The dream is over for Rudy Giuliani, and for the President of the “Two Americas” John Edwards. Edwards announced his exit from the presidential race today, and Rudy Giuliani is expected to make it official some time before the debate tonight.  I’m sorry that Rudy decided to quit the race. Sure, at the end of the day, his campaign didn’t end up any better than Fred’s, but he would have had a real shot at stopping McCain in all those blue states on Super Tuesday.  I think the wrong Republican quit the race today, but if Rudy wasn’t going to make a serious attempt at retail politics in Florida or in any of the early states,  maybe it’s better that he recognized that now instead of waiting until later to officially end his campaign.

Meanwhile, Governor Huck still continues to smile and make corny jokes and to take votes from Romney.  It’s over Huck.  After Super Tuesday, it will be time to recognize that.  There’s a reason why the media has stopped talking much about your candidacy. Take the hint.  It’s time to make an outstanding “I give up” speech.

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That’s one election John Edwards CAN win. There’s something inconsistent about condemning Ann Coulter’s outrageous remarks against himself and other Democratic presidential candidates, and using those remarks to raise campaign cash. Everything that the Edwards campaign has done recently smacks of desperation.  They know that their chances are getting dimmer for mounting a serious challenge to Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. It would take a lot of self-restraint to ignore what Ann Coulter says and take the high road here, and it’s clear that John Edwards doesn’t have it.  He took the opportunity to continue to pander to his netroots base by attacking Ann Coulter, one of the left’s favorite targets.  I would have more respect for Edwards if he had taken on Coulter directly, rather than having his wife call into Hardball and confront her. He did make an appearance on Hardball the next day, but it’s not the same thing.

If I was a John Edwards supporter, I would be concerned about the campaign’s attempt to paint him as victim of the right-wing smear machine and powerful forces who are trying to stop Edwards from making necessary changes in Washington.  It makes him look weak.  It makes him look desperate. It also makes him look like a distant third-place candidate in the Democratic presidential field.

If he can’t handle people saying terrible things about him now, he probably doesn’t want to know what he would have to endure as President of the United States.  He would have to take much more abuse from foreign leaders opposed to our foreign policy, from the UN, and from terrorists looking to intimidate the United States into making bad decisions about how to deal with them.  Can he confront those challenges and be a strong voice for the United States and our interests around the world?  That’s a question we need to answer.

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fun with quotes

Who said this:

Saddam Hussein’s regime represents a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel. For more than two decades, Saddam Hussein has sought weapons of mass destruction through every available means. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons. He has already used them against his neighbors and his own people, and is trying to build more. We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal. Iraq has continued to seek nuclear weapons and develop its arsenal in defiance of the collective will of the international community, as expressed through the United Nations Security Council.

It is violating the terms of the 1991 cease-fire that ended the Gulf war and as many as 16 Security Council resolutions, including 11 resolutions concerning Iraq’s efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction. By ignoring these resolutions, Saddam Hussein is undermining the credibility of the United Nations, openly violating international law, and making a mockery of the very idea of collective action that is so important to the United States and its allies. We cannot allow Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons in violation of his own commitments, our commitments, and the world’s commitments.

This resolution will send a clear message to Iraq and the world: America is united in its determination to eliminate forever the threat of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction… Almost no one disagrees with these basic facts: that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a menace; that he has weapons of mass destruction and that he is doing everything in his power to get nuclear weapons; that he has supported terrorists; that he is a grave threat to the region, to vital allies like Israel, and to the United States; and that he is thwarting the will of the international community and undermining the United Nations’ credibility.

That stirring defense of the war, helpfully provided by deputy assistant to the President Peter Wehner here, was made by none other than former Senator John Edwards. So not only did he vote to authorize the war in Iraq, he actually tried to convince others to do the same with the exact same arguments used by the Bush administration. I’m not sure a simple “I was wrong” should be sufficient for the anti-war left to embrace Edwards, but apparently it is.

