Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Gee, thanks for all the comments, and to Instapundit for the shout out. Just responding to a few of the commenters:

It's not, in my opinion, a question of tailoring your ideology to whatever will get you elected, so much as it is choosing the candidate whose ideology connects with the maximum number of voters. The two concepts are radically different. Also, it's not just ideology anymore; it's also electability, i.e., that certain something that causes a voter to want to vote for a particular candidate. Bill Clinton had that quality; Hillary does not. I still don't believe Obama has it, at least enough to both win a nomination and a general election.

I apparently misspoke when I said that McGovern won his home state -- it was Massachusetts. My point is even more strongly made, though. McGovern stood for deeply felt left wing ideology in favor of withdrawal from Vietnam under any circumstances. As a result, he didn't even carry his home state. It was one of the most lopsided victories in recent memory.

I agree that Edwards is being ignored to a certain extent. Whether he is OK with being under the radar screen, only his campaign can say for sure. I just think that, whether its deliberate or a by-product of the MSM hysteria over Hillary v. Obama, it's smart for him to lay low. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

Whether Edwards is more vulnerable to attack than Hillary is highly debatable. Of all the candidates in the field, he's got that certain something I alluded to earlier. People LIKE him, just like they LIKED Bill Clinton. That could carry him very far. He's also the most "populist" of the candidates, which bodes well in a general election campaign, should he get the nomination.

Whether this race is "fun" is in the eye of the beholder. Some people like to watch train wrecks, too.

Dudley Smith is right that Edwards is just as subject to "inexperience" criticism as the other candidates, except maybe Richardson. It's mostly a wash; the only ones who have presidential experience are, uh, ex-presidents. Perhaps being a governor helps in the public mind, inasmuch as the past two presidents were state governors. I disagree that Edwards is a Jimmy Carter clone, for no other reason than I just don't see it.

As to charges that Edwards is an unserious "huckster," again, I just don't see it that way. He's smart, educated, and his positions on the issues are mostly where I like them. He made a successful career helping those who needed help against the unlimited resources of Big Insurance. I love those perople who deride trial lawyers; they're always the ones who run to lawyers when they need 'em. By the way, what makes a candidate a huckster, anyway? Is ANY candidate exempt from such a characterization?

Hillary/Obama on the ticket? Matching primary adversaries is certainly not new, but if that happens, then the Republicans will take the general in a 1972-like landslide. For any Democratic strategists out there, that ticket is the fervent dream of any die-hard Republican out there. For God's sake, don't give them what they want.

As to Bill Clinton not being the focus of right wing hatred, I disagree strongly. For years, I would see bumper stickers around town that said, "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Bush." The right wing-funded litigation was going after Bill, not Hillary. Ken Starr persecuted [literally] Bill, not Hillary. And, the Republican Congress impeached and tried the President -- not the First Lady -- for no other reason than he was unfaithful to his wife, and in the face of a 65% approval rating. No, they were after Bill, because they just couldn't bear to have been beaten by a Democrat. Especially a Democrat that they had targeted, on which they had attempted political homicide, and who just wouldn't go away when a lesser man would have quit. Clinton's perserverence, and the continuing efforts by the Right to downplay his two Administrations, simply reinforce my theory that the Republicans will do anything -- anything -- to win.

And finally, the Catholics and Jews issues are red herrings. He didn't piss the Catholics off, a blogger associated with the campaign irked a virulently pro-Catholic pundit. Edwards was reported in a Peter Bart op-ed in Variety [that bastion of journalistic accuracy] to have said that "Perhaps the greatest short-term threat to world peace. . .was the possibility that Israel would bomb Iran's nuclear facilities." I disagree with that assessment [that's not the greatest short-term threat to world peace, whatever "world peace" is], but it's not an anit-Israel comment, and it's not an anti-semitic remark, either. Assuming he even said it.


Anonymous said...'re right, and no-one would ever call Edwards a racist if he hired David Duke to blog for him...

Anonymous said...

