Wednesday, January 14, 2004
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Another John Edwards moment
It's John Edwards day at the Chicago Tribune. There's a lengthy bio of him in one section (including his high school graduation photo). On the front page, the paper reports Edwards may have the "Big Mo" in Iowa:
Yeah, it's an anecdote -- but there may be something to it. See the Baltimore Sun and the Raleigh News-Observer (the latter admittedly has a local-boy-makes-good flavor). A triggering factor behind these reports was the Des Moines Register's endorsement of Edwards this Sunday, which undoubtedly raised his profile (he's picked up other endorsements as well).
But what about substance? Check out Edwards' proposal to promote democracy in the Middle East. As someone who's sympathetic to this policy, I was impressed with the level of detail -- particularly in contrast to some other Democratic candidates.
This is not only true about foreign policy. As Michelle Cottle pointed out in her case for Edwards in The New Republic:
I wrote back in September that Democrats might be slighting Edwards' campaign. We'll see if that's still true after Iowa.
UPDATE: This comment on Edwards' integrity -- by a Bush supporter, no less -- is worth reading.posted by Dan on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM
As a European observing the primaries, I've always wondered why Edwards isn't the obvious front-runner. In pure policy terms, at least, he seems to win the contest against Dean, Gephardt et al by a wide margin. I hope he's able to bounce back. Edwards would be the type of President many Europeans would like to see in the White House...
It's about time he starts getting credit. Being from SC, and knowing how politics works down here, I have been very impressed with Edwards, his message, and his leadership.
However, his e mail updates are just silly.posted by: Richard Tilley on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
posted by: Bithead on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
The Europeans liked Clinton too. But Clinton let the UN run over him and made the US look stupid overseas in virtually every situation other than Bosnia. I don't think Edwards would be as bad, but thats not much of an endorsement from Europe.posted by: Collin Smith on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
I've thought for a long time that Edwards' campaign skills were right up there with the best of the post-Clinton Democrats. As a general election candidate he'd be far superior to, say, Howard Dean.
But one of the chronic problems we face in this country is the extent to which the process of getting elected has come to overwhelm the business of government. It's a given that no one can be elected President who does not look good on television, and by this time mastery of the mechanics of fundraising and continual, 24/7 positioning are required as well. These skills do not have much to do with serving effectively in the White House.
The idea of putting a trial lawyer with just over four years of part-time work in the Senate is absurd on its face, no matter how well he may have mastered his briefing book. A couple of terms as governor of a piffling little state like Vermont is scarcely better preparation.
Were I a Democrat I could certainly argue that George W. Bush's preparation wasn't much more extensive, though this would amount to responding to a charge by confirming it. But in any case that is an argument for the general election. Right now, in the primaries, Democrats have a choice among a guy who has been a leader in Congress (Gephardt) and someone who has demonstrated repeatedly that he is not a slave to the usual interest groups (Lieberman), plus a man who while not exactly a leader on the big issues has some depth of knowledge on the national security issues so important now (Kerry). I understand why angry Democrats would turn to a candidate who gets in touch with their anger, and why the same persuasive tools that work with a jury would work with voters. But Democratic voters are choosing a potential President of the United States; they ought to have a bias against people for whom the White House represents an enormous leap up from anything they have ever done before.
You wouldn't hire someone with as thin a list of qualifications for the job you wanted filled as Dean or Edwards have -- why would you vote for him?posted by: Zathras on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Edwards is just another politician...look how he voted for the Iraq War Resolution yet shamelessly voted against the 87 billion dollars requested to fund continuing operations. Edwards, like most politicians, lacks any conviction on the issues...he just votes based upon calculation.posted by: thought on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Edwards is just a sleazy trial lawyer. He tries to campaign on his modest roots, but doesn't mention the millions he acquired as a trial lawyer. Edwards would just give a blank check to the trial lawyers...it would be an utter disaster. The trial lawyers would have Edwards in their pocket...who knows how litigious the society would become?
Edwards is one candidate who will have as his highest priority making the trial lawyers even wealthier. America does not need that at all.posted by: thought on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Edwards is just an unaccomplished liberal In moderate clothing And a friend to his fellow personal injury trial lawyers.
Edwards has a record in the Senate devoid of leadership and accomplishment, and one that is remarkably left leaning. From 1999 to 2002 he voted with Ted Kennedy 90% of the time, and he received a 0% rating from the Small Business Survival Committee for his voting record in 2001.
Edwards favors one constituency only: the trial lawyers. Other than that, Edwards is good for no one.
posted by: thought on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
If you're going to pick a son of the south, Edwards beats Clark anyway you look at it. Pick a trial lawyer over a military bureaucrat every time.posted by: Jerry Carroll on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
"No on Edwards"posted by: longdistance on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
My #1 problem with all the democrats' foriegn policy plans is that every one of them talks about restoring cooperation and whatnot with our allies, but I have yet to see anyone offer an explanation of how they will do that. Either that means we will start doing what they want us to do, or they will start doing what we want them to do. Which is it going to be? And if it is option B, what will they do differently that will suddenly bring about such a a change? Unless I missed something, which is possible, nobody has said.posted by: Justin on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
You ask an interesting question -- and one I am not sure has a good answer.
Edwards has not been a noteworthy senator -- I can't think of any legislative accomplishments he has. Nor is he a particularly good party man. If he were, he would have run for his senate seat -- as there is a real good chance the seat will go GOP. So there's this feeling that he's a bit superficial and shallow out there.
I think the reason is that Dean figured out a new fundraising trick that allowed him to leave everyone in the dust. And Clark, by having the magic word General in his name, seems to be becoming the lead anti-Dean candidate. (He also has had some pretty impressive fundraising.)
