Edwards Lied

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I want to remind everyone that John Edwards said repeatedly and in no uncertain terms that he wouldn't accept the nomination for Vice-President if John Kerry offered it to him. I bet he and Kerry are going to continue this campaign as one against Bush on the issue of honesty. If so, Edwards is a hypocrite.

According to this site, he can't claim that he's reluctantly taking the job, since he's been pursuing it quite actively. Some might respond by saying that he wasn't interested in the job while he was running for president, and now that he knows he won't win the nomination he's just changed his mind. This won't do, though, because he was still saying he wouldn't do it during the last dregs of his campaign, when it was clear to everyone that Kerry would win the nomination and Edwards' presence seemed to be only to show Kerry that he was the best VP pick. That's true dishonesty if his actions are demonstrating something absolutely contrary to his words. Then again, his trial lawyer background might have been good preparation for this side of politics.

Update: More on this at Evangelical Outpost, including more claims of dishonesty.

6 Comments

I can completely believe that Edwards had no intention of accepting the VP nomination when he was campaigning for the Democratic nomination. What serious candidate, and what candidate who wants to be taken seriously, would ever be willing to settle for second place? Once that is no longer a possiblilty, then second place looks much more appealing.

Some might respond by saying that he wasn't interested in the job while he was running for president, and now that he knows he won't win the nomination he's just changed his mind. This won't do, though, because he was still saying he wouldn't do it during the last dregs of his campaign, when it was clear to everyone that Kerry would win the nomination and Edwards' presence seemed to be only to show Kerry that he was the best VP pick.

There is another reason why Edwards might have remained in the race those final weeks. One that many many commentators noted: the Democratic campaign was doing damage to Bush, was raising money for the Democratic party, and was getting the Dems free press. Commentators of all political pursuasions had originally expected that the Democratic nomination race would be horrible for the Dems because it would eat up their money and the nominees would beat each other up leaving a battered and cash poor candidate to run against Bush.

However, as the campaign played itself out (i.e. once Dean and Gephart killed each other), all the Dems trained their fire on Bush instead of each other. As a result, Bush's numbers started falling and the Dems were able to raise even more money.

Whereas the Reps originally wanted a long drawn out campaign, now it was the Dems who started rooting for a long, drawn out campaign because it would hurt Bush more than whoever would turn out to be the Dem nominee.

I think that Edwards was more than happy to keep running under these circumstances, even when it was clear that he would not win the nomination. In fact, I think that he was pressured by the Democratic higher ups to keep campaigning.

This is not to say that Edwards was not lying. He may well have been. But this I think is a plausable alternative. Or if not an alternative, than an addition to the "lying" angle--showing that he had more motivation than pure deceit and hypocricy.

I'm sorry, but if were going to quibble over this, then we should ask a more important question: why Mr. Aschcroft failed to inform the public of a white supremacist capable of killing over 10, 000 people, an entire town, in Texas!! He had the following: a dirty bomb (cyanide), weapons cache, RPGs, high-range rifles equipped with night-vision goggles, A LOT of C4 explosives, and much more. And the administration wants to route out all the terrorists!!! Why didn't Aschcroft make that public!!! I can't find the article, but if you want, I can: it�s in the NYT. (The article re-surfaced on the BBC, AP, and a few others. If that isn't hypocrisy, then what is?) What's more bothersome is that both sides lie: we all know that! What matters is how severe the lie is. (I know that one might argue what we mean by �severe�, but that�s irrelevant.) Imagine if this white man were Arab!! I'm sorry if this antagonistic (it's not meant to be), but the lies of the other side are just as bad, if not worse, I believe. And I won't begin to go into how Bush's cabinet is trying to give money to churches in order to register their congregation with the Republican Party. (Local Alabama churchgoers were up in arms about this, claiming that the party was taking advantage of them. I'll find the requisite articles if you want) I thought we had a separation of church and state...wrong government. A close friend of mine, who moved here a two years ago, told me, when living here for less than a month: �I�m a Muslim and I thought the church was involved with my state, until I came here�it�s like listening to a sermon! Don't they see what their doing.�

I'm not sure how this stuff about Ashcroft is relevant. An attorney general responsible for overseeing the maintaining of justice is doing his job by protecting the public from information that may cause a panic. People may dispute when it's appropriate to keep information back from the public, but law enforcement officials do this all the time. Telling your supporters that there's no way for you to be in the White House unless you get the nomination for president and then later agreeing to be the vice-presidential nominee is insulting to voters and not simply doing your job.

As for both sides lying, I'm still not fully convinced that Bush has deliberately told any falsehoods. I'd say the same about Ashcroft, Rice, and Powell, though I'm less sure about Cheney. I wouldn't put it past him to lie for political gain. My point wasn't that the Bush camp is innocent and Edwards not. It was that Edwards doesn't have the moral high ground to complain about any deceit on the part of the Bush Administration. I don't think Kerry does either, but I was focusing on Edwards here. The people on NPR today were justifying his actions by saying it's accepted practice. I'm just not sure how that justifies it. It's also accepted practice to say worse things about the opponent than what's true (and I admit that both sides do this), and people excuse it by saying it's just politics. That doesn't make it right.

It's quite another thing to say you don't intend to do something that you really would be happy to do just to get polical capital out of it.

I really hate this church argument. It's not new to me, but it doesn't make any more sense to me now than the first time I encountered it. Separation of church and state isn't in the Constitution, and I'd be prepared to argue that there's nothing illegitimate about religious arugments in the public sphere (as were especially common at the founding of the nation). Still, I don't see how it's problematic even given separation of church and state for individuals in churches to try to promote a political candidate among other members of their church, as long as the church doesn't endorse it. That's all the Bush campaign was asking. Besides, black churches host political candidates all the time to give political sermons that have little to do with the faith of the people in the church. I don't see how John Kerry, who has given such "sermons", can criticize Republicans for doing something weaker.

Wink, I have a lot of trouble believing that Edwards was still completely opposed to the vice-president possibility even when it was clear that he wouldn't get the presidential nomination but that over the couple months since then came to see that he really did want it. His opposition was pretty fierce. Someone on NPR today reminded me that he'd sworn on his mother's grave! How could two months make that difference? I can see how it might, but I can't think of what would have in his case. I can accept the additional motivation angle, but I have a hard time with the pure "remain in because it hurts Bush more" story.

It's not relevant!!! Well, there's no need to argue then. But keep up the good work!

I have a hard time with the pure "remain in because it hurts Bush more" story.

Me too. I raise it as a possibility, but I consider it unlikely. The only reason I find it at all plausible is that I can easily imagine the DNC pushing Edwards to stay in the race in order to hurt Bush. Edwards, needing the DNC in the long run, must comply to some degree.

I see the "additional motivation" angle as being entirely believable. So much so that you might even be able to debate which was the primary motivation, and which was the "additional" one. Of course there is no way to truly know the answer to that so it would all be speculation.

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