Requiem For A Phony


At one point during John Edward’s facile announcement that he was seeking the presidency, I could have sworn he was standing in front of a green screen. He had this weird chroma-key lighting going on during one of the post announcement interviews. Like he was standing in front of a computer generated house, complete with computer generated devastation. Combined with his cheesy Stepford-grin and faux working-man attire, that weird lighting gave him the aura of a mid-market television weather man predicting a plague of locusts.

Given that his slogan last time around was, “Working 4 You“, it isn’t much of a stretch to imagine him as the local NBC affilliate’s weekend weather guy. He is, after all, slightly less creepy than Tim Ross.

The big question is whether Edwards and his plastic populism will sell this time around. Probably not.

He plays on the fears and class resentment of the blue collar types. He positions himself as the champion of the little man. Except, you know, when he’s trying to cut in front of them in line at the Wal-Mart.

Does anyone really buy his doubletalk regarding the Wal-Mart Incident? Johnny may want to rethink some things before running for the highest office in the land.

If you are railing against Wal-Mart and their corporate practices, perhaps you shouldn’t have your flunkies try to score you a Playstation 3 from the same people you are calling evil corporate wrong-doers. Wal-Mart nailed you with their hilarious press release:

“The Company noted the PlayStation3 is an extremely popular item this Christmas season, and while the rest of America’s working families are waiting patiently in line, Senator Edwards wants to cut to the front. While, we cannot guarantee that Sen. Edwards will be among one of the first to obtain a PlayStation3, we are certain Sen. Edwards will be able to find great gifts for everyone on his Christmas list – many at Wal-Mart’s “roll-back prices.”

Three problems with Edwards spring to mind concerning the Wal-Mart Incident.

First, he was attempting to purchase a $600 gaming platform for his six-year old. As we live in Two Americas tm, he clearly lives in the one with a shitload of disposable income.

Second, as these things are flying off the shelf, there is no shortage of people who are willing to shell out $600 bucks for a gaming platform. Maybe the economy isn’t in the toilet, despite what ACORN and SEIU are telling him.

Third, apparently an overzealous staffer is the one who called Wal-Mart on Edwards’ behalf. If his own staff isn’t clear on the whole “Wal-Mart=Bad” thing, how is that going to play when it comes time to talk to North Korea? That’s a far-fetched example, you might say, and you might be right. But a failure to communicate one’s message within the campaign office portends a hard slog for someone attempting to communicate to the electorate at large.

As a leader, Mr. Edwards is responsible for everything his people do or fail to do. A typical chickenshit move for any weak leader is to blame a staffer or a volunteer when something goes wrong.

The leadership question brings us back to New Orleans. Edwards wanted a dramatic backdrop to illustrate that he is working on behalf of the common man, the downtrodden, the needy. Or at least while the cameras were rolling, he is.


That’s the first thing I noticed, as a demolition and environmental abatement professional, was Edwards lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). If you notice from the pictures taken back in the spring for his photo-op test run, he isn’t wearing any. The girl he is working alongside is wearing a Tvyek suit, hardhat, eye protection, dust mask and gloves. That is an appropriate level of PPE for the hazards one would encounter in a typical Katrina-damaged home. Edwards has on gloves and a dust mask.

Sure he is sweating buckets. You would be too after five minutes of shoveling in the Lower Ninth Ward. It gets a little humid around them parts.

Yesterday’s photo-op was more of the same. Except his button down shirt had more starch in it as he acted like he was cleaning up someone’s yard.

What this country needs isn’t a man who will join 700 college kids working through charities in cleaning up New Orleans over Spring Break in order to get his picture in the paper. We need someone who will mobilize 7000 people to go down there and clean up New Orleans.

The job of President of the United States does not involve any ditch digging or wheel-barrow driving to the best of my knowledge. It involves marshalling the resources and leading the people in the efforts that the nation requires. We don’t expect our Presidents to fly sorties against enemy targets, unless the President is played by Bill Pullman.

I know about fifty Guatamalans in this town that can shovel circles around John Edwards. Any one of them would probably make a better President, too.


14 Responses to “Requiem For A Phony”

  1. Sean Braisted Says:

    Three Cheers…I can’t stand that idiot.

  2. SistaSmiff Says:

    I can’t stand him either. He’s a weasely little turd who may be an intelligent man, but, not a presidential bone in his body. I can’t stand to hear his whiny little voice.

  3. Sharon Cobb Says:

    Very well written and said.

  4. Mack Says:

    Nah, gotta call bullshit on that. He doesn’t go around the country the country claiming to BE one of the working poor, he claims to understand their plight. The WalMart "incident" is a ridiculous reach, brother. A savvy pol tells some lowly staffer to "get my kid a ps3, by any means necessary?" No way. Someone was trying to score points, and no leader is expected to take the fall for every mis-step someone far down the chain makes. As for the photo-op, quick, name me one politician that doesn’t employ them. They are a propaganda tool. Does this make his message suspect? Here’s the thing, I’m not in his camp, for other reasons, his inexperience, and his vote on the war. But I admire what he has accomplished in his life, and he is saying things that need to be said. Funny thing, I canvassed my ass off during the 04 elections, and here in my county, I kept hearing his name mentioned as someone they could get behind. House after house. He may be formidible in this state, if he gets that far. He is likely to do well in Iowa, and South Carolina. I guess I am at least relieved that you didn’t pull out the old "but he’s a trial lawyer!" argument.

