John Edwards: Wails of Desperation

I offered a stinging critique of John Edwards in my previous post. Since then, he has given his opponents even more ammunition to use against him. After boldly asserting that the Lincoln Bedroom was not for rent, John Edwards offered this lame disclaimer to NBC news:

Nothing I said yesterday has to do with other presidential candidates. They need to move on from thinking about themselves and think about what's important to the country.
How unbelievably childish.

The 7-10 is not a partisan blog. While I have my own political leanings, I try not to let these biases influence my writing here to the point that I become a fire-breather or a bomb-thrower. There are enough bloggers like that out there and I do not wish to join their ranks. But I must say that John Edwards is rapidly losing any respect I once had for him, and I can only imagine how many other voters feel the same way.

How stupid does John Edwards think voters are? Since he seems to think voters are absolutely brainless, let me break it down. In politics, the person sitting at the top of the hill has the advantage of not having to go on offense because that elevates their rivals. When you're running behind, you have to attack and draw blood. Nobody really wants to go negative, but that's what you have to do if you want to gain ground on a candidate who's ahead of you in the polls. It is no secret that Hillary Clinton is way ahead of John Edwards in most national polls and in most polls of the early voting states, with the exception of Iowa, which John Edwards absolutely must win if he wants to have a shot at the nomination.

Because Clinton has been gaining ground on Edwards in Iowa, he has opened up a steady barrage of attacks against her. First, he attacked her for accepting campaign contributions from lobbyists. That was an effective line of attack because despite Edwards' hypocrisy on this issue (as a former trial lawyer who received lots of campaign contributions from other trial lawyers), he at least planted a legitimate question in voters' minds and forced her into the awkward position of having to defend lobbyists, which never really looks good. He has also challenged Clinton to refuse all contributions from lobbyists for the rest of the campaign. That was fine too, even though many politicians attempt such shenanigans only to find there are no takers. Edwards also had a good talking point attacking Clinton by saying "we can't replace their (Republican) insiders with our insiders."

So, in light of all these recent attacks aimed directly at Hillary Clinton, how can he then make a quip about the Lincoln Bedroom and then deny that it had anything to do with her? He never said anything about the Lincoln Bedroom in his 2004 campaign! It is very obvious that he was taking a swipe at the Clinton brand and all of the controversy and scandals surrounding it. The attack itself was strong, but his denial of its intended target is absolutely pathetic and causes the listener to remember the weak denial more than the actual attack. And then he has the gall to tell the other candidates that they need to get over themselves and "think about what's important for the country?" Whatever happened to no more personal Washington-style attacks?

I smell a loser. Name-calling is not presidential. Hypocrisy is not presidential. Denying the obvious is not presidential. Simply put, John Edwards' campaign is unraveling and he knows it. Voters can support outraged candidates, particularly if their outrage is shared. This is why populist campaigns can be so effective. But there's a difference between running as someone who is "sick and tired" of whatever ails this country and running as someone who is simply angry. And right now, John Edwards is coming across angry. And ugly. And petty.

And unpresidential.

The Dick Gephardt presidential campaign model of placing all your chips in Iowa failed in 2004. John Edwards adopted the same model in 2008 and it's failing him too.

I expect him to be the next candidate to drop out of the race. At this rate, he might not even make it to Halloween.

5 comment(s):

Anonymous said...

Nice mention in today's State newspaper, AP!

Anthony Palmer said...

Oh wow!

Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention!

I saw it posted on The State's website here.

Hopefully someone from the Edwards campaign reads it so he can right his ship. If another campaign reads it and turns what I said into talking points first, Edwards could be in even bigger trouble.

Anonymous said...

They should all be reading this... best analysis out there. Keep up the good work.

Peace Czar said...

Just spent the past hour+ reading your posts. Very thorough, very calculated analysis. And while it is refreshing to read a nonpartisan blog, please don't be afraid to be more candid.