"He didn't piss the Catholics off, a blogger associated with the campaign irked a virulently pro-Catholic pundit."

Actually yes. He did 'piss some Catholics off'. But thanks for answering otherwise on behalf of myself and 25% of the nation's population. True statement: He didn't piss off all Catholics. Another true statement: He did piss off a Catholic pundit. Here's a guess: You probably don't like that pundit. Here's another: Your dislike of this pundit and your preference toward Edwards were biases that affected what you wrote. Identifying your biases would be helpful for people who would otherwise take your writing at face value. YOu might also want to avoid speaking on behalf of a major segment of the population unless you're able to back it up. Hint: Asking three Catholics within earshot of you isn't a representative sample.

Anonymous said...

By the way, what makes a candidate a huckster, anyway?

In the case of Edwards, I would guess that suing obstetricians for cerebral palsy cases and blaming them for the presence of a disease over which they had no control would be one data point in favor of labeling him a "huckster".

Summations to juries in which he invoked imagined pleas of the unborn child to please get me out of the womb and save me (or words to that effect), whilst holding that this same population does not deserve the constitutional protection of a right to life (but are alive enough to help the parents win the medical lottery) would be another.

I am sure there are more, but that's plenty for me.

Parker Smith said...

I don't much like Edwards - but then I know a bit more about his record than you seem to.

Supporting the little guy - yeah, right. If the little guy is John Edwards.

Anonymous said...

Just passing through. I'm neither right wing or a liberal but from the comments I read here I come away with the impression politcal blogging might not be your forte.

Sorry, didn't mean to make it a personal attack. I just read your comments and the comments of a few posters and the poster comments seemed better informed.

Anonymous said...


Full disclosure: I'm fairly conservative.

That said, what you wrote isn't a bad defense of Edwards. He is likeable. His views fairly represent those of his party. He's lost in Obama's shadow, for now, but as you mentioned there's a long way to go. He'll at least get a listen from people outside the party, which is no mean feat.

But two things:

1. What about all the stuff I read about Democrat insiders simply not liking the guy? I never hear of the reasoning behind this, beyond allusions that there's less than meets the eye. Is this true? Is it Kerry spillover? And - of course - does it matter? It might!

2. You're underrating the blogger problem. If he'd had fired that fool right away, he would've defused the Catholic problem while creating a blogger problem - a scenario which would've been the best of all the bad ones he created by hiring her in the first place.

Now he's got problems with both groups, with nothing positive to balance the equation, like new support among people who dislike Catholics and lefty bloggers.

In any event, what you wrote was interesting. Thanks.


Brian Moore
Covington, LA

Anonymous said...

John Edwards still took a senate paycheck will out campagining for President even though its against the law.
He did not inform the people of South Carolina that he would spend the last two years of his term running for President instead of representing them in the Senate.
On his Senate financial he stated he was worth between 12 and thirty or sixty million dollars.
Sum it up, the guy is a sleazebag who thinks he is smart and everyone else is just a dumb rube waiting to be taken.
Is that who you wish to emulate Weistein? Is that stain your hero?

Anonymous said...

Bill Clinton was not "persecuted" by Starr, he was "prosecuted".

The origins are as follows: Democrats over the decades have agitated for "sexual harassment" laws. They elected politicians who legislated such and appointed judges who validated the same. The liberals then brought countless sexual harassment lawsuits as plaintiffs, waged by lefty lawyers, that obtained large awards from liberal dominated juries. This is a product of feminism and its victimhood anti-capitalist agenda. Also know as what Hillary Clinton "believes" or a standard Democratic Party plank.

Paula Jones brought such a suit. Clinton's AG, Janet Reno, turned the investigation over to Starr. The Supreme Court, filled with lefty judges, rulled that a sitting POTUS could be tried in a civil case. Bill Clinton, rather than resisting an unconstitutional intrusion upon the executive branch went with his personality flaw that needed to be loved by everybody while lying to them to get away with his need to be a bad boy. Consequently he commited perjury and subborned perjury from a witness whose testimeony was relevant. It was proved that Clinton was a liar and had subborned perjury in part b/c of the DNA match on the stained blue dress.