Also, it looks like the Demos this year are still trying to work through their "defeat" in 2000, and want somebody who reflects their base. Maybe this is a typical reaction in parties that just barely lose with a moderate candidate. (Nixon to Goldwater 60-64, Humphery-McGovern, 68-72)posted by: appalled moderate on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Edwards is a trial lawyer but there's no sleaze to the man. His skills were such that he turned away far more cases than he took. A number were meritorious, but the potential clients' injuries were such that they were referred to other lawyers.
Edwards didn't make his money representing whiplash survivors. He made it representing amputees, the brain-injured, quadriplegics, and the dead. You could argue with him
I've worked on cases (insurance company lawyer here) against Edwards' firm, before and after he departed for Washington and taken and defended depositions with him. I don't particularly like the man or agree with many of his views. But I'd never question his integrity, and it's pure ignorance or blind partisanship to paint him as an ambulance chaser. He was the best at what he did. Many of the skills Edwards developed as a lawyer would be quite useful to our current president, who lacks them in spades.
And yes, I'm voting for Bush in November.posted by: Patrick Anders on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
I had Edwards listed first when I started ranking the Democratic candidates; as a Bush supporter, he's still the one who scares me most because he's the only Democrat who seems to have the right touch for a populist campaign, and he's the only one who could be competitive in at least some of the South. Edwards' political problem is that he's a pre-September 11 candidate; people don't think of him as a serious foreign policy guy, he's inexperienced, and he looks inexperienced.posted by: Crank on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Zathras, do you really believe that Bush was significantly more qualified to be President based on his personal experience? Give me a break. At least Edwards made it in his career based on his own efforts rather than family name and money.
Thought, give up the occupational smears. If I slammed Bush, Cheney, et.al. simply because there were "sleazy big oil fat cats" you would rightly dismiss me. Do us the favor of engaging the substance of a comment or quit wasting our time with inane posts.
In fact, Edwards has campaigned on the idea that trial lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits should be thrown out of the profession, his "three strikes and they're out" idea for tort reform. That would do a lot more to cut back on the supposed glut of "frivolous lawsuits" that a clogging the system. And if the trial lawyers are as evil as you say, do you think Edwards' position makes them happy?
Never mind that the numbers of tort cases filed in both state and federal courts have actually declined in the last ten or fifteen years. Wouldn't want to let the facts get in the way of a favorite conservative whipping boy.posted by: Binky on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
People who denigrate Bush's experience fail to recognize the unpaid experience he gained during his father's Presidency as his father's hatchet man. Bush's political skill rival or exceed those of Clinton. His day-to-day communication skills are somewhat lacking, but his major speeches have been particularly good.
His discipline is somewhat less than Reagan's, but far exceeds Clintons. Also, unlike his father, he understands the "use it or lose it" principle of political capital.
He thinks strategically, not tactically. That is why he comprehends the War in Iraq as part of the War on Terror. Tacticians see them as distinct; he does not.
And he plays politics on a strategic level as well. That's why Paul O'Neal's complaints are so unfounded. He complained that Bush was disengaged from the details. But details are tactical considerations that are reliant upon strategic decisions. Bush makes the strategic decisions and delegates the tactics.
In my view, this rankled O'Neal's sense of self-importance. He wanted to engage Bush on the tactics, and Bush was uninterested. What Bush WAS interested in is whether or not O'Neal was effective. Since he wasn't, he was fired.
Frankly, I can identify with O'Neal more than Bush because I too am a tactical thinker who seeks external acknowledgement. And I too was fired by a strategic thinker for being ineffective. But honesty compels me to acknowledge that he gave me ample room to succeed and I failed.posted by: Scott Harris on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
I don't know much about Edwards, except for that every Democrat I know up in North Carolina hates him. They all assume he's running for president because he couldn't get re-elected to the Senate!!posted by: Twn on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Why am I not comforted by that statement?
Actually, I am hoping that whomever the Democratic candidate is that he will tout how much he is the preferred candidate of France and Germany.
Maybe we could talk Chirac and Schroeder into coming over to help him campaign.
I think the main asset these Democrats would have in bringing the Euros over to our side of this war is that none of them is Bush. Justified or not, Bush has a reputation as a ham-fisted, obnoxious novice. Telebol may have some insight here, but I suspect the Europeans would be happy just to see a Democrat in office, even if his policies were largely similar to Bush's.
Of course, the public opinion of Europe isn't an important factor in our election. I'm voting for Bush.posted by: Nathan on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
> I suspect the Europeans would be happy just to
posted by: Marcus Lindroos on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
edwards, snarpted by the bee!posted by: jason on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
John Edwards is a formidable candidate.
He took on and beat one of Jesse Helms' proteges in a racially-backwards and Republican-leaning state.
On the Senate Intelligence Committee, he's got more experience now than Bush did in 2000 (or does now?).
He's the only Dem candidate whom Rove has yet bothered to attack with a TV ad.
And a "pre-911" message will become ever more palatable as the consequences of the Iraq adventure continue to play out over the next 10 months.posted by: Fred Arnold on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
"Pretty much. His cocky, arrogant behavior on TV is an instant turn-off -- although I suppose Texans think of it as honest confidence or something."
Yes, Bush's attitude leaves much to be desired sometimes. But this shouldn't make any difference when the security of western civilization is on the table. Listening to the European press, you'd think cockiness is more of a crime than torture and mass-murder. Let's keep our priorities straight. The psychotic killers are the real enemy here.posted by: Nathan on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Edwards has two big liabilities -- lack of foreign policy experience and the more general perception that he is young and/or inexperienced.
I also disagree with the guy substantively on economic policy and don't much like his class warfare rhetoric.
Aside from those things, though, he is virtually perfect.
The guy is exceptionally sharp and substantive. He has the most detailed proposals of anyone in the race.
He's strongly focused on the security issues surrounding the war on terror, and reminds other Democrats often of the need to move past the Bush-bashing and deal specifically with the threats and vulnerabilities we face.
He is both disciplined in the way he stays on-message and quick on his feet, and he has an ability to interact with real people that is unique in this field. His political skills are, on the whole, exceptional and possibly even Clintonesque.