Edwards calls the global war on terror a bumper-sticker slogan. You can deride the terminology, dismiss it as a useless Bush formulation, and disapprove of Bush’s handling of foreign policy. But no matter what you call it, the threat of Islamic extremism leading to terrorist activity is real, and we need to be proactive in dealing with that threat. John Edwards is doing what he has to do to keep his base on his side, even if that means saying things that the rest of the country does not agree with. This may win him a few netroots fans, but it’s no way to win a Democratic primary or general election.

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elizabeth edwards

first of all, i can’t imagine what the edwards family is going through right now. we can disagree with john edwards’ politics, but when finding out that his wife’s cancer has reappeared and that her condition is incurable, there’s only one response to this. that response is to express support for them, and to hope and pray for the best for their family. a situation like this requires many hard choices, and john and elizabeth edwards made the decision together to go forward with his presidential campaign. i agree with this decision, even though i understand the opposing argument. it’s easy for us to say that of course we would stop the campaign immediately if we were in john edwards’ shoes, but it’s not our choice to make.

video here.

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john edwards: victim?

poor john edwards. everybody is picking on the aggressively photogenic presidential candidate. first ann coulter. now roger ailes. his strategy is rather curious, considering that his base would applaud any condemnation from two of the left’s main enemies. doesn’t he understand that whining isn’t a very attractive quality in a potential nominee? i can understand why he might want to take a swing at ann coulter. many on the right sometimes feel the same way about her. on the other hand, he’s allowing fundraising letters to be sent out that accuse the right of having this orchestrated plan to destroy him. that’s a crazy charge, and that kind of accusation didn’t work for hillary either. (remember the “vast right wing conspiracy” line?) ann coulter doesn’t speak for the bush administration or for vice president cheney. there’s no conspiracy here. why would the right need to destroy john edwards? he can self-destruct without our help.

i don’t understand why john edwards still thinks he needs to win the lefties over. he’s got them already. he gave them what they wanted when he decided not to fire his controversial bloggers. he admitted that he made a mistake on the war. he is even calling for cutting off the funding for the war. (that’s easy for him to propose…he doesn’t have to vote on it.) he said no to the proposed nevada presidential debate because fox news was airing it. is it possible that there’s not much else he can do to keep the lefties happy?

maybe this is all part of the grand plan. i don’t see it working. if he considers these personal attacks to be extremely rough treatment, he doesn’t want to know what will happen after hillary gets done with him. if i’m a average democrat who is seriously looking at edwards as a potential nominee, i would want him to take the high ground more often and stop whining about every single criticism he receives. what i have seen so far from edwards doesn’t show me that he’s a leader. it shows me that he’s a follower, and that he might just follow the netroots right over the cliff.

tags: john edwards

the government owes you nothing

where in the world did we get the idea that being a citizen of the united states means that we are entitled to government benefits? it must have come from FDR, who was the founder of this modern welfare state. perhaps we can blame LBJ’s Great Society. at this point, it doesn’t matter who created this mess of entitlements. we must fix it before our country suffers the fate of old Europe. at some point, European governments will be unable to finance all of the entitlements they provide.

we don’t have a right to government-paid health care, retirement, or the total financing of our pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. many Americans would disagree with me on this, but that’s probably because we have been conditioned to accept government largesse without considering what it costs to receive all of these government benefits. social security is a good example of this. I would like to bet that before social security was introduced, it never occurred to people that the government would finance their retirement.

we have programs in place like medicare, medicaid, and social security that take huge chunks of the federal budget every year, and costs continue to rise. yet no politician has the courage to take on the unpopular cause of reforming these programs or taking steps to reduce the costs of these entitlements. it needs to be done. it needs to be done soon.

