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One reason I like Edwards is that the Beltway press hates him, and tried to take him out first

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The courtiers in Versailles on the Potomac have apparently concluded that Hillary is the Democratic candidate most likely to keep their various corrupt enterprises on the government tit, uh most likely to carry their funding forward, uh, the most likely to be Moderate. (Sure, Bernstein has his book, but I'm talking the working press here.) So I guess Hillary's vote in favor of the Iraq Clusterfuck was good for something.

And I'd like to like Obama more than I do, because he seems thoughtful in a way that the others aren't, but to claim to be a movement, you've got to have a movement, and that's not the same thing as having enthusiastic crowds.

And so--leaving aside Gore, who keeps polling at a steady 15% without spending a dime--we come to Edwards. There's a semi-reasonable piece from the very well paid Nags in the Times today, which you could almost read as a make-good, except they've already fucked Edwards over so badly that nothing they do can make it good. And give Nags credit: at least his crushes are heterosexual:

Elizabeth Edwards was holding court in the sweltering basement at the Cedar County Courthouse in Tipton, Iowa....

“How many know how many members of his family went to college before he did?” Mrs. Edwards inquired.

The correct response emerged in the form of murmured guesses from a few members of the audience: None.

Mrs. Edwards nodded approvingly, and went on to question No. 2.

“How many people know what his father did?”

Again, the correct response could be heard from a few people in the audience who recalled the stock line from Mr. Edwards’ 2004 campaign speech: Worked in a mill.

Mrs. Edwards nodded proudly, so she moved in for the final question.

“How many people know the price of his most expensive haircut?”

The room burst out in a roar of laughter. Mr. Edwards grinned, barely if gamely, at the reference at the $400 hair cut that made him the subject of some derision here.

And there you go. When you think about it, Edwards has an amazing biography, and there should be more stories like his today than there are.

But as Elizabeth Edwards jokingly points out, our famously free press did Edwards serious damage with the fucking haircut story (in a classic "let's feminize the Democrats" maneuver). The VRWC managed to introduce Edwards-the-presidential-candidate to the low information voters with that story, and his numbers tanked shortly thereafter.

Edwards has the right enemies. The press, as the Howler was exhaustingly documented, just hated Gore, and the outright lies they made up about him had a great deal to do with making election 2000 close enough for Bush to steal.

And now the press hates Edwards. Why? I'd say because Edwards, through his personal biography and his post-2004 work, is equipped to have a conversation that America needs to have:

The conversation about class.

And the press, partly from self-interest, and partly because it deeply identifies with the powerful people that it teabags, desperately wants to avoid having that conversation. Can't have anything broken in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, can we?

Why is it that real wages have been flat since 1970, and a few billionaires have gotten staggeringly rich? Why is it that risk is constantly being shifted onto the shoulders of those who can least afford it, while the wealthy and the connected pull the ladder up after themselves? When the people who really run this country get a national ID and an all-powerful executive (the Bush legacy), how are they going to use that power? What happens to the culture of the mall and the automobile after peak oil? Is the empire worth keeping, since its really just a big fat subsidy for the rump districts of the Republican Party in the South?

Those are all questions we need to ask and conversations we need to have.

But I certainly can't see Hillary breathing a word about them, which is why the famously free press has made its peace with her.

And Obama may be thoughtful, but he's not giving a lot of detail on what he's thoughtful about; hope is not a strategy.

Edwards is the only one I can see raising his voice here, because as soon as you start talking about class, the rest of the conversation follows, because the class divide is the wound that infects everything else.**

So, we love him for the enemies he has made....

*And you just know, if Edwards got a $12 dollar haircut, they'd (a) call him inauthentic for that, and (b) start writing stories about how his sloppy sartorial behavior was an indicator of deep psychological problems if he ever had a hair out of place. Then they turn around and start fanning themselves over Mitt Romney's hair, fergawdsake! Couldn't we just measure their cocks and then vote on that?

** Policy prescriptions like single payer health care? Shit, that's obvious!

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Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

-- excellent post!