Finally, he seems to have a unique understanding of the need in our country right now for optimism and a positive outlook. I blogged a few months ago about my sense of the overall "wrong" tone in America post-9/11 -- our sense of vulnerability and unease extended longer and went deeper than it probably needed to, and that's due, in part, to the fact that we don't have a publicly engaged president with an ability to project optimism.
I suspect the shaky economy we've experienced has something to do with that.
A few days ago, I caught a repeat on CSPAN of an appearance from a few months back where Bill Clinton and Bob Dole appeared at an event together. They were both sitting on stage and taking turns answering questions. What Clinton said about where we are now and where we're headed was maybe the most exceptional thing I've heard since 9/11. He managed to mix realism and optimism in a way that was utterly intoxicating. And he was remarkably gracious towards the current administration, even while at that very moment leading Democrats were making Bush-hatred their mantra.
There's a certain crowd in the Democratic party who project this sense of forward-looking optimism. It's the DLC crowd -- with Clinton carrying that banner in the past and Edwards doing it better than anyone currently.
That last part -- the call for optimism -- probably sounds fuzzy and maybe even silly to some of you. I think it's important though. It's a quality shared by our only two recent two-term presidents, Reagan and Clinton.posted by: William Swann on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
“"He's the one who is building," said Hogan, who only days ago dropped her monthslong indecision and picked Edwards as her candidate.”
Too little and too late. John Edwards is going nowhere. The hard core left wingers who dominate the Democrat Party don’t find him sufficiently angry at President Bush. Howard Dean is still the odds on favorite. He has both the money for advertising and the supporters who will fight to the bitter end for him. This is particularly important in Iowa for it is my understanding that only someone with a few screws loose is able to endure the the caucus process. It’s apparently a three hour affair which is extremely confusing and downright weird. No, Dean is very likely to win. Nothing has occurred to disillusion those who believe the former Vermont governor walks on water.posted by: David Thomson on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
I think the main asset these Democrats would have in bringing the Euros over to our side of this war is that none of them is Bush. Justified or not, Bush has a reputation as a ham-fisted, obnoxious novice. Telebol may have some insight here, but I suspect the Europeans would be happy just to see a Democrat in office, even if his policies were largely similar to Bush's.
I disagree, the complaints over Bush’s supposed “arrogance” seem contrived to me (to say nothing of ironic considering the source). The Europeans who are complaining about Bush were pretty much complaining about the United States prior to his assuming office, they have simply personalized their complaints and directed it against the President but their grievances are pretty much the same and usually just as silly.
Moreover, I do not believe for a moment that any nation is going to base its foreign policy (or any policy) simply on whether or not their people like or dislike whoever is President. They make change their rhetoric, but their policies IMNHO are going to be drive by the same concerns and motivations (self-interest and national self-interest) regardless of their rhetoric.
Of course, the public opinion of Europe isn't an important factor in our election. I'm voting for Bush.
Agreed on both points. :)
The people who say that they care or that we ought to care about the public opinion of Europe (which I think is probably being distorted) usually only say that when they believe that public opinion of Europe is in opposition to policies which they themselves do not like (e.g. a strong national defense, capital punishment) or in favor of policies that they themselves like (e.g. arms control agreements, Kyoto). As soon as the public opinion in Europe or the World at large turns against them, suddenly it is not a factor.
I am equally sure that this is just as true in Europe whenever someone tries to bring up being on the side of “World public opinion” as some supposed virtue.
It’s only a concern when it can help your side or hurt your opponent’s side.
I'm actually on the ground here in Iowa, volunteering in the Dean campaign. As such, without compromising my (genuine) commitment to Dean I can tell you what everyone here on the ground knows. In the last week, Kerry and Edwards gained ground.
Lots of upper-income families- the people who have nice houses when you knock on the door- or people attracted to the Kennedy style glamour are breaking for Edwards. Phone calling I've done on lists of registered voters confirms. As one expects, veterans are breaking for Kerry. There's only a bare whisper of Clark. Dean support is growing, and Gephardht seems flat. Conversations within the grass-roots Dean movement seem to confirm the above, though of course we are still confident Dean is leading especially with him coming out aggressively on Iraq again. It remains to be seen if late-surge is enough. BTW the oldman is still a conservative which he openly tells his fellow Dean campaign workers, he's just strongly against GW Bush. In Vermont, Dean cut taxes and balanced their budget which is a sight more than Bush ever did. Dean is also pro-NRA and pro-death-penalty. Smells like a Republican to me. I don't tell this to the people I canvass of course though. :-) If it was McCain up on the ballot, I might be working in his campaign instead.posted by: Oldman on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Dean is likely to win the Democratic nomination. But his position in Iowa is more tenuous.
Just in the last couple days, attack politics have taken over. Dean is attacking the whole rest of the field, and Gephardt hit Dean today with the most brutal speech of the campaign.
Dean, Gephardt, and Kerry bunched at the top now in the tracking poll, with Edwards not far behind.
Given that a lot of swapping of votes will happen at the caucuses, it's quite possible that Dean's opponents will swap amongst themselves more freely than with Dean. Who knows, really?
Dean may still win. But it's a whole lot murkier than it was a couple weeks ago.posted by: William Swann on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Oldman -- It's nice to hear that the Edwards mo is real. He doesn't quite have the prospects that Kerry does, at this stage -- since Kerry, Dean, and Gephardt all have better on-the-ground organizations.
His only real chance comes from the possibility that people will be turned off enough by all the new attacks to turn in a different direction.posted by: William Swann on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
In Vermont, Dean cut taxes and balanced their budget which is a sight more than Bush ever did.
Actually Dean raised taxes several times while governor while he grew the State budget by with a 100-176% increase (which contradicts the lie that he and his supporters have repeated as about holding down State spending).