with all that we know about the ineffectiveness and inefficiency of government programs and services (think DMV), how can we, in good conscience, propose that the government take on yet another wildly expensive entitlement program like universal health care? like many other liberal proposals, it is based on a feel-good philosophy. most Americans probably do believe that they have a right to health care and that it should be guaranteed to every American. it’s a feel-good position. most of us want to be seen as caring and compassionate and willing to help out our fellow citizens. that’s a wonderful platitude that means absolutely nothing concrete. the pollsters ask the wrong question. sure it would be great for everyone to have health care, but i’m not convinced that allowing the government to fund it is the best solution we can come up with to achieve that goal. it won’t reduce costs, and increased government regulation will add to the workload on medical professionals, taking away from time spent with patients.

services that are publicly funded generally don’t meet our expectations. the argument that there’s no opposition to public funding of education, and that health care shouldn’t be treated any differently is just silly. don’t we want better decisions to be made in health care than are being made in public education? are we satisfied with the results of our public education system? you don’t really need me to answer that, do you?

the important thing to remember here is that competition generally produces a better product. under some single-payer health care systems, such as Canada’s, private insurers are prohibited from offering duplicate services to the public system, and are only allowed to provide services that fill gaps in the national health coverage. there are still coverage gaps under this system. full coverage under any system is an unrealistic goal, but that’s what its proponents seem to be promising.

according to this report(pdf), in 2001, Canada spent 9.3% of its GDP(gross domestic product) on health care, which is higher than the average 8% spent by most industrialized countries. yet Canadians are still unhappy with the service they are receiving. some even are in favor of MORE PRIVATIZATION, not less. the report also concluded that the system had financing problems.

there is another legitimate concern with government-run health care, one that is rarely talked about. there have already been documented incidents in the Medicare system where unauthorized personnel have gotten access to patient records. for those who are concerned about privacy rights in other areas, like phone conversations, and fear that the government knows too much about your personal affairs, wouldn’t this concern you?

i have looked at the arguments pro and con for universal health coverage, and I am convinced that we can make reforms that would get us closer to full coverage without allowing total government control of health care. I am uncomfortable with government mandates on individuals and on businesses, even on such an important issue as health care, which is why I cannot support John Edwards’ health care plan. my intention is to cover edwards’ plan in more detail in a future post, so I won’t get into the details right now. (if you wish to look it over, here’s the link to the pdf.)

for more information on the subject, check out some of these links:
The Case for Universal Health Care (pdf)
The NHS: a dysfunctional insurer
universal health care – answers.com
single payer health care – answers.com

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john edwards and the angry left

it’s becoming a trend for republicans and democrats alike: trying to win the favor of influential bloggers.  there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.  a successful outreach program could not only get your candidate positive press in the blogosphere, but it could also net your guy or gal some already plugged-in local activists willing to assist on the grassroots level. the danger in hiring bloggers, as john edwards has now discovered, is that bloggers have a virtual paper trail, and everything they had previously written is out there for the world to see. pandagon’s amanda marcotte wrote some pretty offensive stuff on her blog, and the responsibility for those posts rests with her, not john edwards.

candidates can only control those they employ. that said, before john edwards’s campaign staff hired ms. marcotte, i would have expected that they would have looked at her previous posts and fully vetted her work before she got the job. if they didn’t, it’s fair to accuse the edwards campaign (at the very least) of negligence. she was hired to represent the edwards campaign and put in charge of his campaign blog. surely they must have known that hiring someone who has written some controversial things in the past could be problematic for the campaign, even if the hire temporarily gained the favor of the angry left bloggers.

i am unconvinced that ms. marcotte would have written anything controversial as an official member of the edwards team. if she had written something controversial in that capacity,  then it would definitely be something that could damage edwards’ campaign. the edwards campaign, as far as i’m aware, hasn’t officially fired her yet. politically i think that it would be a smart move. 

however, they have a right to hire any blogger they want to hire, and if they are willing to deal with the fallout, why should it matter to us on the right? why are we giving edwards advice?  it’s almost like we are trying to save him from himself.  that’s really not our job.  let him make his own choices and deal with the consequences of those choices.  get out of his way and watch the show.

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