America: John Edwards, Kerry's Choice as Running Mate, Voted against the Iraq War, but Is Centrist to the Core like Any Other Blow-Dried US Politician
Stephen, Andrew, New Statesman (1996)
Wait for it. Lie down if you're feeling fragile. Senator John Edwards, John Kerry's choice as vice-presidential running mate, is--I can hardly get the words out--"a committed liberal". Cripes! This is on the authority of no less a figure than Marc Racicot, chairman of the Republican National Committee. Within 30 minutes of Kerry's announcement in Pittsburgh last Tuesday, the RNC was ready and waiting with no fewer than 28 pages, entitled "Who is John Edwards?". The document described Edwards as a phoney and "a disingenuous, unaccomplished liberal".
Showing breathtaking chutzpah, the Bush-Cheney campaign immediately started running television ads featuring John McCain, "John Kerry's first choice for a vice-presidential running mate". The McCain speech featured in the ad is positively cringe-making, especially as McCain actually hates George W Bush as much as anyone does. He must have felt like holding his nose as he praised Bush with absurd hyperbole: "He has not wavered, he has not flinched from the hard choices ... he deserves not only our support, but our admiration."
Phew! And we still have well over 100 days before election day. The Bush-Cheney lot are not hesitating to mobilise the country by fear: on the very day Edwards's name was announced, there was talk floated of an imminent Qaeda attack on the US. Cheney, over the 4 July weekend, described Kerry as being "on the left, out of the mainstream and out of touch with the conservative values of the heartland". I suppose our Dick is implying that he is somehow on the cutting edge of reality, what with his witty pronouncements on WMDs and the links between Iraq and al-Qaeda.
But back to Edwards. Disingenuous? I don't think that Edwards is any more disingenuous than any other politician, particularly if you consider the many dishonest statements from Bush and his cronies. Unaccomplished? This is silly nonsense, especially when you look at Bush's stunningly empty curriculum vitae: Edwards is the son of a millworker who went on to make tens of millions as a trial lawyer specialising in personal injury cases. Now a man of privilege, like Kerry, he lives in a multimillion-dollar home in Georgetown. He has at least three other houses around the country and is said to be worth $36m.
But liberal? That is a dirty word in US politics these days. It is true that Edwards voted against the Iraq war and the Patriot Act. He also has a relatively "liberal" voting record in the Senate--he has been there less than six years--but is much like any other blow-dried American politician: centrist to the core. …