In short, he engaged in scandalous behavior that would have raised the hackles of any ideologically consistent or honest feminist or liberal if a Republican had done it. (Trust me, no liberal would have sympathy for me if I said I didn't bone my employee when they found out I'd lied to them about boning another employee.) In additon, his reckless conduct called into question his capacity to govern.

Since Clinton was the chief executive, ie national head of law enforcement, his assault on the integrity of our legal system demanded an impeachment trial at the very least. He only has himself to blame. Just as his apologists should be ashamed. Remember HRC and her "vast right wing conspiracy"!

PS As a Catholic I found Edwards employ of the virulent anti -catholic and loony left bloggers to be a disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Edwards seems to have a very outdated theme. He seems to largely focus on his populist class resentment stuff, conjuring a myth of an impoverished America that is laughable to anyone who looks at the numbers, and just plain unappealing to most voters. He is singing a very old and factually preposterous song. I wonder whether even most Dems will buy it.

Anonymous said...

Some other commenters have already noted Edwards' taking money from OBGYNs for CP. That drove up health care costs for everyone, made OBGYNs more likely to perform unnecessary c-sections, and made it harder for rural women to even find a doctor. They didn't point out that on top of all of that, Edwards filed as an S-corp so he didn't pay medicare taxes on his $25M windfall - saving himself about $750K and costing the medicare fund an equal amount. Then he has the audacity to campaign as a populist who wants to make healthcare available to everyone, and make the rich pay their fair share of taxes. What a joke!

Anonymous said...

"No, they were after Bill, because they just couldn't bear to have been beaten by a Democrat. Especially a Democrat that they had targeted, on which they had attempted political homicide, and who just wouldn't go away when a lesser man would have quit. Clinton's perseverance, and the continuing efforts by the Right to downplay his two Administrations, simply reinforce my theory that the Republicans will do anything -- anything -- to win."

As a Republican, I feel a little strange correcting your perception here, but I've never figured out why the only people in your party that have ever managed to work up any righteous anger over Clinton's conduct are Hillary and Al Gore. The fact is, that had Bill been a "lesser man" and resigned he would have vastly strengthened Gore's candidacy by granting him the prestige accorded a sitting president. Hell, I actually kind of liked Gore before he started to try on different identities every month (Alpha Male Al, Left-Wing Al, Environmental Al) for the 2000 campaign. Your party did get screwed, but you got screwed by Bill Clinton, not by the Republicans.

Unknown said...

Hey, hey hey!

Edwards was elected to serve in NORTH Carolina.

Don't try to push him off on us SOUTH Carolinians, we have enough problems...Like trying to recruit OBGYN doctors who can afford the malpractice premiums jacked up by greedy trial lawyers...

BarrySanders20 said...

Edwards has a skill set that enables him to persuade small groups of people under tightly controlled rules to award money to his victim/client. The people he persuades are selected precisely because they know nothing about the issue they are being asked to judge. He uses hos considerable charisma, and the rules, to his advantage, making everything into a morality play, and appealing to sympathy and emotion. This is whahat makes him a huckster. He is very good at it in a courtroom, but this does not translate into a political force.

Edwards is an empty suit when it comes to anything that matters. He did nothing is 6 years in the Senate to distinguish himself. He has very little leadership appeal, which is probably the most important characteristic for someone seeking the presidency. Edwards is not the guy I think of when asked who I want in charge when a real crisis hits. Maybe if I am injured seeking money, but not much else.

As much as I dislike Hillary, at least she has some leadership appeal. I think Edwards' weightlessness will get exposed in the primary (so will Obama's).

If he somehow gets the D nomination through his appeals to emotion, and if Rudy continues his momentum, Rudy will eat him alive in a general election. There simply is no comparison in the leadership quality between the two. But maybe America is looking for something different than leadership from its president.

brett said...

He made a successful career helping those who needed help against the unlimited resources of Big Insurance.

