Tuesday, October 05, 2004
More on Mr Edwards, 'Populist'
More in John Edwards, man of the people.
"WALL STREET JOURNAL - The Edwards campaign merely shrugged this spring when Sen. Kerry's press secretary assailed the North Carolinian's White House bid as "wholly funded by trial lawyers."
More remarkable yet was how Edwards's spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri had earlier responded to similar sniping: "We have no problem if 100% of our money came from trial lawyers."
Extracted from the LA Weekly: Edwards' legislative record - what little there is of it - is hardly populist. In fact, Edwards is a classic, corporate-friendly, centrist New Democrat. In his five years as a freshman senator, Edwards on his own produced little legislation, much less than some other first-termers - although he was assigned by Tom Daschle to represent the Democrats in negotiations over a patients' bill of rights, and so can boast he was a co-sponsor of the final, but aborted, bill.
However, there's one highly significant chapter in his Senate career omitted from Edwards' campaign Web site. Edwards, who comes from a state where banking is big business, played a critical role in brokering legislation to allow banks to sell mutual funds and insurance, and to
engage in other speculative ventures. This law, worth hundreds of billions to the banks, blasted a gigantic hole in the Glass-Steagal banking law's firewall of protections designed to prevent the kinds of bank collapses that marked the Great Depression of the '30s - meaning that it put the money of Joe Six-Pack depositors at risk. Such a gigantic boon to the banking lobby can hardly be classed as a populist victory.
Sometimes, the pamphlet contradicts Edwards' reality. Example: "Some tax lawyers make millions through flimsy letters telling clients how to shelter their income. Edwards will stop these abuses," it claims. But in 1995, Edwards - already a multimillionaire - set up a professional
corporation to shelter at least $10 million in legal earnings from having to pay Medicare taxes on them, saving himself some $290,000, according to the News and Observer, which quoted a top specialist from the American Institute of CPAs as labeling this trick "gaming the system." Populist Hypocrisy?
he foreign and defense policy sections of the pamphlet are similarly airy and detail-free, with lots of boilerplate guff about "promoting democratic values." And while Edwards, when campaigning, bashes John Ashcroft for assaults on civil liberties, his pamphlet boasts that he'd "create thousands of neighborhood watch groups by 2007," which sounds suspiciously akin to Ashcroft's infamous TIPS program of setting citizen to spy on citizen. Edwards, of course, voted for both the blank check to Dubya for war in Iraq, and for the civil liberties & SHY;shredding Patriot Act. He's in no
position to take on Dubya over his lies about Iraq's WMD - for Edwards himself proclaimed, as late as October 10, 2002, "We know that Hussein has chemical and biological weapons"; and hailed the invasion of Iraq, which "still might prove a victory for people everywhere . . . who seek to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction."
The Web zine Slate called him "more hawkish than all the Democratic candidates except for Joe Lieberman." Example: As a senator, Edwards voted to deploy the "Star Wars" national missile defense as soon as possible -but you won't find this controversial position in Johnny's feel-good pamphlet. His solution to the quagmire of the U.S. occupation of Iraq is not to hand it over to the United Nations -of which Edwards has been a tart critic -but to have Iraq policed by NATO, which is not exactly what most of the world would interpret as a step toward the international rule
of law. . .
Edwards on the stump likes to proclaim, "What you see is what you get."
Not quite, Johnny.
Edwards gave loan to Federal Judge
Edwards wanted to see Social Security invested in market.