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"I Was Wrong"

My John Edwards fandom increases. There's a right way to flip-flop and there's a wrong way. This is the right way.

April 14, 2005 | Permalink

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» Edwards says it right from Battlepanda
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. This guy has got class and a genuine connection with people. Not just a pretty face. [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 14, 2005 2:14:50 PM

» Wow: John Edwards on Talking Points Memo from Saheli*: Musings and Observations
Matt Yglesias brought this to my attention, and Yglesias is right: this is a great way to say you're wrong. . . ." Hey, the system works sometimes! A professor gets paid to do research! Her students learn by helping her! They find out stuff that's us... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 14, 2005 2:32:48 PM

Comments

You may want to take that advice regarding your previous Blair posts.

Petey, your guy is looking impressive.

Posted by: theCoach | Apr 14, 2005 12:49:06 PM

Well, he is a trial lawyer, y'know.

Posted by: abb1 | Apr 14, 2005 12:52:03 PM

From Edwards' Web site:

Check out these great video clips!
04/05 - John Edwards visits Iowa
02/05 - Edwards In New Hampshire

He's not even pretending to be hiding what he's up to.

Not that I mind at all.

Posted by: Decnavda | Apr 14, 2005 1:06:37 PM

His statement is essentialy HL Menckens' reply to the question "What would you say if you died, went to heaven, and found Jesus and the 12 Apostles there?"

Posted by: The Dark Avenger | Apr 14, 2005 1:33:41 PM

I like Edwards as a person (persona?), as a politician, and as a speaker. What continues to trouble me is his experience gap. I still can't imagine a one-term Senator winning the presidency in 2008.

Posted by: Iron Lungfish | Apr 14, 2005 1:54:27 PM

Well, Lung, he's run the gauntlet of, well, running once. It seems doubtful that people'll remember that he's inexperienced.

Posted by: TJ | Apr 14, 2005 2:00:35 PM

Now, if he'd do a similar mea culpa about his Iraq war vote, since it showed equally poor judgment. Thousands of Americans killed and wounded, hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis killed and wound; all in the interest of building his own "defense credentials" so he could have a run at the presidency. If you can get his mea culpa on this, get one from Hillary and Kerry, too. They also vote in their own political self-interest, instead of the interest of the people. It's ironic, isn't it, that all of their speeches sound as though they are really interested in the people?

Posted by: poputonian | Apr 14, 2005 2:04:50 PM

Edwards' blog post contains another news-making snippet -- provided one quotes out of context. As in, So how's life out of politics treating you, Mr. Edwards?

"I'm now spending a lot of my time tackling the
challenges of poverty...."

Posted by: Grumpy | Apr 14, 2005 2:08:14 PM

I think it's great that both of them, Kerry and Edwards, aren't just moping. Kerry's doing more than plugging away at this job, and Edwards could have and no one would have blamed him at all. It's not like he doesn't have plenty of things to do.

It always seemed to me that campaigning would be great if there wasn't an election at the end of it. Roadtrip Squared. (BTW, Matt, I still think you should go on a cross-country roadtrip this summer!). Working just from first principles, there's no reason why a going from place to place in the country, talking to people, hanging out with civic groups, helping unions and fundraisers, etc. etc. couldn't actually be what politicians pretend a campaign is while knowing it's not: learning about the country, spreading ideas, building a sense of community, all that cheesy stuff. Having a big gap between now and the election seems like a good way to make it all a little more real. Seems like a good idea to me. And hopefully in the meantime some good local causes will get a little boost of press and fundraising.

Posted by: Saheli | Apr 14, 2005 2:13:40 PM

Well, Lung, he's run the gauntlet of, well, running once. It seems doubtful that people'll remember that he's inexperienced.

Running for Vice-President is hardly a qualification for taking on the Oval Office itself - and he took plenty of heat during the campaign for his lack of experience, including those rather infamous accusations of not showing up to the Senate. What's especially troubling is his lack of foreign policy experience. Terrorism is not going to vanish as an issue, as a lot of Dems seem to keep hoping it will, and the bar on that issue is always higher and harder to clear for Democrats than it is for Republicans, who are always assumed to be "stronger" on military matters.

Posted by: Iron Lungfish | Apr 14, 2005 2:26:08 PM

Nah, he has a good name recognition and everyone's seen him on TV - that's more than enough.

Posted by: abb1 | Apr 14, 2005 2:30:35 PM

Edwards is the man in 2008.

Posted by: joe o | Apr 14, 2005 2:37:12 PM

What's especially troubling is his lack of foreign policy experience

remind me, how much foreign policy experience did W have ? (not counting outings with Uncle Bandar, of course - that's family)

Posted by: cleek | Apr 14, 2005 2:37:49 PM

Gee, a Democrat comes out against the bankruptcy bill, citing working families and millionaire CEOs. I'm all choked up. The COURAGE it must have taken to do that!

What is even more impressive is the depth of the intellectual analysis Mr. Edwards revealed in his message. Astonishing!

Let's make that man our next President!

Posted by: ostap | Apr 14, 2005 2:38:03 PM

Nah, he has a good name recognition and everyone's seen him on TV - that's more than enough.


It wasn't enough for his closest analogy in the GOP: Dan Quayle.