  5. Sarcastro Says:

    Oh, poor deluded Mack.Tell me that Edwards doesn’t play the, "As the son of a millworker…" card everytime he opens his mouth around the working class. He can’t authentically claim to be one of them, but he claims to come from the same stock.As far as the ambitious staffer defense goes, I think Henry II used it when he said, "Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?"Your defense of the photo op is, "Everyone else does it." Yep, sure sounds like a leader to me. Have you had the conversation with your kids yet, "that just because the other boys are jumping off cliffs, it doesn’t mean you have to"?If Edwards wants to build credibility by exploiting the Bush administration’s failures in New Orleans, fine. But stay down there directing clean up for six months, instead of showing up to get slightly dirty for the cameras. Otherwise, he will continue to come off as a wealthy dilettante trial lawyer. Yeah, I went there.

  6. Exador Says:

    What he’s accomplished in his life?As an ambulance-chasing lawyer. Ya want someone to blame for rising medical costs and the plight of the poor? Go no further than John Edwards.He’s a weasel, which makes him perfect for DC, but is that what we really need more of?He looks remarkably like John Ritter.

  7. Mack Says:

    Ahem. Are you saying that when I speak of my parent’s trials as undocumented immigrants, I am "playing a card?". I believe he is, like me, merely illuminating the terrain upon which he finds himself deployed. (sorry, I love that phrase.) No, seriously, he IS the son of a mill-worker, not born into wealth and privelege. So, it’s fact. As for saying he does photo ops, "because everyone else does them", well, no, I didn’t say that. He does them AS well as anyone else, becasue they work. I suppose they are a necessary evil. Look, the guy worked hard, has been, by all accounts a model husband and father, and took on some cases that made him wealthy. He’s a little green for me, and I don’t like his stance on gay marriage, or immigration. But I find it troubling that there are those that sit on the sidelines, and call this accomplished man names like "phony." Ever see Reagan atop his horse? Bush with a chain saw in his hands? It’s the biz.

  8. Sarcastro Says:

    Dude, you totally play the "I was born a poor black child" card, when talking about the trials that your immigrant parents endured.Not that there is anything wrong with that."As for the photo-op, quick, name me one politician that doesn’t employ them." Your words. Quick, tell me that doesn’t smack of "But Dad, all the other kids are having a photo op!".People who own ranches or farms are often seen riding a horse and clearing brush. Although, I haven’t seen you actually ride that horse. If Edwards owned a demolition/abatement company, it wouldn’t seem so contrived for him to be working on a jobsite. Even for just five minutes. He showed up at the house at 1:30 p.m. Now that’s commitment!

  9. Mack Says:

    Well, you got me on the horse thing, since the colt is too young, and the mare too green. But I can ride. And I cut the hell out of some brush. No, it doesn’t smack of "all the other kids." It works, it’s a commonly used propaganda tool. Not using opportunities like that is akin to bringing a knife to a gunfight, no? Also, my angry but well intentioned amigo, make up your mind…had he worked all day, you would have said (as evidenced above) that he has no business doing that! I believe he is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t with you. No matter. Reagan was an actor, didn’t own a ranch for a living. Whose to say that Edwards doesn’t do yard work as a hobby? And ask your friend Exador what W. ever accomplished….

  10. Mack Says:

    Oh, and my bringing up my parents history is a way to lend some credibility to the fact that I know a little something about recent immigrants to this country. I’ll remind you that I don’t use it to gain favor from anyone. And do you want this fucking Kahlua or what?

  11. Sarcastro Says:

    Let’s not do anything hasty with that Kahlua, amigo.Had Edwards worked all day, I would be at least minimally impressed. He didn’t. Until I see him wearing the bunny suit and the rest of the PPE gear, I refuse to believe that he spent anymore time cleaning up those houses than he does combing his hair in the morning. His routine is to show us just how much he "cares" by going down there for the photo op. His interest is only in how much he can benefit by making the Repubs look bad.If he wants to work down there, fine get to work. But don’t think we are all so blind to not see him posturing for the camera’s benefit. If he wants to really make an impact he can mobilize some folks and show a modicum of leadership. Those two are not mutually exclusive, Jefe. His approach is dumb for two reasons:We have all grown up on photo ops. They are losing their punch. Dukakis in a tank was a photo op. How’d that one turn out? Edwards is a little too obvious in his pandering. A better photo op would have been him surrounded by a couple hundred of the actual volunteers, instead of pretending to work with those volunteers.Second, he isn’t running against Bush. Or for that matter anyone in that administration. His true hurdle will be the Democratic primary. All of whom will share the view that the Feds fucked up the Katrina response. Which makes his grand demonstration of his compassion for those in need essentially pointless.

  12. Sarcastro Says:

    Oh, and I’m pretty sure that Ex didn’t vote for Bush either time.I may be wrong, but his truck has a bumpersticker that shows his loathing for both major parties. Pretty sure he voted Libertarian in protest.

  13. Mack Says:

    I still say you would have flayed him no matter what…and that may be the larger point of contention I have with you. I’d know for sure, except that I’m a good way into this bottle…mmmmmm delicious.

  14. Sarcastro Says:

    What would be my motivation to flay him?He comes off as a cheap huckster ready to sell Springfield a monorail. Isn’t that reason enough?

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