Edwards: Populism, Pandering and Promises Posted by: McQ
on Thursday, October 04, 2007
Apparently it is finally becoming obvious, even to John Edwards, that Hillary Clinton is set to take the nomination.
Reaction? Change costumes and attack. Great article in the Boston Globe about the not so subtle change and tactics:
Here's looking at you . . . or, at least, for you.
That's what John Edwards is doing as he takes his populist pitch to New Hampshire's North Country: embarking on a Bubba hunt.
To help, Edwards has rounded up Bob Jones, perhaps better known to TV viewers of a certain age as Cooter from "The Dukes of Hazzard," and the Bluegrass Brothers, who are cranking out some foot-tapping high harmonies.
As the event's emcee, Cooter is laying the cornpone on with a trowel. "The Dukes of Hazzard," in his telling, was one of the most popular TV shows ever, a paragon of moral values (surpassing, apparently, even such epic parables as "Hogan's Heroes" and "Gilligan's Island"). The Duke boys, you see, always did the right thing - just the way John Edwards always does.
If Cooter is leaning hard into his good ol' boy role, campaign consultant David "Mudcat"' Saunders is in full angry mode.
The official name of this campaign swing is "economic fairness for the North Country," but he and Cooter and the boys call it the " 'Let's help John Edwards screw those who screwed us tour,' " Mudcat says. Us being rural America.
And who would that be?
"Who screwed us?" he asks, voice rising in incredulity. "The Clintons screwed us." And, he adds, "Anybody that says different is delusional."
Works for me - the attacks on the Clintons that is. This is about NAFTA and the Edwards campaign loves to trot that out, especially to "rural folk".
... Edwards, who, clad in faded jeans and a crisp blue shirt up at the elbows, looks like he just stepped from the pages of Populist Quarterly.
And that's all the Edwards campaign is, a populist panderfest.
It turns out one can earn a pretty penny and still count as one of the dispossessed. Why, Edwards is promising healthcare subsidies to families pulling down as much as $100,000 a year.
If you were expecting a detailed discussion of rural problems, however, expect again. Not even earlier at UNH, where the candidate fielded a few questions from academic experts. Instead, Edwards has some basic policy ideas - universal healthcare, broadband access, a capital fund for rural America, better pay to lure teachers to rural areas, tuition help to attract nurses, plus an effort to site green industries there - whose order he rearranges depending on the question.
We ought to just code paragraphs like that with "T&S" (Tax and Spend). It really doesn't matter what the "policy idea" is, the result is always more T&S (and you can add Hillary's baby bond to the list as well).
But the "people" seem to like their legislative lollipops, and the infantalization of America continues apace. And the debt that will be passed on to future generations? Well, children just don't think about stuff like that ... not when there are goodies to be had. And those who cheered Edwards at the event thought those promised were just swell.