Of the two tax "cuts" which Dean claims credit for, the first was actually just allowing a temporary tax hike to expire in the mid-1990s and second was a small rate reduction which paled compared to the increases in property, corporate, sales, and excise taxes he pushed through earlier.
posted by: Thorley Winston on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
“BTW the oldman is still a conservative which he openly tells his fellow Dean campaign workers, he's just strongly against GW Bush.”
Oldman represents the true believing Howard Dean groupie. Please note that he is primarily motivated by his contempt towards President Bush. The so-called issues are of secondary importance. The last time I voted, the whole process took maybe five minutes. Needless to add, there was no training to endure. The Iowa caucus silliness, however, is akin to one having to learn the intricate demands of Robert Rules of Order! In other words, a real *&^$ # nightmare. Think for a minute just how nutty this is. Would a normal person put up with this idiocy? Are Iowa Democrats masochistic screwballs?
What is my point? The Iowa caucus rules favor the truly committed. Howard Dean has such a fanatical following. His folks will knock on doors until they are near to collapsing. They will make that one extra phone call---and actually take the enormous time required to master the caucus system. Just showing up on Monday evening ain’t going to get the job done!posted by: David Thomson on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Which Europeans, telebol? Those like Kouchner, Nobel Peace Prize winning founder of Medecins Sans Frontieres, who said it was "shameful" that French troops did not accompany US soldiers in knocking over Saddam's regime in April? If so, then I'm with them.
If you mean those who want to pretend that islamist and other arab totalitarianisms are just another garden-variety terrorist threat a la Baader-Meinhoff to be dealt with via policing and increased aid, then I'm opposed. Those Europeans are still living in the world of the 1980s and 1990s. Wrong century, wrong diagnosis, wrong prescription.
Thanks for that info Winston. My support for Dean is not fanatical. Could you serve up a ref for that info? Will re-evaluate if info contradicts my opinions with evidence.
Here's a CSM article on the Iowa caucas turning into a real horse race among the candidates. My feel on the ground here is that the people against Dean, are really against Dean. Also two friends of mine just confirmed to me that they're going Dean, she's a Dem and he's a Repub who's switching over to Dean as "the most conservative dem" (not quite true, Lieberman is pretty conservative but he's a non-entity here in Iowa). Allot of undecided's are breaking Edwards way, especially the affluent as I noted. He's really been the positive campaigner so far, is my impression. And yeah, I like Edwards too. My support for Dean is in part due to his large well organized campaign, I don't think that even if Edwards has charisma he can beat Bush's political machine. We'll see though, it's too close to call at this point. The oldman will be spending thursday thru sunday getting out the vote.posted by: Oldman on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Many of "the Euros" and most of the French (including nearly all of the French political class) will never be "on our side" so long as we oppose islamic and arab totalitarianism with force as well as diplomacy. It's unfortunate that we have to choose between an intelligent ie forceful approach to the totalitarian wave confronting us, but pretending that the French are allies will not make the choice go away. Different world now. Time for us to stop wasting so much time with Euro "allies" who won't help us and can't hurt us, and start developing much closer bilateral ties with rising democratic nations to the east, esp India, also Turkey and (in the near future) a democratic Iran.posted by: tombo on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
It is true that I am committed strongly, but I'm not fanatical. And it doesn't take much of a radical to be against Bush's policies. As it turns out, Kenneth Pollack and the Army War College number among his critics. To be honest, I expect to get a fair number of policies I don't like from Dean if he should be elected. However, I would settle for somebody who doesn't engage in botched policy implementation, and is more pragmatic and interested in the issues than Bush even if I disagree with him. Remember before you call me a fanatic, I supported Dole over Clinton, and even as a supporter I have to say anyone who voted for Dole had to be pretty Republican. GW Bush is very much less Republican than Dean is, even if Winston's spending numbers are true. I don't hate Bush, but I don't want to bet everything on Colin Powell sticking around for another term either.
Btw thanks for the back-handed compliment in there DT. According to you, Dean is going to win the Iowa Caucas big and of course that's what the oldman is working for.posted by: Oldman on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
"Think for a minute just how nutty this is. Would a normal person put up with this idiocy? Are Iowa Democrats masochistic screwballs?"
Who won the Republican caucuses in 2000? Are Bush's supporters in Iowa a bunch of nutcases?
"He took on and beat one of Jesse Helms' proteges in a racially-backwards and Republican-leaning state."
Uh . . . exactly why is North Carolina racially-backwards?posted by: nc on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
“GW Bush is very much less Republican than Dean is”
The Oldman is not a rabid fanatic, but he is someone who is willing to do far more for his candidate of choice than most political followers. It appears that he has even traveled to Iowa to aid Howard Dean. This is definitely not the norm. How does intense sound? Is that closer to the mark? More importantly, which other Democrat presidential candidates engenders such loyalty? Howard Dean is the only Democrat candidate who truly dislikes George W. Bush. The others merely mouth the standard rhetoric. Deans supporters sensed this early on in the campaign. That is why he will win the nomination.
Oldman is a Pat Buchanan clone---except for the anti-semitism. He needs to reevaluate his party membership as did the the latter gentleman. The Oldman is a foreign policy isolationist and a trade protectionist. These are no longer mainstream Republican positions. He needs to find another political home.posted by: David Thomson on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
As the piece you link says, but you may have missed, Pollack is "a Clinton-era National Security Council member."
The author of the Army War College piece much in the news this week, Dr. Jeffrey Record, is well credentialed as a staffer for Democratic politicians, but the first line in his very interesting report reads: "The views expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government." And as the Christian Science Monitor piece you linked itself notes, "senior officials at the Pentagon 'do not appear to be pleased' with the Army War College report."
Neither of these sources can fairly be characterized as Bush Administration insiders, if you're intending to mention them in the same breath as Paul O'Neill. They're obviously partisan critics, which doesn't necessarily mean they're all wet, but does mean they should be suspected of considerable pre-existing bias against the Bush Administration.
