Edwards, money and hypocrisy (Part 1)
Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) still gets ribbing for his $175 haircuts. But when it comes to illustrating the disconnect between Edwards' man-of-the-people rhetoric and his actions, the designer 'dos aren't the worst of it.
Immediately following the NAACP presidential candidates forum in Detroit last Thursday, Edwards approached Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) to talk about excluding other candidates from future forums and debates -- without realizing Clinton's microphone was still on.
"We should try to have a more serious and a smaller group," Edwards whispered.
Clinton agreed. "We've got to cut the number," she said, adding of some other candidates, "They're not serious." She also reported that she thought her and Edwards' campaigns had already tried to limit the debates.
"We've got to get back to it," she said.
It was unclear from their exchange exactly what they meant by "more serious." It couldn't have meant limiting the debates to those Democrats who took their jobs seriously enough to bother reading the intelligence estimate before voting to authorize President Bush's illegal war against Iraq. After all, Clinton didn't read it, while Edwards' campaign has vacillated on whether he did or not.
No, presumably millionaires Edwards and Clinton equate seriousness with big money, since along with Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) they are among the top three candidates in terms of fundraising.
And that's the real glaring hypocrisy on Edwards' part. If he's going to claim on the one hand that wealth or the lack thereof should not determine opportunity in America, how can he on the other hand call for eliminating candidates with more political experience than he from the debate over our nation's future based solely on the amount of money in their bank account?
Sue is the editorial director of Facing South and the Institute for Southern Studies.