goal of giving his PI firm to his son has obliged him to run perpetually (2 times? (Reagan?)) for the presidency. Can't his other children inherent his firm if they are interested?

Also,apparently, because he was a Senator only (!) (has anyone here ever even attempted to attain a statewide office?? It is a breeze you know) -- that renders him unqualified. I'm sure that if he had attempted to retain his Senate seat or run for the House, he'd be criticized for that as well.

Maybe we should amend the constitution so that "trial lawyers" should be required to give away their income (what a Republican ideal?!!?)before they are eligible for the presidency. Insurance defense attorneys are also "trial lawyers." Is there any reciprocal requirement for the Ins. defense bar?

I do both PI and insurance defense, which is really not that uncommon. Both sides work hard and are necessary to our civil justice system. What is the alternative - a victim of a tort has no recourse?

This place just gets more bizarre each time I return.

Anonymous said...

Steven:

The U.S. does not use a relative poverty standard, but an absolute one -- a fixed, inflation-adjusted income level, established in 1969 using 1963 data.


That's good.

the poverty rate is based entirely based on pre-tax, pre-expenses, cash income. So Medicare and food stamps can make the poor better-off without reducing statistical poverty.

That is NOT, IMO. This renders the numbers virtually meaningless and allows people (like John Edwards) to pretend that the poor in this country are far worse off than they are. I've seen genuine, unrelenting, soul-destroying poverty up close and personal over long periods of time. We don't have that here any more.

At the same time, one of my best friends has been disabled for 20 years and is completely reliant on the public system. In any survey of poverty, he surely ranks at the very bottom, as he receives the absolute minimum state supplemental income payment. As you know, his food stamps, rent assistance, utility assistance (reduced rates), and Medicaid are not accounted for in these calculations.

The rent assistance alone is worth $6,000 per year. The utility assistance is worth about $1000 per year, Food stamps about $2000. How to place a value on free Medicaid? Premiums for an individual major med plan would run well over $5000 per year. The drugs alone cost $15000 per year, would probably not be covered by any individual plan, and even if they were require co-payments of at least $2400 per year.

So here's this guy, desperately poor a/c government statistics, with real government benefits of $9,000 tax-free not counted. And covered medical costs in excess of $20,000 tax-free not counted. Add in 15% just for FICA and we're beginning to get into some serious money. Now what would a single taxpayer who nets about $40,000 per year have to gross given federal, state income taxes and FICA. $55,000? Ok, lets leave out the medical. (He'll die if we do, and quite quickly, but...) That's still about $18,000 tax-free at minimum.
No, it won't make anyone rich, and he can't afford cable tv, air conditioning, or dining at Morton's. But he also did not die when he should have, about 15 years ago. He brightens up a lot of lives despite his problems.

People like John Edwards want me to believe that because he is poor, he lives a wretched, miserable existence. It is simply not true. (And his is NOT some special case. His is, in fact, always the absolute minimum the state will do.)

You know, the fact remains that people WERE malnourished and starvation was real possibility in places such as Appalachia into 1960's. (Contrary to what some people who never saw it first-hand like to believe, that's not some liberal fantasy.) That is not true today (unless, in the case of malnourishment, as a result of poor decision-making not lack of access to nourishment itself).

People were DYING because they had little or no access to medical care. Again, that wasn't a fantasy.

Some of the Great Society legislation was flawed, as you point out. The sad thing is how many intelligent people have fallen into the trap of believing all of it was. Or that it accomplished nothing.

Steven said...

Just because a man can do quantum physics doesn't mean he can successfully argue a case before the Supreme Court. Likewise, just because a man is an excellent lawyer, or can get elected (once) to statewide office, doesn't mean he can be an effective President.

John Edwards has no experience in administering a large, ongoing organization. The Presidency is the biggest administrative job in the United States. Call me crazy, but I'd like to see Mr. Edwards actually run something large before he's put in charge of a whole country. A government agency, a good-sized business, a large charity, a union, a college, an army division -- whatever.

Short of that, I'd be much more impressed if he'd spent the last two years doing something other than campaigning for President by running around and making speeches.

It doesn't mean he won't do a good job as President, but his actions are hardly confidence-building.

As far as the son thing, I'm putting very minor english on the man's own statements about what prompted his leaving the law to run for Senate. (Note that he didn't have any other kids at the time he left the law to enter politics.) I mean, look, tragedy can certainly certainly shock one into getting a new perspective on life, but suddenly deciding in your mid-40s to pursue the Presidency is weird.

Anonymous said...

...that he doesn't want to bother with any other public service than the one biggest plum job on the face of the planet.

I, too, am bored with Edwards, and find his political experience wanting.

I disagree, however, with the characterization of the Presidency of the United States as a "plum job."

I see it as a soul-killing nightmare, a piece of Karmic comeuppance for any number of grotesque failings.

Recent Presidents have tended to be twisted (Richard Nixon), fools (George Bush), self-righteous egomaniacs (Jimmy Carter), shallow blowhards (Ronald Reagan, with the caveat that he was a talented shallow blowhard with good handlers), murderous (LBJ), or thrill-seeking Don Juans (JFK, Bill Clinton).

Each, of course, exhibited than one of these unpleasant traits, but it seems that the Presidency is a stage on which one's bad actions are amplified and broadcast for the world to see. And not only to see, but to experience in the form of terrible government policies, stupid wars, economic disasters, dead bodies, and ruined lives.

Why would any sane person seek to be pinned to this particular wheel?

The only post-WWII Presidents to emerge from office as human beings with their souls, bodies, and reputations more-or-less intact were Harry Truman, Eisenhower, and Bush 41. In each case, these were mature, realistic, experienced, stable men who clearly saw the job as a sacrifice. Eisenhower, in particular, demonstrated the right attitude about the Presidency when he said, "I'll do this damned job if it kills me."

So, the blow-dried millionaire Edwards, after a lifetime of service to the United States, is willing to express his devotion by giving his remaining best years to selfless struggle on behalf of his fellow citizens?

Sorry, that was Eisenhower. Edwards' motivations are certain to be of a different nature.

All this is why I am slowly developing a better feeling about a Parliamentary system for this country. Constitutional Convention, anyone?

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