Regarding Edwards, my one-sentence take:
Despite his baby face and comparatively thin credentials, he would have been a very formidable nominee, but he is now most likely to be a solid vice presidential nominee one who (as was the case with Lieberman in 2000) may prompt many Democrats to wish come election-time that he were at the top of the ticket.posted by: Beldar on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Actually contra some of the reporting and politician's pronouncements, the Army War College itself is not criticizing Bush, they are publishing a piece from a lefty...posted by: HH on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
The Washington Post included this quote in their recent review of Edwards' campaign:
"The real test for America will come after Saddam is gone," Mr. Edwards said last February. "Will we make the commitment to help build a peaceful, democratic, post-Saddam Iraq?"
Edwards was not willing to make that commitment; he voted against the $87 billion for military and reconstruction spending.posted by: Pat Curley on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
"Vermont state spending grew 83% under Dean from 1992 through 2001, 58% faster than the state's economy."
I can't vouch for the honesty of Vermont's GOP, but ...posted by: Jim Thomason on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Regarding Oldman's comment that he would be supporting McCain if he were running: Mccain would have differed from Dean on the pivotal issue that dean relies on - He WOULD HAVE invaded Iraq.
Sorry, but this says more about your feelings about the establishment and/or George W than it does about your political ideals.
As a McCain supporter i shudder to think of dean as president.posted by: Bill on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
“January 14, 2004
EDWARDS MOMENTUM GROWING IN IOWA? This comment from a Dean worker on Daniel Drezner's blog says that it's really happening.
posted at 06:11 PM by Glenn Reynolds”
Gee whiz, Instapundit is reading our stuff. We have hit the big time. Glenn Reynolds, though, needs to return to our discussion group and read the latter comments of the Oldman:
“And yeah, I like Edwards too. My support for Dean is in part due to his large well organized campaign, I don't think that even if Edwards has charisma he can beat Bush's political machine.”
Everybody seems to “like” John Edwards. But that doesn’t sound like they will go to the wall for him. Nah, Edwards will only be a good running mate. He’s not the type to win the whole enchilada!posted by: David Thomson on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
and much more here:posted by: Jim Thomason on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Well, nc, the recent case of Darryl Hunt only put the latest national spotlight on the kind of racial resentment here.
But I'd say the fact that Jesse Helms served for 5 terms from here says it all, don't you? For his swan song, he ran an ad showing a pair of white hands crumpling a piece of paper, as the announcer explained that the apparent termination notice was because of affirmative action.
Don't get too upset, though. Our state is not at all unique in the South in its backwards racial attitudes. It's how the Republicans were able to devise the "Southern Strategy" that's still working today.
Last post on this subject, as it is off the subject of this thread.posted by: Fred Arnold on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
I know nothing about Edwards, but an early victory by him somewhere would at least make the Democratic campaign more entertaining. The media would go nuts as it would improve ratings.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Telebol, Edwards' policy books may be thick with details, but Americans (and Europeans, I suspect) don't really care. Nor do we care that much about "foreign policy experience", or how much legislation someone got through Congress, or most any of the usual bogus yardsticks media wonks crank out in order to meet their wordage requirements.
Americans look to a president to exercise leadership. Any candidate who is perceived as a leader has a huge advantage over someone who presents popular policy plans but is seen as offering wimpish leadership skills.
In addition, most Americans have some sense, perhaps poorly formed, of what they think this country should be and what it should do. A candidate who impresses them as likely to be in agreement with their views, and as someone who will lead the country in the "right" direction, will get their vote.
Edwards' policy books could be full of brillians or gibberish, but if he convinces people he can actually lead them, those books are irrelevant come election day.posted by: billg on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
It's 2004. We're no longer living in a time of peace, but a time of war. Bush didn't have much experience in 2000, but, then again, Clinton didn't have much in 1992. Both got elected anyway, because Americans had decided that "experience" wasn't needed any more.
We're at war now, so the American people no longer believe that experience doesn't matter. Bush has solid experience, and has done a pretty damn good job. Edwards has none.
Bye bye, Edwards.posted by: Greg D on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Anybody who thinks people outside the Beltway care a snap about who the Europeans would like for president is out of touch enough to seriously consider medicating.posted by: Jerry on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Kerry is taking away liberal voters from Dean and Edwards is up and down in the polls. Geaphardt is consistent. One thing on Zogby's poll, he has not included many indpendents who are in support of Gephardt.
Dean, and Kerry have the most amount of supporters who are not strongly commited to them. That is why you have the swap in voters between the two.
What people forget is Edwards will have to have 15% in order to be counted in the caucuses.
Gephardt has by far the best organizational support. Dean's supporters are newbies at this.
Not too many people know Gephardt leads Dean in delegates in Maryland. And Gephardt is getting black chuch leaders in Michigan to endorse him over Dean, Kerry and Edwards.
It is always fun to read the spin in the press when polls don't mean much in Iowa caucuses.posted by: Loud Mouths on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
I agree that government officials base their policies on more important considerations than the personality of the President. However, I don't think those policies are always created to serve *national* interests. Sometimes, officials do what they must to save their jobs. Sometimes, governments act in response to political pressure from voters, and the attitudes of voters *can* be affected by such things. If public opinion in Britain is running 60% against us, then it's going to be that much harder to keep the support of the British government. Call me naive, but I think a President who can state a focused, articulate case for the action we need to take can make things a little easier for valuable allies like Tony Blair, John Howard and Jose Aznar. Thus, it's reasonable for us to want a leader who not only understands what needs to be done, but is able to make the case for it persuasively to a broad audience. This is not Bush's strong suit.
It's not that we need anyone's permission to fight this war. On the contrary, the pompous arrogance of Europe's self-proclaimed leaders during the runup to the Iraqi war disgusts me. It's just that fighting this war will be easier if we have broad support, and keeping broad support involves putting out a message that will appeal to voters in Europe (especially Britain), and maybe even make Chiraq sweat a little. Again, I'm not saying this is essential in a Presidential candidate, just that it would be a plus--one of the few plusses Democrats (and Edwards in particular) can bring to the table right now.
