Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, August 08, 2008

John Edwards, we hardly knew ye

So much for a short-lived political career. Being a Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee is not, apparently, a great place to be. Sargent Shriver, Walter Mondale, Lloyd Bentsen, Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, John Edwards - what odd careers they have had afterward.

I'm pretty pissed at John Edwards. Seriously, sleeping around on his wife while she's dying of cancer, then parading her around the country? Did he think nobody would find out? What if we had voted for him, and this came out right now, just before the nomination? Game over. All for some ... I can't even say it.

And let me get this straight, even though the Clintons aren't being nominated again, Democrats still have to deal the baggage of lying to the voters about infidelity. All over again. This scandal will hurt the party. Democrats need to turn the page to get past L'affaire Lewinsky. This just dredges it all up again.


Dr. Strangelove said...

To me, this just drives home the lesson that we really do not know these people, these politicians. All we ever know of them comes from public relations, pompous punditry, and pop-psychology. Those who think they are voting on "character" are just fools.

Raised By Republicans said...

"Those who think they are voting on "character" are just fools."

I'm going to file this statement away for the next time we argue about the advisability of basing democratic structures on "non-partisan" leaders with lots of power. ;-)

The Law Talking Guy said...

I think, Dr.S, that this just shows that we don't often have enough information about character, rather than that we should ignore character. After all, the problem with Edwards just revealed is all about poor character, and we all pretty much realize that the showing of his poor charater is deadly to his ambitions.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I guess what I'm saying is that, while character obviously is important, only those who actually work and live with these people ever really know anything about their character. As voters, we must not rely on our media-derived impressions of character, and those who do are just kidding themselves. That's all just song and dance.

Fortunately, my own biased and media-derived impression of Edwards was that I never liked him in the first place. So I feel more vindicated than pissed off.

Dr. Strangelove said...

RbR: I've only ever advocated running certain technical processes in government--things like redistricting, census-taking, and collecting economic data--in a "non-partisan" manner and staffing accordingly. (I've never heard anyone complain that the problem with the FDA or the Department of Justice is that they were not politicized enough!)

But I have certainly never advocated selecting a noble guardian to lead the nation. When it comes to the bigger picture, I am Madisonian all the way, and I must say the discussions I have had with you and LTG have definitely helped me understand how important that is. I presume you know that and are just poking at me :-)

eiscremeluvr said...

"The truth will out."

Raised By Republicans said...

"I've only ever advocated running certain technical processes in government--things like redistricting"

This is a false distinction. Dr. S. These things have policy consequences. They are not merely "technical" government actions.

If you had your mind right as a good Madisonian you'd realize that there is no such thing as a government institution without policy consequences.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Fair enough. And I think we should leave the debate here for now :-)

The Law Talking Guy said...

Back to Edwards for a moment...

Apparently allegations were floating around for some months, but not picked up by the mainstream press.

Two conspiracy theories are floating around. One is that the "Liberal" media (the same people that spent 18 months doing nothing but Lewinsky, who fixated on Spitzer, etc.) were eager to protect the Democratic party from another such scandal. That doesn't pass the laugh test.

The other conspiracy theory is by Clinton, whose spokesperson claims that she would have won Iowa, and then the nomination, if Edwards had been knocked out early. Thus, the media conspired against her. First, this is just sad. Second, it is not entirely clear that Edwards voters were more pro-Clinton than pro-Obama. Where Edwards delegates got to make choices between Obama and Clinton, as in Iowa's district-level caucuses (not the precinct level earlier on 1/3/08) they went overwhelmingly for Obama.

Who knows what would have happened?

But let me introduce a third conspiracy theory: Edwards dropped out of the race so precipitously the day after a meaningless Florida contest because he was told by some agents of the Fourth Estate that they would expose the affair if he continued on. Perhaps more plausible?

Either way, one thing should be clear: The mainstream media was likely way, WAY too busy trying to dig up dirt on Obama (not so much Clinton as her dirt was largely known) to care about chasing after allegations about Edwards after he was out of the race. This is happening now because summer is a sloooow news time. If Edwards had waited one more day for the Georgia War, he might have evaded it altogether.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I don't believe any of the conspiracy theories. I think the simple answer is that the news media were not focused on Edwards because they had already decided it would be a two-person race between Obama and Clinton.

Raised By Republicans said...

Dr. S is probably right about press motives.

As for what a pre-Iowa Edwards drop out would have done...The Iowa Poll (conducted by some political scientists over at U. of Iowa) showed that if Edwards were not in the race, Obama would beaten Clinton by even more than he did. So yet again, the die hard Clintonista revisionism is based on wishful thinking and a persecution complex.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Of course, the Iowa poll RBR refers to is problematic in the way that all counterfactual questions are problematic. You can't really know what people's preferences would be until Edwards withdrew. Remember all those Clintonites screaming about never voting for Obama? Well now that it's actually happened that Obama has won, people adjust and recalibrate. Similarly all the Republicans who hated McCain.

If Edwards had dropped out of the race, we don't know for sure that the preferences would have remained the same. I suspect clinton is right in the sense that if Edwards dropped out, the Iowa voters might have started thinking, "See, nobody else is a serious candidate." Obama could have been swept up in that.

Raised By Republicans said...

LTG is right to point out that these counterfactuals are suspect.

But at least in my small town, the Democrats here were in two broad camps...Clinton supporters and people who were trying to decide which non-Clinton candidate to pick. I didn't know any Democrats at that time who were supporting anyone other than Clinton for whom Clinton was their second choice. Of course, there must have been some out there and the poll picked that up. But they were a minority.