July 8, 2004
Choosing John Edwards as his vice presidential running mate was the smartest decision John Kerry could have made. Edwards is the best choice for the job and this decision confirms that Kerry has a lot of class. He wasn't afraid to choose the man whom he may not be comfortable hanging out with or who might possibly upstage him. In Kerry's words:
There is no denying that John Edwards has vision. He believes in one America where everyone has the opportunity to build and live a better life, as opposed to the "two Americas" under Bush who broke his promise to be a uniter, not a divider:
He is charismatic and persuasive, the best person to help John Kerry convince the nation to make America whole once again, not divided along party and economic lines. His integrity, conviction and faith in our core values inspire optimism and the hope that in spite of the last four years, all is not lost.
Of course, the attack dogs were ready with their negative criticism of John Edwards even before they knew he was chosen. Let's examine their theme song, which I'm sure will be played repeatedly on every "fair and balanced" news outlet near you:
1. Edwards was not Kerry's first choice. The Republican National Committee already started running ads on cable called "First Choice", boasting that John McCain and not Edwards was Kerry's first pick for vice president. They conveniently ignored the statement from McCain's chief of staff Mark Salter ["Senator McCain categorically states that he has not been offered the vice presidency by anyone"] as reported by the Associated Press last June.
Kerry toying with the idea of running with John McCain, at the very least, shows that he is openminded enough to consider a bipartisan ticket; I don't know how that reflects poorly on John Edwards. Cheney himself was Bush's second choice as well. Who was his first choice? You guessed it, John McCain.
2. Edwards is inexperienced. They ignored the fact that Edwards and Bush had the same amount of experience coming in to their respective initial nominations. If it's good enough for president, why not for vice president? The Washington Post [registration required] provides this 1999 quote from Republican Senator Orrin Hatch:
3. Edwards is a personal injury lawyer. This is a manipulative line of reasoning, using the public's distaste for lawyers. The bigger question is not whether Edwards is a lawyer--after all, most of our legislators and officials in government in both parties are lawyers--but whether he represented frivolous lawsuits.
The RNC should learn from the experience of North Carolina Senator Lauch Faircloth who lost his reelection bid to Edwards in 1998. He wanted to paint Edwards as a sleazy, greedy lawyer; instead, he only managed to paint himself as a champion of big corporations because Edwards specialized in representing average people against corporations and professionals who committed gross negligence or malpractice. The Washington Monthly describes his biggest case as follows:
4. Edwards is a liberal. A blatant attempt to divide the voters into party lines, between right and left as opposed to who's the best for the country. And exactly how liberal is Edwards? The Charlotte Observer [registration required] summed up the findings of the National Journal:
Notice how the four talking points above are all about Edwards' personality and not the issues. I feel like banging a gavel and sternly admonishing, "stick to the issues, the issues, people!".
Really, is this the best they can do? I'll try to bite my tongue and not say bring it on.
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Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.
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