Posted by: Al | Apr 14, 2005 2:44:19 PM

ostap,I think you are reading this incorrectly. There is an art to surviving politically difficult things, such as the dreaded flip flop. John Edwards is showing a good knack for hitting the right tone.
At least that is my take.

Posted by: theCoach | Apr 14, 2005 2:47:18 PM

Al,
Quayle's problem was that he actually one the Vice Presidency and the American people were then exposed to him.

Posted by: theCoach | Apr 14, 2005 2:49:07 PM

Gee, a Democrat comes out against the bankruptcy bill, citing working families and millionaire CEOs. I'm all choked up. The COURAGE it must have taken to do that!

Yup. It's John Edwards and Noam Chomsky now.

Posted by: abb1 | Apr 14, 2005 2:50:25 PM

Lung,

I think you're misoverestimating the degree to which experience counts. The appearance of experience seems to be enough, and I was really only saying that the exposure he got whilst running (primary and general elections) will ameliorate the appearance of inexperience. If nothing else, he can defuse future accusations of inexperience by claiming the accusations are tired, old, political tricks. Etc.

Posted by: TJ | Apr 14, 2005 2:55:25 PM

remind me, how much foreign policy experience did W have ?

Cleek, are you telling me that there's been no shift in voting priorities between 2000 and 2005? If nothing else, the 2004 exit polls strongly disagree with you. 9/11 may not have changed everything, but it did give this country a fixation on national security and terror that it simply hadn't had in years. Those are elements that do NOT play well with Edwards's massive lack of foreign policy accomplishments.

Posted by: Iron Lungfish | Apr 14, 2005 2:59:52 PM

TJ -

I agree that appearances trump reality in almost any situation, but this doesn't help Edwards. He looked young and inexperienced in 2004; unless he's planning to borrow some of Kerry's crags in a couple years, he's still not gonna look experienced come 2008. His previous campaign experience won't translate into policy experience if he still looks like a fresh-faced waif.

He's also up against the greater perception - in the public and in the media - that Democrats are weak on national security. I'm not sure what to do about this myself, because Republicans have, by any objective measure, been fantastically weak on national security over the last couple decades and kept this image alive by sheer posturing (see Bush). But the least we can do is send in someone with SOME foreign policy credentials into the fight.

Posted by: Iron Lungfish | Apr 14, 2005 3:09:46 PM

Cleek, are you telling me that there's been no shift in voting priorities between 2000 and 2005?

no. i'm saying Bush was a no-experience kleptocrat with strong ties to the country most responsible for 9/11.

you're right about the change in priorities.

Posted by: cleek | Apr 14, 2005 3:14:04 PM

I'm not sure what to do about this myself, because Republicans have, by any objective measure, been fantastically weak on national security over the last couple decades and kept this image alive by sheer posturing (see Bush). But the least we can do is send in someone with SOME foreign policy credentials into the fight.

But to reiterate, the very success of sheer posturing by President Bush, enough to win him reelection despite a lack of real foreign policy achievements in national security and terror, shows that no one needs foreign policy credentials anymore. Senator Kerry has actual Senate foreign policy credentials, as well as military credentials. And he sure coasted to victory, didn't he? Mr. Edwards just needs to start acting like he's tough, maybe throw in a few assertions that as President he too would feel free to snatch citizens and non-citizens alike off the street and detain them forever. A codpiece wouldn't hurt, either.

Snark aside, I will admit that I would rather see someone who's more self-evidently a foreign policy tough guy. General Clark is an obvious option, and will lead to a campaign where he is painted as a Milosevic-loving pacifist who hates America, while Governor Bush or Senator Frist seizes the nomination on the basis of his amazing foreign policy achievements. Crap, the snark came back when I wasn't paying attention.

Oh, and abb1: Jane Harman, Jane Harman! :-)

Posted by: mds | Apr 14, 2005 3:27:22 PM

From today's The Note:

Tonight, Edwards keynotes a conference on fairness at the New School University in New York, where he'll focus on taxes — specifically, how he thinks Republicans have shifted the tax burden to reward wealth over work, and to signal to Democrats that this is a core issue to focus on.

Some excerpts:

"We must take away the biggest shelter in the current tax code: the fact that the very wealthiest are able to shelter capital gains and dividends from the Alternative Minimum Tax. The very purpose of the AMT is to make sure the very wealthy pay their fair share and leave the middle class alone. But thanks to this administration, the AMT is doing exactly the opposite. It is increasingly hitting middle class families, including a large number of New Yorkers. President Bush likes to talk about himself as a tax-cutter, but the truth is that the AMT is a big tax-raiser on many middle-class families.

"At the same time, the AMT is not taxing many of the multimillionaires it was meant to tax. Why? Because the wealthy have the sweetest shelter in the business: their capital gains and dividends get special breaks from the regular rate in the AMT."

Posted by: Petey | Apr 14, 2005 3:47:33 PM

Glad to see you coming around on Edwards, my choice for '08 at this point. As for his lack of foreign policy credentials, assuming there is not another terrorist attack or another war before '08 (big assumptions, I know), I don't think the issue will be as big as it was in '04. Moreover, Edwards would be running against a non-incumbent. And someone like Bill Frist is not exactly Dwight Eisenhower. Nonetheless, it might pay for Edwards to put someone like Clark on his ticket if he is the nominee.

Posted by: Paleo | Apr 14, 2005 3:48:51 PM

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