John Edwards

Edwards: Hope Lite


Despite copping Bill Clinton's rhetorical thumb-jab and as much of the Man from Hope mythology as copyright law allows, John Edwards is no Bill Clinton. Clinton, for all his flaws and pathologies, was not a straight-ticket liberal. And John Edwards is.

Edwards' speech stacked up the gifts a Kerry administration would bestow upon Americans like the final, desperate appeal of an infomercial.

"We'll give you the tax credit, free health care, an official college degree (suitable for framing), the juicer, the peeler, the sander, and the anal wand! Now what would you pay?"

Contrast that with the Clinton construction of promising people "the tools and conditions to make the most of their lives." Subtle, with plenty of wiggle room, yes, but with Clinton at least you do not immediately wonder who is going to pay for all the stuff. And most Americans really do not have a continental entitlement mindset, not until they reach 65 at least.

It took three tries, but Clinton did sign a welfare reform package that liberals called "legislation which repeals the 60 year old social safety net for the poor." And blood would fill the streets.

So when Edwards says a Kerry administration would "finish the job on welfare reform," I think he means finish off welfare reform.

Kerry-Edwards can get away with telling a Democratic convention audience that two-percent of America can pay for all the Euro-state goodies. (A claim which, incidentally, is spooking the hell out of Wall St., where traders actually think the rest of America will buy this line.)

But it sets up a perfect pitch for the GOP to knock out of the park, as they have done on tax issues for 20 years now.

NEXT: Hey Joe, Where You Gonna Go?

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  1. I heard that comment about finishing welfare reform, and I had to scratch my head, too.

    What does that mean coming from Edwards?

  2. but with Clinton at least you do not immediately wonder who is going to pay for all the stuff.

    The only difference this implies is that Clinton perhaps is smarter; or at least a more experienced politician: smarter in that his speeches are couched in terms that do not lead the listener to immediately ponder the implications; more experienced in that he signed an offensive (to him) bill to take from his enemies a weapon that otherwise would be held against him, possibly assuming he could undo the damage later (sound familiar?).


  3. “But it sets up a perfect pitch for the GOP to knock out of the park, as they have done on tax issues for 20 years now.”

    Interesting choice of time frame – you get to preclude Reagan’s “largest tax increase in history,” foisted upon the GOP in the early 80s once the public saw the consequences of his “largest tax cut in history.”

    However, there is a difference between the tax debate we’re facing next Spring, and those of the past 20 years – for the first time, the tax structure under attack is a Republican tax structure. In all other cases, it was Republicans criticizing a Democratic tax system, whether an old one (as Reagan did, vs the remainder of the New Deal/Post-war Democratic tax system), a new one (as Gingrich did, vs Clinton’s not-yet-recognized-as-wildly-successful economic plan in the 94 election), or a expected-to-contine one (as old Bush did with his No New Taxes line).

    This time, George Bush and the Republican Congress are in the unpleasant position of having to play defense of the status quo economic policy.

  4. Well, at least this big government rhetoric is consistent with his voting record. He is one of the biggest spenders in the senate!

    How do your Rep and Senators vote on spending issues?

  5. Calling the convention an infomercial is spot on. Kerry–who looks a little like Ron Popeil–was even employing the “the audience chants the product slogan on cue,” in his acceptance speech, a la Ron hawking Showtime Rotisseries. Want to cook a chicken? “Set it and forget it!” Want to “save” the country? “Help is on the way!” Although, I’d argue that the convention audience was a little less into it than Ron’s was.

    And by the way, healthcare still isn’t a right.

  6. Does anyone know what the salary figure is for the “top 2%” that Edwards mentions raising taxes on? I have a feeling it’s around $200,000 and I feel most people think it’s around 18 million or something, as they think the top 2% consists only of movie stars and the producers of Clean Sweep.

  7. Treasury and the Joint Tax Committee used to have these breakdowns, but I haven’t checked lately.

    The paradox is although the top 2% IS a lot lower AGI number than most people think, you could take ALL their money and still not really raise that much revenue. The broad middle is where all the revenue resides……

  8. IF Kerry/Edwards are elected, the process of increasing taxes will result in increases against more then the top 2%. That is likely because debates and compromises between the 535 people in Congress and the people in a Kerry admin will distort then original 2%. Always happens.

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