Oh my God. I cannot think of a more misleading characterization of his legal career. I'm guessing you're a plaintiff's lawyer. Edwards made a successful career extorting money from insurance companies afraid of his demagoguery before juries. Edwards' kind is the single worst affliction that our diseased legal system suffers from. That and the cowardice of judges afraid to grant summary judgment motions.

It is sickening to hear ambulance chasers like Edwards celebrated as some kind of champion of the underclass. Edwards has no intellectual heft whatsoever. His neoprotectionist economic policies would be disastrous not only for our country, but more so for the developing countries that would be deprived of US investment. I just don't understand how anyone can look at that man and see a President.

Anonymous said...

Edwards' claim, right before the election and upon the death of Christopher Reeve, that electing John Kerry president would make people like Reeve walk again, was the purest illustration of his hucksterism. It also was one of the most shameful performances in recent political memory, and that's saying something.

Everything about the guy, from his substantive positions (my, how they've changed), to the little-boy in-dad's-shoes rant at bin Laden during the convention, to the obviously coached, absurdly deliberate hand gestures, screams huckster. Also, at a more basic level, he seems very prone to the major early criticism of Bush, namely that he comes across as somewhat stupid.

Yeah, Hope is On the Way, but its name isn't John Edwards.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure where you get Edwards having the same quality that Bill Clinton had. Clinton always seems like someone you can sit down and have a beer with, even though you might not want to vote for him, I don't see that with Edwards. Still, that is subjective, maybe so. He is certainly moving down the populist trail with his two America's thing, but I don't see it being helpful pitting the bottom half of the country against the top half. Not to mention, who does he thinks shop at Walmart to begin with? I just don't see him resonating beyond a small demographic. I don't think he is a Jimmy Carter clone (Thank God), but what sort of experience does he bring? What sort of management background does he have?
I disagree with most of his positions, but even if I did agree with them, I don't think I could say "He made a successful career helping those who needed help against the unlimited resources of Big Insurance." with a straight face. Isn't it more accurate to say he client shopped for cases against deep pockets and using junk science since discredited he won enormous awards thereby pricing many Drs out of the baby Dr business, directly impacting many of the poor Americans he claims to represent? As far as disliking trial lawyers, I think the dislike is for the lawyers responsible for the idiotic warning labels on nearly everything, and the massive judgments driving whole industries out of business, not the lawyer you call when you run into some legal difficulty. As far as Bill Clinton being the focus of right wing hatred, I think it was more of FAR right wing hatred. That bumper sticker is kind of lame proof. I can remember seeing bumper stickers just like it dating back to the Nixon administration forward. I don't see where you get hatred from that. I do not remember anyone make a comparison between him and Hitler, something that happens every day with our current president. As a lawyer isn't it a bit sloppy saying "for no other reason than he was unfaithful to his wife, and in the face of a 65% approval rating." As you know, he was impeached for purgery. You feel that shouldn't be against the law? And what do you suppose the approval rating for OJ Simpson was in the black community? Should that be reason enough for aquital? Or should the facts in the case determine the outcome. I seriously doubt the reason Clinton was impeached was because the Republicans couldn't stand being beaten by a democrat. I think it was more likely the frustration of all these issues with both Clinton's and they just continued to skate by thanks to a willing press. Should they have let that frustration build to an impeachment? I don't think so. I think they could have worked something else out. I don't think the president gets a free pass for breaking the law, but I don't think you boot him out of office for something as silly as that. Public ridicule? Sure. Remove from office? Not for that. Clearly we see things from a different perspective as I see Democrats stopping at nothing to win, rather than Republicans. Finally the Catholic thing. Edwards hired a blogger who treated with contempt anyone who was a Christian, and when her previous comments came out, he stood behind her. (It appears, she's gone now) The person you are referring to made the most noise, but the anger was building outside of that one person. To say the entire episode was due to the one Catholic person is a misrepresentation of Clintonian proportions. (sorry, couldnt resist)

Anonymous said...

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