Midnight Cowboying – My Case Against John Edwards

As you know, I don’t like John Edwards. See, I have a bless/curse of a photographic memory. I remember John Edwards, from when he entered the national stage taking the deposition in the Lewinsky fiasco during the Clinton Administration, to his cheerleading for the war in 2002. I also remember his platforms from 2004, which is why I am shocked he has reinvented himself once again.

But when he decided he wanted to be a populist this election cycle, I took that shit personally. The Farmer’s Alliance started in Lampasas, Texas in 1876, which later evolved in the Populist Party. So yeah, you could say I have little emotional attachment to the name. That is why I refuse to allow this pretender advance towards the throne.

Nothing sums up better some of the issues I have with John Edwards, than this interview on Meet the Press. When called to the mat for his constant reinventions as a candidate, he stands by his record, even though that does not reflect his rhetoric today. I have no idea why anyone would believe a word he says after this:

“You voted for the No Child Left Behind Act, back when you were in the Senate, now you call that a mistake. You voted for Free Trade wit China, back when you were in the Senate, now you say you wouldn’t do that. You vote for storing nuclear waste in Yucca in Nevada, now you say are against that. Of course Nevada caucuses are going to be early this time. In the Senate, you voted for Bankruptcy Reform. Now you say that is a mistake, you realize it hurts poor people. That’s a lot mistakes admit on big issues for a single term in the Senate, how do you explain it?

John Edwards: Well let me say first of all, what I would do as President of the United States and the positions I have taken on all the issues, including the ones you just spoke about, are my belief about what needs to be done and was the right thing to do.

From that say interview, here is what John Edwards said about his war vote:

Speaking of war, since he views it as a political calculation, this becomes critical:

Ah, back when being a hawkish Democrat looked like the path to the White House. And my, how he has triangulated since then. But I remember back when he said this in front of a room full of Democrats:

He gets booed. He gets booed because he was wrong. Worst yet, we have now found out that this whole speech was a political calculation. He sure thought waving the pom-poms was going put him over the top that year. Nice to know that our soldier were just props to him back then.

Here he is on 02/15/02 help spread the 9/11+Iraq meme.

And since he was on the Intelligence Committee, his co-sponsorship of the war becomes even more damning.

What was going on in those Intelligence Meetings?

Let’s ask a Democrat:

So both John Edwards and Hillary Clinton knew.

John Edwards knew, and yet still still co-sponsored the war.

So either Edwards or Durbin is lying, because on MSNBC “Buchanan & Press”, on January 7, 2003, John Edwards said this:

Seeing day after day, week after week, briefings on Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction and his plans on using those weapons. He cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons.

More cheerleading.

Here he is supporting pre-emptive war without UN sanction:

Edwards declared in an op-ed column in the Washington Post on November 13, 2005:

“The argument for going to war with Iraq was based on intelligence that we now know was inaccurate. The information the American people were hearing from the president — and that I was being given by our intelligence community — wasn’t the whole story. Had I known this at the time, I never would have voted for this war.”

Ah history, funny things happen, especially just a week later when former Senator Bob Graham, the Chair of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, in the same newspaper on November 20, 2005:

“There were troubling aspects to this 90-page document. While slanted toward the conclusion that Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction stored or produced at 550 sites, it contained vigorous dissents on key parts of the information, especially by the departments of State and Energy. Particular skepticism was raised about aluminum tubes that were offered as evidence Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program. As to Hussein’s will to use whatever weapons he might have, the estimate indicated he would not do so unless he was first attacked.”

“Under questioning, Tenet added that the information in the NIE had not been independently verified by an operative responsible to the United States. In fact, no such person was inside Iraq. Most of the alleged intelligence came from Iraqi exiles or third countries, all of which had an interest in the United States’ removing Hussein, by force if necessary.”

  “The American people needed to know these reservations, and I requested that an unclassified, public version of the NIE be prepared. On Oct. 4, Tenet presented a 25-page document titled ‘Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs.’ It represented an unqualified case that Hussein possessed them, avoided a discussion of whether he had the will to use them and omitted the dissenting opinions contained in the classified version. Its conclusions, such as “If Baghdad acquired sufficient weapons-grade fissile material from abroad, it could make a nuclear weapon within a year,” underscored the White House’s claim that exactly such material was being provided from Africa to Iraq.”

  “From my advantaged position, I had earlier concluded that a war with Iraq would be a distraction from the successful and expeditious completion of our aims in Afghanistan. Now I had come to question whether the White House was telling the truth — or even had an interest in knowing the truth.”

  “On Oct. 11, I voted no on the resolution to give the president authority to go to war against Iraq. I was able to apply caveat emptor. Most of my colleagues could not.”

So, for John Edwards to be telling the truth, Durbin and Graham have to liars. And the declassified NIE must also be forgery.

Why does everything John Edwards say not match his record?

He is now for the poor, yet he voted for Bankruptcy Reform.

He is now pro-environment, yet he voted for Yucca Mountain.

He is now pro-civil liberties, yet he voted for the Patriot Act.

