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September 7, 2004
Two Kerry/Edwards Campaigns For Two Americas?

For months, the Kerry campaign has made the claim (stolen from Howard Dean, naturally) that John Kerry will stand up to lobbyists and special interests and fight for the common folk. This claim, as I noted back in January, is patently ridiculous. Even back then, Kerry had taken over $640,000 in special-interest money throughout his career, including $225,000 for his presidential campaign just to that point.

That didn't keep Kerry from assimilating John Edwards' rhetoric on lobbyists and special interests. On their website, Edwards uses his Two Americas theme to rail against lobbyists and their corrupting influence:

We still have two governments in America: one for the insiders, the lobbyists, and the special interests, and then whatever is leftover is for you.

But in the America you and I build together, we will have one government that works for younot those insiders, not those lobbyists, not those special interests but you. All you have to do is look at that Medicare prescription drug bill.

That's apparently true ... in one of Kerry/Edwards Americas. In the other, as the Washington Post notes, the campaign welcomes the lobbyists they despise, including those from the eeeeeeeevil pharmaceuticals:

In bolstering his inner circle of advisers with veterans from previous Democratic campaigns, Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) has also chosen to hire lobbyists with close ties to a wide array of businesses, including drug companies and Microsoft Corp.

Joel P. Johnson, Joe Lockhart, Howard Wolfson and Michael J. Whouley are best known as Democratic insiders. Johnson and Lockhart worked as senior communications aides in the White House of President Bill Clinton. Wolfson was spokesman for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Whouley has played senior roles in Democratic presidential campaigns going back a dozen years.

But until they jumped to the Kerry campaign or the Democratic National Committee (DNC) as part of a recent personnel shake-up, all four also worked for lobbying companies that either explicitly registered as federal lobbyists or assisted corporations with their lobbying efforts. All four have taken leaves of absence to join the campaign.

The new hires add an extra burden to the Kerry campaign, which has often lambasted its opponent, President Bush, for being too close to special interests.

"If Kerry is trying to show he's for lobbying reform and is independent of special interests, this set of personnel changes is not a good thing," said James A. Thurber, a political scientist at American University.

So on whose behalf did their new staffers lobby? Oh, just the Asbestos Study Group, a coalition of corporations looking to cap asbestos-damage lawsuits; oil producers; Microsoft; Nextel; drug companies; and a host of other entities that would set the politically correct into fits of rage under any other circumstances.

It appears that, once again, John Kerry and now John Edwards hold their principles dearly, at least until the any inconvenience whatsoever causes them to throw them overboard.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 7, 2004 11:58 PM

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Tracked on September 8, 2004 2:38 AM



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