Getting to this point in researching the backgrounds of all of the candidates, and what they say and do now, this candidate was one of the ones that I secretly hoped I would find to withstand the test. Sadly, and to my chagrin, John Edwards failed, and failed big.
While it may be that Edwards would probably do the most out of all the candidates to help the poor, one can not overlook Edwards' voting record in the Senate, and the impact that those votes had on us as a nation.
For instance, he voted to authorize the Patriot Act, use of force against Iraq, didn't vote at all to condemn the torture at Abu Gharib, and those three votes only touch upon the record.
Edwards presents himself as the champion of the American worker. But this is inconsistent with his voting twice in one day back in Nov. 1999 against raising the minimum wage, and almost to the day one year later, voting to normalize trade relations with China. Also not voting in workers' interest as late as 2003, he voted no on S. 3694, a bill designed to empower people to be able to sue if an unusual delay in service resulted in death or serious harm to a patient, called for insurers to have external reviews in denial of services claims, provide access to services from specialists that are outside of a person's network, and would bar insurers from denying service due to a person's genetic predisposition to certain diseases.
Voting in favor of the Bankruptcy Reform Act in 2000, one has to wonder if Edwards even read this weird hodgepodge law before he voted on it. The bill, Big Business' wet dream come true, makes it extremely hard to file bankruptcy, forces those that are broke to pay for credit classes, and somehow ties all of this into the production of meth. Hey, I didn't write the thing, Rep. George Gekas did. It's another one of those bills that makes one wonder who actually read it before voting for it.
Voted in favor of Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, the unfunded mandate slapped in the face of every state and proven to be an unmitigated failure.
These and other votes that John Edwards took suggest that he is willing to go along with the stronger voices in the pack in order to not make waves. This point is suggested even more strongly when one considers that Edwards missed many votes that are still impacting us today. That strikes me as very lawyerly. Vote against the interests of a certain segment of society, but then come out as their champion.
I didn't even bother with the fact that his campaign tried to stop the University Of North Carolina's newspaper, The Tar Heel, from reporting on the fact that Edwards has his campaign headquarters in Chapel Hill, a glamorous, ritzy area that caters to only the rich. They demanded that the University pull the story, remove a video report that aired on it's daily news show, and take the video off of YouTube, or else face the 'punishment' of not having any more access to Edwards or his campaign staff. This disturbs me more than any vote, his making money through his investment in a company that denied Katrina claims, even as he was claiming to be doing all he could to help the victims, because it is eerily similar to the censorship that permeates the current administration.
The other argument that people are making in favor of Edwards is that he'll do something about the environment. But, wouldn't that mean he'd have to give up his Cadillac SRX, SUV, and pickup truck?
The last item that I'll include here, and there are many that I haven't, is actually in the form of a question. This champion of the little guy, this worker of wonders for the poor has to answer this one question if he is to be believed. Why didn't he do anything at all to help the victims of AIDS in his home state of North Carolina? N.C. has one of the worst records in the country in following Part 2 of the Ryan White Act, which gives funding to under insured and uninsured AIDS victims, so they can receive life saving medicine. A virtual death sentence without this medicine, Edwards, despite repeated attempts by hospice providers, AIDS advocates, and health care workers, did absolutely nothing to help his own state get more funding for the victims of this disease, and in fact, refused to even answer queries about his silence. Was this a little bit of religious pontificating from Edwards? You know, God's wrath and all that? Kind of reminds one of a Republicrat. Play to the base, while also playing to the fanatical right.
This one is a no brainer to me, and so I'll break my analysis down as this: John Edwards is a lawyer first, a politician second, and blows the same way as the prevailing political winds. He can and has been bullied into voting with the right wingers, to the detriment of his constituents. He will say one thing, make promises, do feel good photo ops, but when it comes time to deliver, he'll do whatever makes him LOOK the best, hoping, like most lawyers do, that no one actually fact checks him. Gonna sue Me now John?
Like I said, I didn't really want to write this one. I wanted to believe in the place called Hope again. But hope is fleeting when we depend on the phonies and the fakes in the political arena, and Edwards is one of them. Batmanchester