Now if only they could find someone with the guts and vision to fight this war in the first place...posted by: Nathan on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Any thoughts on this being a "warm-up" run for Edwards, with his real chances coming in 2008. If he gets chosen as the VP candidate, or if he simply has a respectable showing, does that enhance his chances in 2008? Or is Hillary a forgone conclusion in 2008?posted by: Scott Harris on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
The Dean people are trying to "scare" everyone into believing he has this thing sewn up.
First, he has nothing sewn up. This is Iowa and then new Hampshire? Nothing is REAL until South Carolina, folks, and that's when the real talent of John Edwards will come through. Edwards should be not just my guy and my friends' guy, he should be everyone's guy.
It scares me a lot reading posts by Dean people and seeing people actually support him. It's mind boggling. A New England leftist with his scary rabble rousing and angry speech is a scary trend if that's what Democrats actually think. Acting like a no-charisma jackass should have only worked for John Kerry and it's apparently working for Dean also.
Dean people, think hard about what you're doing. In your obssession to follow this "cultish" candidate to the bitter ends of the earth, he will (and deservedly so) get absolutely slaughtered by GW Bush.
Let me make this simple. I am a moderate Democrat and I live in Virginia. My support is very much behind John Edwards, followed by Wes Clark, then Joe Lieberman, and then Dick Gephardt. That's it. If you people make the wrong decision and continue to shove this angry leftist psycho Dean in our faces, I will (along with many of my moderate Democrat friends who may not have loved Bush's reasons but were not against removing a tyrannical beats like Saddam from power) VOTE FOR BUSH IF DEAN IS THE NOMINEE.
So will a lot of moderate Virginians and many, many other moderate southerners, who otherwise would support an honorable moderate man like John Edwards.posted by: Alex R. on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Just curious: why does Clark make your list? How does his indecision about Iraq, his belief (if such it is) that "life begins with the mothers choice," or his apparent lack of deep political conviction on any issue not related to the military impress you? Clark is the not-Dean General, but what else does he offer?posted by: Nathan on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Of the two tax "cuts" which Dean claims credit for, the first was actually just allowing a temporary tax hike to expire in the mid-1990The temporary tax hike (as you probably knew) was a brainchild of Dean's Republican predecessor to cover a huge deficit, and not only did Dean let it expire after the budget was balanced, he dropped he rate one extra percent (25 to 24). That's a cut.
Forty-eight states had budget crises this year. Vermont was one of the other two. He left a large rainy-day fund.posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
I'm with Nathan, but maybe in the other direction. I can't see why someone who accepts Clark anathematizes Dean; their policies are close.
Edwards is the most appealing of the pro-war candidates, largely because the more experienced ones have already shown they just don't have the mojo to defeat Bush. (A vote for Lieberman is about as likely to defeat Bush as a vote for Nader.)posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
I am a Gore voter from 2000 who turned into a Dennis Miller Republican in the year-long metamorphosis that 40 million of us "moderates" went through in the year after 9-11. The destruction of the Democratic Party lies in the false assumption that the Iraq War was really ever a topic for debate after 9-11.
Saddam was the only world leader who applauded the 9-11 attacks. Think about it. Others might have felt they were America's enemies, but they at least had the class and good sense to at least pretend that they were sad.
Iraq was slated for democracy regardless of whether 9-11 happened...and rightly so because the freeing of that country would dramatically bolster the world economy in any case. The rise in radical Sunni Islam resulting in 9-11: only made the overthrow of Sunni hegemony in the Muslim world priority #1. The Iraq War made the Shiite Muslims the dominant power of Islam...overthrowing more than 1000 years of history...all because a bunch of Sunnis were, like Hitler and Hirohito, foolish enough to attack the democratic west.
Just as Americans in World War Two would have humiliated a pro-Nazi Republican candidate, they will humiliate any Democratic candidate who says that he was against removing Saddam. That now includes:
Clark: the disgraced general who is now lying about being against the war when his only chance of winning against Bush would have been to say he was for the war but against Bush's social policies.
Dean: who openly states in today's USWorld News that he is deliberately "energizing" the leftist base because mass psychology theory states that the center will always gravitate toward the extreme that gets more excited than the other extreme.
Kerry: His weasel words make him worse than Dean on the Iraq War. I respect Dean and Clark more than Kerry because of the French way that Kerry behaves. Kerry basically says that he would not have gone to war in Iraq without French permission...and I believe that! At least with Dean and Clark: we know that they are lying about being against the Iraq War and that they are both OK with the idea of preemptive war. Kerry is just another Ted Kennedy. Scary!
Edwards: Voted against supporting the troops and the reconstruction of Iraq this fall. He had the chance to be the pro-democracy, pro-liberation Democratic candidate who could win...and he blew it. I say this as someone who voted for Gore in 2000.
Lieberman: Couldn't win.
Clinton: She has intelligently kept herself from getting an anti-war label put on her...but she clearly wasn't enough in favor of the liberation to ever get my vote for anything again.
And I speak as a former Gore voter.
I would vote for Zell Miller however. He is the kind of Democrat this country needs to fill up the ranks of the party
The Democratic Party is otherwise in the process of self-destruction. I envision 20 years of them getting 35% of the vote if they don't start "getting it" regarding geopolitics and if they continue to appear like they have completely forgotten 9-11.
PS: Even Arafat was officially heartbroken over the 9-11 attacks (Arafat looked pale and frightened on 9-11 because he has understood that American foreign policy for 40 years has been that he would be killed if Arab terrorists ever struck on American soil - Bush spared him after 9-11, but then Arafat answered the nice gesture with an attempted assassination of Colin Powell in April 2002 near the Tel Aviv Airport).posted by: Jim Peterson on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
The reason Edwards is not running for Senate again is that he can't win re-election. He won the first time by the simple fact that he had no record of public service what so ever. He had never heald public office or even voted. A person with no record should always have a serious advantage over somebody with a record, who could have actually have been in favor or against something that somebody might not like. When North Carolinians found out what he was really all about (from afar since he never spent any time in NC from then on) they decided he didn't really represent their needs.