He is now pro-union, even though he voted for Free Trade with China. He was also for giving Bush fast-track trade ability until an amendment about UNITE was taken out, the then only union backing him.

He was against off-shore bank accounts in his vice-president debate with Dick Cheney, but then worked for a corporation that used them.

He says he regrets the war vote, yet there is solid evidence of his cheerleading leading into the war.

He says he wishes he had had correct intelligence, yet other members of the same committee said it was right there in front of him.

So if you want a candidate who lies, and whose rhetoric is ever evolving and does not reflect his record, then vote John Edwards.


My Top 5 Favorite Things Today

1) 1.00 USD = 1.00 CAD 

2) The art of Bansky

3) Pro-war propaganda cartoons by Dr. Seuss (1941-1943) 

4)Texans turn against Bush’s war

5) Time for the warm fuzzies!


This is an open thread.


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    • Shahryar on September 21, 2007 at 6:37 am

    hard to argue against all this evidence, so now who do I support?

  1. I’m undecided because, well, none of the candidates inspire me to trust them that they will do no harm.

    Really, I believe no president can rescue or protect America, depending on which side of the political spectrum you’re on. A rescuer or a protector is what I think most voters want and are looking for in the next president.

    No, fixing or protecting the United States will take the hard work of every single person living in this country – be they a citizen or not.

    We’ve come to the proverbial fork in the road and have a choice to make: Americans can either get involved or just keep sitting on the couch watching cable hoping for someone else to do the hard work of democracy. There certainly are those wanting to do the ‘hard work’ to shape this country – which is why I think the country is in the mess we’re in now.

    So, the next president isn’t going to rescue America or protect America – that job is done by the people – or have we the people forgotten this?

  2. I will have to return to it when Youtube is working.  I can’t see any of the embeds from youtube tonight. I need to watch this carefully.

    What I’m worried about is that Edwards, with his “populist” position will split votes with Obama which may promote Clinton as the successful Democratic candidate.  ARGGGGGH.

    • snud on September 21, 2007 at 7:25 am

    H.L. Mencken has a few quotes which I like  that may be appropriate:

    Criticism is prejudice made plausible.
    Each party steals so many articles of faith from the other, and the candidates spend so much time making each other’s speeches, that by the time election day is past there is nothing much to do save turn the sitting rascals out and let a new gang in.
    Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.
    Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.
    For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
    If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.
    It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.
    Most people want security in this world, not liberty.
    No man ever quite believes in any other man. One may believe in an idea absolutely, but not in a man.
    No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.
    Nothing is so abject and pathetic as a politician who has lost his job, save only a retired stud-horse.
    Platitude: an idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone, and (b) that is not true.
    The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out… without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.
    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
    What men value in this world is not rights but privileges.
    Whenever you hear a man speak of his love for his country, it is a sign that he expects to be paid for it.

    • pico on September 21, 2007 at 7:34 am

    in part because he’s done two things that I really like: cheerleading aside, his work on poverty at UNC has been pretty impressive, and outside of non-runner Gore, he’s the only national Democrat to have made New Orleans a real focus rather than an afterthought used when necessary.  Heck, the stuff he’s done down there may have been a stunt, but at least his stunts resulted in more people getting their homes back.

    But I find that every time he opens his mouth, I like him a little bit less.  The low point came during YearlyKos, when he showed his disdain for the entire audience by ignoring the question he’d been asked in order to give a rah-rah speech – and Richardson rightly shut him down for it.

    I wish more Democrats would adopt his “two Americas” slogan, which is the most direct and forceful statement any of them have made about domestic policy – and given Kerry’s poor showing last time around, we shouldn’t underestimate the ability to make direct and forceful statements.  But at this point, I just don’t trust Edwards enough to pull the lever for him, which disappoints me, but it’s true.

    • Zwoof on September 21, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    ..unless Gore comes to his senses. 

    There’s just too much time for all candidates to step on their dicks between now and the nomination.

  3. http://www.dailykos….

  4. In defense of Edwards, I am a socialist and a populist. I was not at all impressed by his first run. Edwards is a politician, he’s a trial lawyer, he’s a Southerner. Is he a liar? Better question is , is he a politician.  He came to politics from a conservative state and when as a Democrat, the DLC was still riding high. Gore has also been transformed by what has happened also, the ones who continue to advocate the status quo are the ones who I deplore.

    This time around rhetorically speaking I started listening to him, and I liked what I heard. Humans and politics are not static and situations change as do people. My first political participation was working on RFK’s campaign. As a youngster I had no idea of his history, as an adult I learned where his journey had started politically and what a transformation it was to where I found him a worthy candidate. Of all the ‘viable’ candidates we have he best articulates what I see as changes necessary . His past is no better or worse then the others, but his grasp of the present and future is what interests me. 

  5. Just wanted to say wow – you sure stirred it up over on the big orange with this one.

    Plus – I had fun trying to figure out just how impactful this effort may have been with an essay on the right here called ‘Negative Marketing Works’.

    Have a look – you may be surprised!

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