What's weird (or actually expected, sadly) is that the NYT magazine cover didn't even have his name anywhere.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Yep! As the caption on a "T" shirt showing two salmon swimming around a bed of gravel said, "We swam upstream, now what?" Metaphorically, those on the left have migrated, escaped nets, jumped waterfalls, and pushed against the flow of a political culture organized to mislead and harvest us - now what? We are in a class war and we are losing.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

We have geniuses in our midst. I am kicking around a longer post on this subject but just ran across this and can't let it go unrecorded:

I've been calling Romney "Mittster," but I'm beginning to think "Mittzi" is better. As in:

Mittzi Romney came to town,
Tried not to seem phony,
Stuck his head in side his hat
And spoke to Old Moroni.

(Molly Ivors, procrastinating)

Via comments at the House of Gray

It's got a good beat, you can dance to it. I give it a 9.

Tinfoil Hat Boy's picture
Submitted by Tinfoil Hat Boy on

Then: John Edwards: The George Romney of 2008

Now:

Edwards is the only one I can see raising his voice here, because as soon as you start talking about class, the rest of the conversation follows, because the class divide is the wound that infects everything else.

I like it when people change their minds - I thought you were arguing pretty strongly that Edwards' trusting Bush on the AUMF vote was disqualifying. Kos seemed to argue today that the haircut was disqualifying.

The hard thing for this dirty fucking liberal hippy fuck is I think you were right both times.

"The next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please, pay attention." - Molly Ivins

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

exercise. Blegh.

I will beat Edwards about the head, shoulders and such body parts as come to hand (without too much exertion of course) when he does, says or steps in something foolish. My only regret is that I am unlikely to find a job in time to send him a contribution before the end of this quarter; I fear the horserace touts in the media will go into one of their "HRC contributions were up, Obama's are holding steady, Edwards is down, OMH, he's doomed" conniptions.

Were it not for such forced hysterics I would say he's running a damn smart campaign. Laying low and waiting for people to get tired of the Big Two. Aside from the fact that he has little choice in the matter, it's a case where the only thing he can do is exactly the thing he should do. Keep below the radar and away from consultants and do the grassroots level thing.

Note that these views are mine alone; Corrente is far from of one mind on these matters. Primary season is like that. :)

Submitted by lambert on

What do you do, sir?

It wasn't the vote, as such, that I took Edwards to task for; it was the highly undeserved deference to Bush. I'm really paranoid about authoritarians, Gee, I wonder why, and I didn't like that deferential strain at all. But maybe the man can change. If he's got the stones to run on class, that deals with the deference issue, in my mind.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

Tinfoil Hat Boy's picture
Submitted by Tinfoil Hat Boy on

1. It appeared to me that you were among the first trying to take him out. We had some back and forth at the time - and I remember your central point: "It's the deference, stupid." I also remember your responses at Kos, and how frustrating it was that nobody addressed your central point.

2. I thought your point had validity then (though I questioned whether or not it should be a disqualifier as you seemed to be arguing), and I think your point is valid now.

3. Our current discourse simply does not take kindly to changing minds, if you are a liberal. You can change your mind with impunity if you are a Republican, and it is called (ironically) an evolving, nuanced viewpoint. If you are a dirty fucking hippy liberal fuck and you change your mind, you are a pandering, weak, pansy, faggotty loser.

I am glad you changed your mind. Edwards talking about class addresses the issue that affects all others, Iraq included, and for it he will be tarred and feathered. Obama has had some missteps of late, none of them on substance, but all revealing the problems of running a "safe" campaign. I think he's running for VP.

"A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead

How true. The neo-cons, for example.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Um, returning to topic. The antipathy to Edwards could spring from one of two things that I see happening with the U.S. press. One could be, as you say, that he says things that frighten the national elites. The other is to denigrate anyone who isn't a strutting fascist, and by so doing to narrow the spectrum of 'permissible thought' to right-wing positions. The two aren't mutually exclusive, of course.

Open discussion of class issues in the U.S. is a courageous thing to do, in any event--it has gotten other political figures killed.

Submitted by lambert on

Because culturally it's what keeps the Versailles on the Potomac the undrainable cesspool that it is.

So I'm going to keep watching Edwards on that--especially because the issue isn't even on the press's radar, and not especially in at least the parts of the blogosphere that I know.

That said, by comparison to Hillary and Obama, Edwards is looking good. (Now Gore, on the other hand...)

And I really am serious about it being a good sign for Edwards that the press tried to take him out first. These guys track this stuff full time, and they are very concerned to preserve their privileges inside the Beltway. (Shit, they deked us into this early primary thing, too, by getting Obama to jump so Hillary had to follow.)

So, if Edwards is the one they feel is the most threatening... Well....

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.