More and Better Bickering

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His vote share has plunged precipitiously in the first three contests—30 percent in Iowa, 17 percent in New Hampshire, 4 percent in Nevada—but John Edwards could do well in South Carolina. John Zogby's tracking polls show undecided and soft Obama voters moving to Edwards, enough to potentially give him second place. The reason? Team Edwards thinks it's because of the "bickering" seen in this ad. A radio ad expands the story:

While Senator Clinton and Senator Obama seem intent on tearing each other down, I'm intent on building you up.

This campaign isn't about us personally. It's about what we're trying to do for this country.

And you thought the presidential race was a competition between people who wanted to be president! An easy mistake to make.

Obviously there's a reason why Clinton and Obama aren't "tearing down" Edwards: He doesn't pose a threat right now. It's what happened to John McCain in the summer of 2007, as the rest of the candidates ignored him or complimented him instead of picking apart his record and business decisions. It's too bad, because asking a candidate to respond to questions about those factors sheds more light than asking a candidate what he'll do to fill every lunchbox and tuck in every schoolkid's shirt: what John Edwards wants to be asked. As David Mark argued in "Attack Ads Are Good for You!":

These aggressive tactics not only will bring to the fore important issues but may also shed light on the character of political aspirants. The way candidates respond to negative campaign tactics can be an indicator of how they would perform in public office. If they wilt under attacks or fail to respond to charges, it may be a sign they would not perform particularly well in the rough and tumble of elected office.

Along similar lines, liberal blogger Digby makes quick work of one of Mike Bloomberg's tiresome whines about partisanship.

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  1. If Edwards starts to be seen as a real threat by Clinton or the O-bomb he’ll get kneecapped faster than Nancy Kerrigan at Tonya Harding’s Ice-O-Rama.

  2. I predict there will be zero stories on CNN about “the race issue” and “the gender issue” as it applies to white people, men, and white men in South Carolina voting for Edwards.

  3. Quoting Edwards:

    This campaign isn’t about us personally. It’s about what we’re trying to do for to this country.

    Fixed it.

    You know, I think I’d love to see an Edwards/Paul general election. Because you just know Mr. Two Americas, faux populist that he is, would dig out the “Cross of Gold” speech.

  4. The underlying attacks against Edwards have been the same from the first day of the campaign an implicit statement ‘class traitor’, doesn’t he know that he is supposed to protect the Washington establishment/Ruling Class like all of the other candidates(save Paul, Kucinich, Gravel)?

  5. Yeah, the open hostility of the Beltway people towards Edwards is perhaps the only thing that makes him the slightest bit appealing.

  6. I predict there will be zero stories on CNN about “the race issue” and “the gender issue” as it applies to white people, men, and white men in South Carolina voting for Edwards.

    Well, they got that much right.

    Now if only they could give black people and women the same courtesy of treating them like adults, instead of interchangable mindless members of collectives.

  7. “Yeah, the open hostility of the Beltway people towards Edwards is perhaps the only thing that makes him the slightest bit appealing.”

    Its the same type of hostility you hear when you quote Gates or Buffett saying they think they should be taxed more to Republicans…It is such a fundamental betrayal of the way they see the world and who they think should rule and who they think should be ruled.

  8. “Now if only they could give black people and women the same courtesy of treating them like adults, instead of interchangable mindless members of collectives.”

    You have to understand that the media today is like bad situation comedy, there are only a very limited number of stories and frames (Fat dopey guy and way-too-attractive smart sarcastic wife). The media was just waiting to trot out this silly narrative.

  9. Now if only they could give black people and women the same courtesy of treating them like adults, instead of interchangable mindless members of collectives.

    Good luck with that.

  10. Edwards, whatever. Hillary’s the one who needs to be stopped at all costs. See this insane diatribe:

    Bullying tactics of Barack Obama against Hillary may be a signal for all women in this country. Watch out!

    WomanVoter at 1/25/2008 12:24PM

    Barack Obama is using bullying tactics in his comments about Hillary. He’s not focusing on what needs to happen here-a healing of racial and sexual wounds that go deep and cause real pain. He is furthering that pain for women. His treatment of Hillary will reflect how he treats womens’ issues if he is elected. He’s a black man who should be accutely aware of the stereotype of black men abusing their women. I don’t want him in power if he can’t behave better than he has been doing.

    These Hillary people are not like you and me.

  11. Good luck with that.

    I’ll count that as a Joe Agreement With R.C.

  12. I don’t want him in power if he can’t behave better than he has been doing.

    Oh, come on. Just say you want to cut his balls off and be done with it.

  13. Has Zogby taken down his “Kerry Wins!” page yet?

  14. He’s a black man who should be accutely aware of the stereotype of black men abusing their women. I don’t want him in power if he can’t behave better than he has been doing.

    Uh, yuck!

    Yeah, as a black man, he’d better watch himself with the women. WTF, lady?

  15. One thing about Edwards that’s recently cracked me up was his recent denunciation of the current president for having built up the power of the executive branch to unprecedented levels. Is he too thick to realize that we see how that’s the office he’s trying to acquire? It’s not like he’s declared that he’s going to fight that trend by pulling a Coolidge; he’s saying “I’m going to use all that power to solve all your problems, once and for all. Once and for all”!*

    * See Futurama episode “Crimes of the hot”

  16. Oh white Chavez, when will you hang up your hat?

  17. Let me get this straight: Edwards gets more votes in one primary than Ron Paul has in total, but he is not a threat, yet Reason and a majority of the morons that post here go apeshit when Paul is not given what they consider a fair amount of press. I guess it’s going to take a discovery that Edwards hates blacks before he starts getting some respect around here.

  18. I don’t this thread’s gonna get back up after that one.

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