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Edwards on Iran: flipping or flopping?
Posted by: McQ on Monday, November 05, 2007

If you watched the Democratic debate, you know that most of the candidates disagreed with Hillary Clinton about her vote on a non-binding resolution addressing Iran and the declaration of the Revolutionary Guard there as a terrorist organization. None was more forceful in declaring how big of a mistake it was than John Edwards:
EDWARDS: And I think it's fair in that regard to look at what people have said. Senator Clinton says that she believes she can be the candidate for change, but she defends a broken system that's corrupt in Washington, D.C.
She says she will end the war, but she continues to say she'll keep combat troops in Iraq and continue combat missions in Iraq.

To me, that's not ending the war, that's a continuation of the war.

She says she'll stand up to George Bush on Iran. She just said it again. And, in fact, she voted to give George Bush the first step in moving militarily on Iran — and he's taken it. Bush and Cheney have taken it. They have now declared the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization and a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction.
That was October 30th. But as Ben Smith at Politico reports, until September 7th, this passage was on the Edwards campaign site:
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard will soon be deemed a terrorist organization by the U.S. As president, Edwards will ensure that such steps are not just more rhetoric, but actually lead to results.
I think any reasonable person would interpret that to mean that Edwards endorses the declaration and is claiming that unlike others, he'd take steps to ensure such a declaration means something in terms of actions taken.

Since then, however, the line has been replaced with this:
Congress recently passed a bill to declare Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. We saw in Iraq where such steps by Congress can lead President Bush. Edwards has announced his opposition to this bill.
Another change of mind? Does he regret formerly supporting such a move? If he was fooled once, isn't it supposed to be harder to fool him the second time? So what was up before September 7th?

Don't really want to revive the flip flop meme, but let's face it, those two statements aren't even remotely similar. I sure would like to hear from John Edwards about why he held the position he did on September 6th and why it wasn't a dangerous position then, but was on the 7th.

If I had to guess, I'd guess that's the day his campaign found out that Hillary Clinton would be voting for it.

"The American people ... deserve a president of the United States that they know will tell them the truth and won't say one thing one time and something different at a different time," -John Edwards
 
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Old Edwards: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard will soon be deemed a terrorist organization by the U.S. As president, Edwards will ensure that such steps are not just more rhetoric, but actually lead to results.

McQ:I think any reasonable person would interpret that to mean that Edwards endorses the declaration and is claiming that unlike others, he’d take steps to ensure such a declaration means something in terms of actions taken.
I don’t care to defend Edwards but in the interest of benefit of the doubt I don’t think the statement is necessarily support. It certainly can be read that way and is therefore a fine example of politician-speak that avoids specifics.

If the old Edwards is rewritten to say something like: "This step is just more rhetoric. As President I will instead take actions that get results" I think it can be argued that it matches a fair reading of the original statement, just without the weasel-room.

Then obviously the debate becomes what exactly Edwards expects will get results, which is where the real focus should be rather than a flip-flop question.

What is the Edwards plan? From what I understand it is pretty much like those of the other Dems: talk, appeasement, plus an unrealistic expectation of what China and Russia and Europe would pressure Iran to accept.

(Also fwiw, it is possible Edwards supported labeling IRG as terrorists but not the actual final form that came out.)
 
Written By: abw
URL: http://abw.mee.nu
Occam’s razor: If the purpose of putting a policy statement or position paper out is to clarify your policy or position, why would you purposely intend the opposite of what you wrote to be the policy or position.

It is clear in the first statement that he sees the declaration of the IRG as a terrorist organization to be a good thing and even goes on to say that he’d ensure, as president, that such a declaration was more than mere rhetoric. I.e. he implies he would ensure it had some teeth.

In the second statement he’s stating he’s opposed to the bill which declares the IRG a terrorist organization because he doesn’t trust Bush.

If that were true for the second statement, why wouldn’t it have been true for the first? Is the only reason he doesn’t support the declaration about the IRG is because he doesn’t trust Bush? Did he think that such a declaration wouldn’t involve Bush? Did something change where he trusted Bush on Sep. 6th but not on the 7th?

