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January 25, 2008

Really Running On Empty

Not too many people have bothered to write much about John Edwards, and for good reason. He has approached irrelevancy almost as rapidly as Dennis Kucinich but with none of the entertainment value. After his predicted high-water mark in Iowa, where he edged Hillary Clinton on the basis of his populism, he has descended into spoiler status.

Charles Krauthammer, however, decides to analyze the John Edwards failure in today's Washington Post. One reason Edwards fell apart like a cheap suit springs from his decision to attack the record of a candidate - himself (via Memeorandum):

Edwards has made much of his renunciation of his Iraq war vote. But he has not stopped there. His entire campaign has been an orgy of regret and renunciation:

  • As senator, he voted in 2001 for a bankruptcy bill that he now denounces.

  • As senator, he voted for storing nuclear waste in Nevada's Yucca Mountain. Twice. He is now fiercely opposed.

  • As senator, he voted for the Bush-Kennedy No Child Left Behind education reform. He now campaigns against it, promising to have it "radically overhauled."

  • As senator, he voted for the Patriot Act, calling it "a good bill . . . and I am pleased to support it." He now attacks it.

  • As senator, he voted to give China normalized trade relations. Need I say? He now campaigns against liberalized trade with China as a sellout of the middle class to the great multinational agents of greed, etc.
  • Edwards, Krauthammer points out, only served a single term in the Senate, and spent half of it running for President in the 2004 cycle. He spent the last year repudiating his entire three years in public office. The entire message appeared to be, "Vote for me -- I got duped!"

    Krauthammer points out that that would even be false. He claims that he has spent his entire life fighting for the values and the positions he now espouses. If that was true -- and that 28,000 square foot trial lawyer's mansion suggests otherwise -- then what happened for those three years he served North Carolina as Senator? Was there something so attractive about political power that it caused him to abandon those lifelong principles and fall into the thrall of eeeeeevil corporations? And if so, how would that recommend him for the Presidency?

    No, the truth is that Edwards was never anything more than a huckster, a secular Elmer Gantry who shamelessly flogged whatever was popular at the moment. The only lifelong cause Edwards ever championed was John Edwards. In the end, his complete repudiation of the already-thin basis for his presidential run might be the most laughable theme in the 2008 cycle.


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    Charles Krauthammer nails John Edwards, a man whose deepest conviction is whatever he needs to say at the moment. A man who not only has changed his mind on an issue or two, but repudiates his entire record as a [Read More]

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