Analogies To John Edwards

Robert Stein has an excellent response to Paul Krugman’s recent attacks on Barack Obama and defense of John Edwards. Stein wrote:

Krugman’s alternative is John Edwards, who is portraying himself as “another F.D.R.–a polarizing figure, the object of much hatred from the right, who nonetheless succeeded in making big changes.”

If Edwards is the answer, what’s the question? He may not be as weird as Ron Paul, but his windmill-tilting is much less sincere. Paul’s country-doctor ethic comes from a lifetime of bedrock distrust of government power. Edwards is a negligence lawyer who milked the system for millions, spent one undistinguished term in the Senate and, only when he hit the campaign trail, started posing as the friend of the poor.

For those old enough to respond to Krugman’s F.D.R. analogy, try Huey Long.

While Edwards is in third place in the national polls, there are signs that having spent so much time in Iowa since 2004 might pay off for Edwards, with Edwards even taking the lead in a recent poll. A victory for Edwards in Iowa will not necessarily give him the same type of bounce as Kerry received in 2004. Edwards’ populist act will not play as well in New Hampshire as in Iowa and there’s plenty of hope that the voters there will see through this charlatan whose junk economics is exceeded only by the junk science he used, as Stein notes, to milk the system as a negligence lawyer.

I agree with Robert in his analogy between Edwards and Huey Long but this is not the analogy many Democratic voters will consider. At present Edwards is doing respectably in the national polls only because most voters don’t realize he has changed his act from moderate of 2004 to a candidate running far to the left of George McGovern of 1972. Voters who are not old enough to remember Huey Long might be aware of the consequences of McGovern’s nomination and will think twice about giving the Republicans yet another term in the White House.

Considering the other major Edwards news of the day, I should also note that Edwards should be rejected because of his positions, as well as his lack of qualifications for the post and lack of integrity. These are far better reasons than any unsubstantiated rumors of infidelity being spread by The National Enquirer. Of course if either these rumors are substantiated, or the claims that the Clintons are behind this story should be true, then there will really be a shake up in the race.


  1. 1
    Ryan says:

    I was waiting for a jump in the polls for Edwards after the last debate in Iowa. The consensus seemed to be that he came off the best. And since this was the last debate, it could be the main thing the people remember when they go out to the caucuses. It could have a significant impact. Or they could all forget about it and remember the charlatan he really is. Let’s hope for the latter.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    There’s already a poll today showing Edwards is behind. The point of the poll yesterday showing that Edwards was leading is not that Edwards is really leading but that the race is so close, and there are so many votes which can change, that any of the three can win. The caucus rules in Iowa also make it harder to predict than a conventional primary.

    Edwards has a number of advantages including having been there before, having campaigned there the longest this cycle, having more of his supporters being people who have participated in caucuses again (and presumably might be more likely to show up this time), being the second choice of many (with Obama now cutting into this), and increased support in rural areas (due to having spent more time in the state hitting those areas). While anyone can win, Edwards has too good a chance of winning for comfort. Fortunately there is still hope he might be knocked off there (and anything other than a clear cut win would kill his campaign). There’s also good reason to believe that a win in Iowa will not be enough to give him the nomination.

  3. 3
    battlebob says:

    This is a flat lie:
    “Edwards is a negligence lawyer who milked the system for millions, spent one undistinguished term in the Senate and, only when he hit the campaign trail, started posing as the friend of the poor.”
    I worked with Edwards on ACORN projects after the 2004 election and before he announced his presidential run. He has worked on raising minimum wage for years.
    Edwards has been a big advocate of the needy.
    That may be the only positive thing he has done. There are plenty of issues to show Edwards’s detachment. This isn’t one of them. I can find information back to 2003 and I have talked to ACORN leaders about his involvement even earlier.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    The question is how much of this was for political posturing and his own gain, such as the manner in which he used his poverty center as a way to campaign and skirt FEC regulations.

    Robert might be technically wrong in that Edwards did use poverty as an issue throughout his political career but I when I quoted him I considered that a minor error in what was otherwise a good post.

  5. 5
    battlebob says:

    Disagree again Ron,
    Edwards’s populist message is his entire campaign. Saying his support for the poor is only for political expediency is absurd. To say expediency may play a part is also absurd as there is no way to measure it. That is the old still beating your wife question.
    Edward is a bad candidate because his focus area is very narrow and his legislative record almost non-existent. Beat him up for that as that is measureable.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:


    You miss the point. Edwards’ message is his entire campaign, and his entire campaign is based upon political expediency. He reinvented himself around what would be most expedient for launching a campaign based upon trying to win the nomination by winning in Iowa.

    You don’t have to be able to measure expediency. Edwards’ whole career has been based upon finding ways to seek more wealth and power for himself while claiming altruistic goals. This includes his law career, his use of a Senate term primarily as a launching pad to run for the 2004 nomination, and the people he worked for after he left the Senate to supposedly learn about the business while he had no knowledge of any of the more unsavory actions going on. The guy’s a total fraud.

  7. 7
    battlebob says:

    You are correct in every point except for his focus on raising the minimum wage. There are enough other points to bang him on without resorting to biased slander. My data goes back to early 2003 and ACORN organizers tell me this goes back to well before his 2000 presidential run.

    This may be the one point where he is sincere.

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    “You are correct in every point except for his focus on raising the minimum wage.”

    I said nothing about the minimum wage, so this would mean I’m correct on every point. If I am correct, this cannot be called biased slander.

    He may or may not be sincere with regards to the minimum wage. That hardly matters. Even if we had evidence he has a sincere and long standing desire to increase the minimum wage, this would not change my view of him at all.

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