The Long Good-bye

Only rarely do we discuss the John Edwards’ campaign for president. Why bother?

On April 20, 2007 we did write Edwards Drifts Away. Our contention was that his newly built huge compound and the posting of $400 haircuts on his campaign expense account, among other mistakes, betrayed a campaign machinery more notable for the sand in its gears than the sheen of the exterior.

In fairness, some of the problems the Edwards campaign has inflicted on itself were aided and abetted by Lady Luck. For instance, when Edwards, in a desperate move to counter the pending Obama candidacy announcement, by rescheduling that preliminary announcement announcement to Christmas week, he did not know that his ploy to garner a few crumbs of publicity in that news lull week would be thwarted by the dual coffins of James Brown and President Gerald Ford. Sometimes you just can’t get a break.

We also wrote, in late May, in a too long post called Let’s Help Richardson, Edwards, Obama Day , that aside from the lengthy list of mistakes, Edwards failed to realize that Obama had effectively neutered the Edwards campaign message of “two Americas”. Therefore, we also wrote that Edwards needed to completely retool, what contary to dictionary definition, is referred to as his “campaign”. While we believed it was too late for such a retooling, we were kind enough to provide Edwards with a blueprint for the types of changes he needed to make to credibly stay in the race.

Yesterday, June 6, 2007 Edwards was greeted by excerpts from a soon to be released Sunday New York Times Magazine cover story. The excerpts indicate Sunday will be another rough day for Edwards and his diminishing band of supporters. We won’t belabor the many problems with the Edwards campaign listed in the article. Read it if you so desire. If you have read our earlier posts on Edwards you will not be surprised by what the article indicates:

“While Edwards was denouncing inequality across the land, he was also building, near Chapel Hill, the largest home in the county, a 28,000-square-foot mansion with its own indoor basketball and squash courts. He also made news recently for receiving a $400 haircut in a Los Angeles hotel room… Any half-witted political consultant could have told Edwards that, if he really wanted to run for president this time as the champion of the working poor, then maybe he should stay away from haircuts that cost twice what a minimum-wage worker makes in a week. In fact, some advisor with more than half a wit probably did try to tell him, but Edwards seems determined not to be ‘handled’ in this way, to avoid the overcalculation that appeared to paralyze Kerry in 2004.”

Pity. The anti-poverty message is a worthy one.

Now, let’s ignore the singular accomplishment of John Edwards in the Senate, his co-sponsorship, not mere voting for, the Iraq resolution and his rejection of any amendments, such as the Byrd Amendment, to impose limits on George Bush. About that vote John Edwards said “I was wrong.”

Let’s look instead at his Senate record on poverty — Edwards’ alleged signature issue. Edwards voted for the Bankruptcy Bill which badly harmed the poor and the struggling middle class. Let’s read Edwards’ echo statement rejecting once again his own history, this time on the misguided Bankruptcy Bill.

“I’m now spending a lot of my time tackling the challenges of poverty, but I learned a lot about bankruptcy on the campaign trail last year. I saw how many good families end up broke and poor, and how they need the safety net of a fair bankruptcy law if they’re going to get back on their feet.”

“Like a lot of Democrats, I voted for a bankruptcy reform bill before. I can’t say it more simply than this: I was wrong.”

John Edwards did not need to learn anything, not a single solitary thing about “bankruptcy on the campaign trail” to know the horror of a Bankruptcy Bill he voted for. All John Edwards had to do was consult his Bankruptcy lawyer wife. It’s time they had another talk, about the bankruptcy of his campaign.

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