Perhaps I speak this way due to my strongest support being for Kucinich and Edwards. These are the candidates that are vocally supporting real issues and real change. I recognize you're objectively critiquing campaign strategy, but if one speaks too objectively, they veer into robot territory, just like Hillary. Her Al Davis strategy of "Just win, baby" is maddening.

Something that you cannot quantify in a poll is the "fire" a given candidate possesses and instills into their supporters. To that end, one Kucinich supporter has more passion than 5 complacent Hillary supporters. Equally, the populist, anti-corporate message that Edwards puts forth has far more urgency than the other top-tier talking points. I would say it is these very messages, and not his little squabbles, that hurt his support. He's not aiming to have any friends in DC; he wants to boot the corporate lobbyists out. And if that's the climate he is facing, of course mainstream media is going to criticize and ignore him. I would love to hear your thoughts on those very subjects. More about the character of candidates' platforms and issues, less about fabricated media "stories". I recognize you are speaking as an aspiring strategist, so our interests are slightly different. Nevertheless, I might as well continue my thoughts.

Until voters, and media figures, fully recognize that corporate excess is core issue hindering the ills in America, nothing much will change. Edwards speaks with true conviction at his experience and ability taking on these entities. I obviously come across as an Edwards defender (as I am), but I'd defend anyone who's willing to go out on a limb and say what truly needs to be said.

Thanks for reading my comments. My blog isn't much to speak of (yet), but I welcome you to check out my website/business of political art. www.bleedingheartsclub.com

Two closing thoughts. If you haven't already, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the possibility of Al Gore entering the race. The best place to weigh in on his viability (with polling evidence) is www.draftgore.com

Finally, and I've noted it in a few of your posts: stop hating on Gravel. Seriously. The candidates that voice moral outrage (Gravel, Edwards less so, and Kucinich in his more optimistic but incisive manner) need to be heard. Considering the state of national and world affairs, these are precisely the voices that need to be heard. It's not all polished rhetoric and professionalism. Otherwise the Democrats will get a political weathervane like Hillary, and I am staunchly ABH. Too many media figures mistake politeness and complacency for professionalism. Not that I am labeling you as such, but "objective journalism" is a joke if it doesn't take in all the voices and opinions being heard. Otherwise the mainstream candidates just get perpetuated, and we don't hear the unique voices that are the wellspring of real ideas.

Anthony Palmer said...

Hello, Peace Czar.

Thanks for reading The 7-10 and spending over an hour (!) doing so.

Regarding Edwards, I've thought about his passion and how that is not really quantifiable. Obama seems to inspire voters, but Edwards seems to galvanize them. Obama is running as the reformer, while Edwards is running as the crusader.

The problem for Edwards is that he will not beat Clinton as long as Obama is in his way. They are both drawing from the same well of voters.

As for Gore, I think he needs at least Obama or Edwards to fall before he enters the race. If Biden, Dodd, or Richardson don't catch on, Gore will have his opening because there wouldn't be a veteran ABH candidate in the top tier. I would expect a lot of Hillary's supporters to move to Gore.

As for Gravel, I don't consider him to be a credible candidate. He does have a few good ideas, but for every good point he makes, he makes three other remarks that qualify as gaffes, misguided missiles, directionless ramblings, or random musings. I think it's fine to include him in the presidential dialogue, but see no reason why he should continue to be invited to the debates.

I checked out your blog, by the way. The artwork is both provocative and impressive. I can only imagine what bumper stickers you'll come up with before the next election. Quite creative.

Thanks again for reading The 7-10 and for posting your detailed, constructive comment. By all means, please continue to check out the blog for more (hopefully intelligent) political analysis.

Copyright 2007-2008 by Anthony Palmer. This material may not be republished or redistributed in any manner without the expressed written permission of the author, nor may this material be cited elsewhere without proper attribution. All rights reserved. The 7-10 is syndicated by Newstex.