Edwards or Obama as Candidate of Change

Tod Beeton at MyDD discusses an email from the Edwards campaign taking on Barack Obama. The email “hammers the theme of change.” The race has been cast as the establishment Hillary Clinton versus Barack Obama, the candidate of change. Beeton notes that John Edwards “has been talking about big change in every speech he’s given this year” wonders, “why hasn’t Edwards been cast in that role?”

The answer is that many can smell a phoney a mile away. The only change we trust coming from Edwards is all the changes from his previous positions. In some cases they may be an improvement, such as on Iraq, but seeing Edwards finally come out against the war when it is the politically popular position hardly gives me any confidence that his judgement can be trusted on matters of war and peace in the future.

Edwards comes off far too much as a trial lawyer selling his case to a jury than a man with real convictions. At the moment Edwards sees the advantage of appealing to the left blogosphere and progressive voters of Iowa. Just as a a lawyer changes their arguments to fit their particular client and case, Edwards looks like a slick lawyer who changes his positions to fit his current audience. The John Edwards who is pandering to the left blogosphere in 2003 may be a totally differenent candidate should he get past Iowa, and even different should he be elected president.

Edwards also appears to be more a phoney than a true candidate of change by his populist agenda which was accurately satirized by The Onion in which he promises everything to everyone without regard for the cost. While I still need to hear more about the details of his plans from Obama before I’ll back him, Obama at least impresses me as someone who has carefully considered the ramifications of his positions and who understands alternative viewpoints. The libertarian in me gives credit to Obama for making the same decision John Kerry did four years ago in looking at a health care plan based upon choice as opposed to government mandates. In 2004 John Kerry showed he was willing to break from Democratic special interest politics when he took on the trial lawyers and included malpractice reform in his health care plan–an idea now missing from Edwards’ new proposals. Barack Obama has repeatedly shown the same willingness to move beyond special interest politics, such as when he spoke of merit pay for teachers at a meeting of the National Education Association.
Edwards’ credibility is further hurt by his limited history in politics. While Obama worked as a community organizer and and the state legislature, Edwards served a single term in the Senate which was primarily used as a vehicle to run for the 2004 nomination. While failing to win, Kerry made a mistake which he came to regret in choosing Edwards to be his running mate, only to see Edwards put his own personal interests above those of the ticket. Edwards might have also learned a few things while working on the Patriot Act from Barack Obama, the former constitutional law professor.

Yes, John Edwards is the candidate of change. He is willing to change his views and his loyalties to advance his own political career. This is hardly the sort of person that those of us who desire real change in government want to see elected.

Related: Hillary Clinton also attacks Obama today.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    janet says:

    I like John Edwards. As a trial lawyer by background myself, I have always identified with him. The prominent trial lawyers I worked with in Seattle are some of the best folks I have ever known.

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