No. Obviously what changed was the political wind and I’m guessing that when he found out that Clinton had decided to back the declaration he changed his position. Pure politics and certainly not the hallmark of a principled politician by any stretch.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Come now, McQ: I’d much rather think Zebras than Horses if I hear hoofs. It’s far more interesting.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Stop picking on Edwards, or he’ll play the "chick card", too.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
certainly not the hallmark of a principled politician
Edwards? Why would anyone think principled with respect to Edwards?

The guy got rich using lawsuits based upon junk science and emotional appeals. He checked any principles years ago . . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
If the purpose of putting a policy statement or position paper out is to clarify your policy or position,
And if the purpose of shoes were to keep the hair dry, we’d wear them on our heads.
 
Written By: Milhouse
URL: http://
In reality, neither message probably had anything to do with the pretty pony. Both were manufactured by campaign hacks on autopilot.
 
Written By: Ron Coleman
URL: http://www.likelihoodofsuccess.com
Politicians put out statements that can mean the opposite of what they say in order to attract more voters. Edwards wants to be tough on terrorism and anti-war, anti-Bush at the same time.

I followed the links and found a fuller context:
Pressure Iran to stop supporting insurgents in Iraq. Iran is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, actively supporting terrorist and insurgent activity not only in Iraq but in other areas, such as Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Our policy must aim to stamp out state-sponsored terrorism targeting Israel, our strongest ally in the region. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard will soon be deemed a terrorist organization by the U.S. As president, Edwards will ensure that such steps are not just more rhetoric, but actually lead to results. He will increase both diplomatic contact with the Iranian government and diplomatic pressure on the Revolutionary Guard to shut down its support of insurgent activity in Iraq and in other areas, such as Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. He will also work with multilateral partners to forge a coalition to apply diplomatic and economic pressure to stop Iran’s involvement in insurgent and terrorist activity in Iraq.
Yes Edwards says Iran is involved in insurgent and terrorist activity in Iraq. He does not however say that the IRG are the terrorists. Also increasing "diplomatic pressure" on IRG is not necessarily support for labeling them a terrorist organization. Sometimes diplomacy involves turning blind eyes to unpleasant facts.

But again, parsing Edwards and playing gotcha is not very productive. The better discussion is whether or not calling the IRG terrorists is a good idea.
 
Written By: abw
URL: http://abw.mee.nu
"... The better discussion is whether or not calling the IRG terrorists is a good idea. ..."

We can call the IRG "choirboys" and "saints", and think it’s a great idea and feel good about it all we want. We may even pat ourselves on the back because the entire UN membership agrees. However, that doesn’t mean it’s so.

The better discussion is to be frank and honest about what they really ARE. And then decide what we’re going to do about it.
 
Written By: fd col
URL: http://
It seems eminently reasonable to support a given tool (sanctions being one) in the right hands, while opposing steps to put them in the hands of the retarded (such as Bush).

One would have to have pretty lousy judgment not to understand that basic principle.
 
Written By: jpe
URL: http://
One would have to have pretty lousy judgment not to understand that basic principle.
So why didn’t Edwards appeart to understand that prior to Sep. 7th?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
All you neocons think Edwards is flipping cause none of you have the brains he does.
Get a clue, the world is sick and tired of you rethugs. The world will be a better place once you all die off from being fat and uneducated.
 
Written By: Rainlillie
URL: http://greatmindsthinklikemerainlillie.blogspot.com/
" ... The world will be a better place once you all die off from being fat and uneducated. ..."

Fat, maybe. Uneducated? Nope. But we "rethugs" are evil enough to keep oppressing people like you, and we breed instead of aborting our young.

We’ll stick around while your ilk dies off or merges with the "Singularity". LOL
 
Written By: fd col
URL: http://
"He will increase both diplomatic contact with the Iranian government and diplomatic pressure on the Revolutionary Guard to shut down its support of insurgent activity in Iraq and in other areas, such as Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. He will also work with multilateral partners to forge a coalition to apply diplomatic and economic pressure to stop Iran’s involvement in insurgent and terrorist activity in Iraq."

Ah yes, diplomatic pressure. The mere mention strikes terror into the hearts of homicial, suicidal, rabid, foaming-at-the mouth heads of Islamic mobs. Slaughtering them by the thousand in every battle we can trap them into doesn’t stop them, but diplomatic pressure; it’s so obvious! God, why didn’t anyone think of this before?
 
Written By: willis
URL: http://

 
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