Edwards Campaign “Jumps the Shark” in Attacking Clinton

John Edwards took his act to Hanover, New Hampshire with a speech which wound up creating a controversy among Democrats. Edwards made what is being seen as an attack on the Clintons when he said, “The American people deserve to know that their presidency is not for sale, the Lincoln Bedroom is not for rent, and lobbyist money can no longer influence policy in the House or the Senate.”

As both Jeralyn at Talk Left and Taylor Marsh have noted, using the Lincoln Bedroom has long been a conservative talking point for attacking the Clintons. In a post entitled Edwards Jumps the Shark, Taylor Marsh provides examples of Bob Dole using this attack line in 1996 and George W. Bush using it in 2000. Edwards shows yet once again his lack of sincerity when he attacked other Democratic candidates for attacking other Democratic candidates last month.

The problem with Edwards’ message goes much deeper than whether he attacked the Clintons today. There have been multiple episodes of hypocrisy which contradict Edwards’ message in today’s speech as well as his overall campaign theme of being more pure (or an actual Democrat) compared to the other candidates. Edwards has avoided honest disclosure of the indentities of his major fundraisers. Having a remarkably high percentage of campaign money coming from a single source, the trial lawyers, makes him no less tainted than candidates who receive contributions from a variety of lobbyists. Following the 2004 election Edwards created his Poverty Center which turned out to be a way to continue campaigning, and paying staffers, without being subject to FEC regulations. After Edwards has spoken out against foreclosures on Katrina victims, it was discovered that Edwards had worked for a private equity fund in 2005 and 2006 which was responsible for many of the actions he is now campaigning against. In this speech, as in so many others, Edwards once comes off as the politician who will say anything to get votes.

Iowa Remains Four Way Race; Bush is No Reagan

The latest Strategic Vision poll shows that there’s still a four way race in Iowa. John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama are virtually tied. Bill Richardson trails in fourth place, which happens to be the spot where John Kerry was before he came from behind to win in the final days before the 2004 caucus. The results:

John Edwards 23%
Barack Obama 22%
Hillary Clinton 21%
Bill Richardson 14%
Joseph Biden 5%
Chris Dodd 1%
Dennis Kucinich 1%
Undecided 13%

Mitt Romney remains well in front of the Republican field. Following his second place showing in the straw poll, Mike Huckabee is tied with John McCain for fourth. Ron Paul is in seventh place with only 3%. It must be disappointing to place so low when so many voters of both parties in Iowa favor withdrawal from Iraq:

Do you favor a withdrawal of all United States military from Iraq within the next six months? (Republicans Only)
Yes 51%
No 39%
Undecided 10%

It is a good thing for George Bush that he is not a candidate this year. A majority of Iowa Republicans feel it is important for “the Republican presidential candidate to be a conservative Republican in the mode of Ronald Reagan.” A minority feel George Bush qualifies:

Do you see President George W. Bush as a conservative Republican in the mode of Ronald Reagan? (Republicans Only)
Yes 9%
No 78%
Undecided 13%

Rudy Giuliani–The Wrong Man to Deal with Terrorism

Rudy Giuliani is attempting to repeat Bush’s 2004 election strategy of running for president claiming to be the candidate who can best keep us safe from terrorism. We learned that in reality George Bush’s many mistakes have greatly exacerbated the problems of terrorism, and it appears we face the same dangers should Rudy Giuliani be elected. Time Magazine has reviewed Giuliani’s personal characteristics and knowledge of terrorism, providing further warnings about the dangers of electing him:

The evidence also shows great, gaping weaknesses. Giuliani’s penchant for secrecy, his tendency to value loyalty over merit and his hyperbolic rhetoric are exactly the kinds of instincts that counterterrorism experts say the U.S. can least afford right now.

Giuliani’s limitations are in fact remarkably similar to those of another man who has led the nation into a war without end. Some of the Bush Administration’s policies, like improved intelligence sharing between countries and our own agencies, have made the U.S. better at fighting terrorism. But others, from the war in Iraq to the treatment of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, have actually made the task much more difficult. The challenge for the next President will be focusing on and adapting the good tools and jettisoning the bad. Whether you conclude Giuliani can win this war depends ultimately on whether you think we are winning now.

Giuliani’s ignorance of terrorism was made clear when he repeated Bush’s ridiculous argument that the reason for terrorist attacks is simply that the terrorists hate us for our freedom to counter Ron Paul’s attempt to bring reality into an early Republican debate. Giuliani has claimed expertise on terrorism which he has shown no evidence of actually possessing:

Giuliani and his aides have said he has been “studying Islamic terrorism” for 30 years. This is an exaggeration. As a prosecutor and Justice Department official in the 1970s and ’80s, Giuliani had many successes—against white collar criminals and the Mafia. He did not direct major terrorism prosecutions that led to convictions…
Giuliani has also claimed he knows more about foreign policy than other candidates, but that’s exceedingly unlikely. John McCain spent 22 years as a Navy pilot and five as a prisoner of war and is now the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee in the Senate, where he has served for 20 years. He has been to Iraq six times; Giuliani has never been there. (Of the major candidates, only Giuliani, Fred Thompson and John Edwards have never visited Iraq.)

While having been to Iraq is not the only criteria for running for president, I wasn’t too surprised to find that the three candidates who I have expressed doubt over their competence to be president, Giuliani, Thompson, and Edwards, are also the three who have never been to Iraq. (more…)