There is also a strange phenomenon that the seat opposite of Jesse Helms was always a one-termer. The seat has turned over every 6 years for as long as I can remember.
The NC Republican party is sad to see him go. They probably wasted a lot of money preparing the ads stating that "he voted with Ted Kennedy and the Washington Liberals 90% of the time."
The Democratic party fast-tracked him the minute he got to Washington basically because he's smooth and good-looking. The quote I heard was "Bill Clinton without the Bimbos".posted by: DSpears on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
This is priceless. The Lefties bought a pig-in-a-poke and now they're looking at the other candidates to see who can back them out of this mess they've gotten themselves into.
Sorry. Too late. You guys are going with the psycho ex-mayor of Vermont and we're going with the guy who's changing the world, whether the world likes it or not. Hey, good luck!posted by: spongeworthy on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
For the record, I want to repudiate the RNC staffers who have posted several times on here that Edwards is running for President because NC Democrats don't like him.
Funny that, given that he was 20 points up on Richard Burr when he declared he wasn't running. Funny that, given that over 60% of North Carolinians support his candidacy for President.
Had he chosen to run for Senate instead of the Presidency (which he is going to win, by the way) six weeks of focus in the state would have put him inalterably ahead of Burr (who does, after all, share the same last name as a treasonous murderer).
Don't believe these planted stories. Edwards has been and remains very popular. The coordinated letter campaign of the North Carolina Republican Party, which surprisingly found members who can read and write, or at least trace, notwithstanding.posted by: DrFrankLives on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
A Dennis Miller Republican?
A Dennis Miller Republican!? HA! I guess that means you give little thought to your vote, so long as your instinct for self-promotion and facility with vocabulary and obscure cultural references enables you to appear intelligent - even if your comments are written by a staff of 8. You never finish a project you start, you can't act, and everything you try to do is eventually cancelled for lack of interest, or for outright hatred of what you have done (see, eg, Monday Night Football).
Cool. Maybe there are more of you on the blogosphere than I thought.posted by: DrFrankLives on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Andrew J. Lazarus wrote:
The temporary tax hike (as you probably knew) was a brainchild of Dean's Republican predecessor to cover a huge deficit, and not only did Dean let it expire after the budget was balanced, he dropped he rate one extra percent (25 to 24). That's a cut.
Not according to the Boston Globe (click on my name for the link to the column):
On the campaign's website, Dean is even more specific, saying that his two cuts reduced the state's top income tax rate from 13.5 percent to 9.5 percent.
Note: since this was pretty much an automatic thing, I did not give Dean the blame either for the temporary tax increase. However I may have been overly generous:
The Dean campaign referred further questions to former state Senator Peter Shumlin, who was the Democratic minority leader at the time. Shumlin's viewpoint is that Dean deserves credit for ensuring that the Snelling plan on income taxes remained intact, but acknowledged that Dean did not sign the bill to cut income taxes.
In other words, the first tax cut happened because of Dean’s predecessor (as did the temporary tax hike) but it appears then that Dean actually had to take direct action to keep the other rates high! Which means then that he’s worse not better on taxes than I earlier indicated. Here was Dean’s actual contribution to lowering some income taxes:
Starting in 2000, the state income tax rate dropped from 9.9 percent to 9.5 percent. This is the income tax rate reduction for which Dean can claim credit -- much smaller than the drop from 13.5 percent claimed by the Dean campaign.
In other word, Dean’s actual tax cut was shaving .4 off of the top rate, much smaller than what Andrew Lazarus claims. Also with regards to sales taxes (mentioned earlier):
While the section of Dean's website on his fiscal record highlights his role in eliminating the sales tax on clothing items, it omits the fact that the overall sales tax was raised from 4 percent to 5 percent during Dean's tenure.The article neglects to mention though that the “elimination of the sales tax on clothing” actually only applies to clothing under $110.00. Dean also tried to get a $.67 a pack hike in the cigarette excise tax while governor and I believed settled for $.24 a pack as well as a number of specific tax hikes directed on corporations, hotels, gasoline, and property. posted by: Thorley Winston on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
The Oldman ... is someone who is willing to do far more for his candidate of choice than most political followers. It appears that he has even traveled to Iowa to aid Howard Dean. This is definitely not the norm.
No, but it is normal to choose participating in the political process when you're a local resident. The oldman's current work contract is in Iowa. The rest of your piece is similarly filled with bullsh*t that sounds good but is profoundly ignorant of simple fact.
Like I called into regional radio stations and wrote in advocating that we invade Iraq on the theory of Saddam not having WMD now but if sanctions lapsed he'd get 'em for sure. However, like Jackson Diehl I don't believe one good intention justifies a botched operation. Incompetency, not ideals are my beef. You were wrong when you tried to tar me as an anti-semite and you're wrong when you now falsely accuse me of being against military intervention. What I don't believe in is botched political conquests.posted by: Oldman on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
They're obviously partisan critics, which doesn't necessarily mean they're all wet, but does mean they should be suspected of considerable pre-existing bias against the Bush Administration.
Kenneth Pollack not only wrote the book The Threatening Storm: The case for invading Iraq, but recently he wrote a Foreign Affairs piece that says the occupation is doing much more good than bad. You may suspect Pollack of as much bias as you please, but it is not borne out in fact.
Indeed, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) as well as other prominent Republicans have severe reservations about the truthfulness of the Admin.
