Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Edwards and the paleoliberal campaign

Bill Safire thinks that Kerry’s choice of Edwards was "not a pick of confidence." Kerry chose a good campaigner--this happy class warrior is also the most divisive voice in politics--but, like Bush’s choice of choice of Cheney, he should have chosen a person ready to govern. Everyone knew that Cheney would add nothing to the ticket as a campaigner, but everyone knew he would be ready to govern. Edwards has no gravitas (or experience) as Lynn Nofziger puts it. Even David Broder agrees that Kerry picked Edwards because he is a good campaigner, not because he was looking for someone who was ready to govern. Yet, he thinks it was a good selection. Andrew Sullivan thinks it is a good choice, but he focuses on Kerry’s dreadful announcement speech in Pittsburgh. He thinks that this is the first real campaign speech and it was a debacle because Kerry shows that he is going to run (with Edwards’ help) as a paleoliberal: The campaign will be about economic inequality, not the war on terror. According to Sullivan’s extensive analysis, the speech "also highlights that the Republican charge that Kerry is a big government, moralistic paleoliberal has a good deal of truth to it." It is straightforward "paleoliberal boilerplate." He thinks the speech is revealing and as vapid as anything he has ever heard. I also heard it and agree.

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Sullivan has gone loopy over gay marriage and "torture." But his analysis of Kerry’s speech is wonderful. Send it to every undecided voter you know.

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