“I don’t want to give in to a great lie. You can’t buy your way out of this problem. . . . You can’t take $10 billion of taxpayer money, [while] people are losing their jobs, to buy your way out of a great lie...”posted by: Oldman on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Dear Lazarus and Winston,
Thank you both for a stimulating discussion on the tax-policies of Dean. I will definitely look more closely into it. However if the difference is between tax&spend Dems and borruw&spend Repubs, the difference may not be that great in the end. Both lead to living beyond one's means.
Dear Alex R,
If you people make the wrong decision and continue to shove this angry leftist psycho Dean in our faces, I will (along with many of my moderate Democrat friends .... ) VOTE FOR BUSH IF DEAN IS THE NOMINEE.
Your political opinion is your own. However, as a Dean supporter let me say I expect many of his policies to be necessarily tempered by realism. Second of all, there are two guys who go on the top ticket and I don't even expect the good doctor to be #1 necessarily. In 2000, Bush defeated the Democrats because they allowed themselves to be divided among the idealists and the centrists. This time there must be a centrist candidate and there must be someone who draws the left. Both sides must come together, or else Bush surely will win.
While I respect your strong beliefs, please consider the possibility that it may not be either-or. A reined in Dean who can deliver the left, and a centrist candidate like Kerry, Clark, or Edwards in combination are necessary. Otherwise it won't work. And if you still want to vote for Bush, then that's your choice. November will decide all.
News from the ground in Iowa. Much is touted by those who say that many Democrats are undecided according to polls. When I go door-to-door or call phone lists, they tell me also at first that they're undecided. However "soft-sell" techniques that draw out conversation, reveal that only about 1 in 3 undecideds are truly undecided. Some will vote for any Democratic candidate and will say so openly, these are also the least likely to say they'll caucas since they don't care who they vote for in November. Others really mean that they prefer two or three candidates but haven't firmly committed to just one candidate. My personal experiences here are confirmed by this CSM reporting.
This is entirely rational, since in the caucases people divide into preference groups in each precint but they can change their minds. If in my precint for instance, if it looks like there are few Dean supporters I may change my mind in order to swing the vote against Gephardt (so much for Dave Thomson's accusation of me as a protectionist) in favor for Kerry or Edwards.
Also turnout for all the candidates may be high. There is sentiment among many Democrats that they may go this year, even if they have an arrangment with neighbors to alternate primaries or don't necessarily go and just vote for the Democratic candidate in November. This is true in all the support groups I've talked to. Also much support for Kerry is coming from veterans or admirers of his war-record, his followers may be less flexible than is commonly reported. It is commonly known here on the ground that Kerry volunteers are actually much more determined to support their man than Dean supporters, who like me are more flexible. I don't see Kerry's vote going to Dean, from everything I've seen ... and I say that as a Dean volunteer. It's more likely they'll go with Edwards or vice-versa. Edwards also seems immune to charges of him being an "ambulence-chaser". The fact that he is a younger wealthy self-made businessman of family values appeals to the affluent and upper-income/educated demographic that like him. Certainly we Dean supporters can almost lay odds on the chances of Edward's support by the niceness of the house. Also allot of Gephardt's support is hardline from labor and elderly people, who have a notoriously high turn-out. To boost openly for my candidate, I have to say though that the growth of commited Dean supporters in key precints is growing and seems to be on target based on convo's the higher-ups in the paid Dean aide crowd.
Dean is clearly leading in the polls here in Iowa, but it's still a horse race and there could be an upset. Certainly we Dean volunteers are taking no chances. I'll be canvassing later today. The race is by no means sown-up.
May the best candidate win!posted by: Oldman on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
A trial lawyer is a "businessman"? Interesting concept. More like entrepreneurs, or used-car salesmen?
Dr Frank said "A Dennis Miller Republican!? HA! I guess that means you give little thought to your vote, so long as your instinct for self-promotion and facility with..."
With all do respect 'Frank', I don't think you get the gist of Jim's post. I fit, to-the-T, the Jim's definition of the 'Dennis Miller' Republican. I was a life long Dem, Gore 2k voter, realigned by 9-11 and the alienation I felt from the reactionary left, at both the leadership and base levels. Histrionics, paranoia, a delusional fringe, moral equivalence, and a failure to understand that WE ARE AT WAR-have all left a bitter taste in my mouth. Call it a personal epiphany or a bad choice, I don't care which. The days of a party with vision, integrity, and commitment, the party of FDR and JFK are dead to me. I, no WE, are the refugees of a bankrupt political party that is spiraling into an abyss of irrelevance. Don't paint me a an RNC'er either, I doubt I'll ever carry an R on my voters ID card. One thing is certain, I will vote for GWB in '04 because the DNC no longer seems to have it in it's heart to do what is right for the nation.
And I am not alone. Got it?posted by: bV on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Oldman, thanks for the reply. Dr. Kenneth Pollack may traditionally have been a hawk, but he's been a Democratic hawk. I'm not dismissing him altogether and certainly not dis'g him, mind you, even though I don't agree with his report's conclusions. But he does have a reputation as something of a contrarian. And to repeat my original point, a criticism or disagreement from him cannot fairly be viewed as being equivalent to one coming from a Bush Administration insider or an "official spokesman" for the Departments of Defense or State, which is the way Wes Clark and others have been playing this.posted by: Beldar on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Thank you for your polite reply. I agree with your point. Pollack cannot be portrayed reasonably as a Admin insider. That is clearly erroneous. However, I would disagree that he is to be suspected as a disaffected critic of Iraq war matters. He has been strongly pro-war and pro-occupation since day one. I don't think this declaration is biased by the fact that he happens to be a Democrat. And if it's Republicans you want, many of them have expressed extreme dismay and have talked about being conn'ed by the Administration. They're just quieter about it to keep party discipline.posted by: Oldman on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
On Edwards' surge - "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."
No offense to the visually impaired implied. A blind or one-eyed person will have no difficulty seeing through the machinations of these shallow candidates.posted by: erp on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
Was George Bush a deserter?posted by: Wren on 01.14.04 at 10:24 AM [permalink]
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