Category Archives: Edwards

Liz’s Cancer and the Edwards Campaign (Updated)

Twenty-three years ago this week, my mother died of a liver cancer that had been eating away at her for more than a decade. She was diagnosed relatively early but treatment modalities were primitive and not terribly effective in cases like hers. Liver cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and bone cancer were, in those days, little less than death sentences.

At the time there were new, experimental treatments cancer specialists were trying to work the kinks out of. When she realized that she was considered terminal, my mother insisted on volunteering for them. My father went along with her, and signed her into the Deaconess Hospital in Boston, which was associated with Sloan-Kettering and the best hospital in New England for cancer research and treatment.

For the next 10 years, she was in and out of the Deaconess undergoing a series of treatments, primarily chemo and radiation therapy. The cancer would go into remission, come back, go away again. She would have a few healthy months, and then it would reappear, sapping her strength. Once it went into remission for almost three years. That was a good time. The doctors said if it stayed away for 5 years, there was a good chance my mom had beaten it for good. We thought – we hoped – she had.

But she hadn’t, of course. A year after that long remission ended, she was dead.

A little over four years ago, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. It was an early catch but I didn’t know what that meant. I thought I was walking around dead.

I went into the hospital at noon and was in the “recovery room” – a glorified corridor lined with gurneys – by 2pm. I wanted to leave but the nurses wouldn’t let me. They insisted I rest for at least 2 hrs, and as I was still woozy, I let them have their way. By 4.30pm I was out of the hospital and on my way home. The cancer was gone and it hasn’t returned.

I told you all that so I could tell you this:

The surprise – and occasional expression of disgust – engendered by John Edwards’ announcement that his wife, Liz, has bone cancer but that he is not going to abandon his campaign on that account, is rooted, I think, in the old perception that cancer is an automatic death sentence.

It isn’t any more. Even granting that her condition is incurable, it is, by the Edwards’ own statement, “treatable”.

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GOP Has Edwards Attack Site

The RNC, dirty tricksters extraordinaire, have put up a website called Who Is John Edwards? that is loaded–need I say it?–with lies, misrepresentations and distortions. So what else is new, you ask? Well, they’ve picked some mighty strange directions to attack from. Snippets:

Since Joining U.S. Senate In 1999, Edwards Has Been Lead Sponsor On:ü 74 bills, NONE of which has emerged from Committee for a floor vote.

ü 78 amendments, 23 of which passed the Senate.

ü 6 resolutions, 4 of which passed the Senate.

ü No legislation Edwards has been lead sponsor on has become law.

Hmm. Let me get this straight: So in this Republican Congress, a Congress which shuts Democrats out of meetings, won’t let them talk on the floor, muscles votes in the middle of the night without notifying them, and generally treats them like lepers, he didn’t get much accomplished? Color me surprised.

They push this angle and they’re open to all kinds of Pelosi-like charges of unfair treatment and bully-boy tactics on the Senate floor, like the time a Pub chairman tried to have all the Democrats arrested in the Rotunda. They open up this can of worms and the Shame and Folly that has passed for a Congress since they took over could get splashed across the front pages of a (slightly) re-awakened press just in time for the election. Do they really want that?

But it gets stranger. One headline screams: ‘EDWARDS IS PHONY AND DISINGENUOUS – Edwards Rural Populist Message … Just Another Gimmick?’

Uh, coming from the party supporting the biggest drugstore cowboy this side of John Travolta (the other John), this is laughable. Are they trying to supply Kerry with all the ammunition he needs to shoot them down?

This section includes a list of claims that Edwards is raising a lot of money. Huh? From the guys who raised a record $$200Million PLUS$$$? Are they kidding with this? Junior raises a $$Million$$ a pop and they’re outraged because Edwards raised $50K at a house party? ‘Glorioski, Sandy, I’m supporting the President. He’s running on a shoestring like a real Man of the People.’

And that’s just the beginning. Apparently he got a whole $35K from all the drug companies combined–the same people who’ve given the Pubs $$Millions$$, and–this cracked me up–‘$2,500 from oil and gas company employees.’ Wow. Twenty-five hundred whole dollars. I’m shocked. Goddammit, John Edwards is a Tool of the Gas and Oil Industry!!

Git outa here wit yo bad self.

Do they really want to do this? The hypocrisy is getting so think you’ll need a chain-saw to get through it. They’re handing Edwards the key to the gun cabinet and saying, ‘Shoot me now. PLEASE.’ And we’re not done yet.

But the most bizarre section of opposition research is that entitled “Edwards is Phony and Disingenuous,” which uses a random assortment of innocuous facts to imply Edwards is somehow less than authentically Southern:

“Beverly Hills, 90210, Was The Ninth Ranked Zip Code Contributor To Edwards’ Presidential Campaign, Totaling Over $68,000 In Contributions.”

“Dennis Hopper Hosted A Fundraiser For Edwards”

“Edwards Hasn’t Hunted Or Fished ‘In Years.’”

“Edwards Doesn’t Follow Weekly NASCAR Races, Adds He ‘Doesn’t Follow Anything Except Politicking.’”

Considering the GOP had ample time to look into Edwards’ past and compile a range of frivolous criticism, his selection probably bodes well for the Kerry camp. If this is the best Republicans can come up with, Edwards is already proving a formidable opponent.Bert, from ThatColoredFellasweblog asked in a Comment:

As well as we think we know the Right, the Bush/Cheney campaign, the RNC, Conservative radio and Fox, has any of us on the Left stopped to wonder what panic and desperation would look like on them?And, as a result, what their words and action would look like?

Bert, I think we’re seeing it now. And not just desperation–desperation taken to the point of committing suicide.

Bye bye, Bushie.

Republican Attack Machine Focuses On Edwards

Boy, is this a mistake.

Hoping to offset what they acknowledge is the fresh-faced political appeal of Mr. Edwards, Republicans are trying to make the case that in a dangerous new world, filled with marauding terrorists and nations racing to go nuclear, he is not ready to step into the Oval Office should events require. They argue that he does not even have a full Senate term under his belt, that he is responsible for no significant legislation and that his service on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which Democrats say amounts to far more experience than many candidates have had, hardly amounts to adequate preparation.”He may have left some footprints on the beaches of North Carolina, but you couldn’t find any on the floor of the Senate,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the No. 2 Republican, who said he could not “think of a single thing” memorable about Mr. Edwards’s Senate service.

That’s right, ask McConnell who hasn’t said anything good about any Democrat since he praised Bill Clinton’s hair 11 years ago. McConnell is snide, arrogant (the word of the day, apparently), a serial liar, and a rabid ultra-right radical parrot. Naturally, the NYT would go to him first. But Edwards isn’t Gore, as they will soon discover.

“His proliferation speech was probably the best foreign policy speech of any candidate during the primaries,” Samuel R. Berger, the national security adviser under President Bill Clinton, said Tuesday. “And when 9/11 came along, he probably knew more about the terror issues than most members of the Intelligence Committee.”On Capitol Hill, that theme was echoed with a jab at President Bush. “John Edwards has a lot more Washington experience than George Bush had four years ago,” said the Senate Democratic leader, Tom Daschle of South Dakota. “But secondly, it isn’t the length of experience in any case, it’s the quality of the experience.” Moreover, Democrats argue, Mr. Kerry’s depth of experience makes it far less important that his running mate do for him what Mr. Cheney did for Mr. Bush.

The last word on this belongs to Kathy at Random Thoughts (‘Safire’s Silly Logic’). In a short-short she mentions Safire’s recent column introducing the Edwards-is-a-lightweight meme for the Mighty Wurlitzer, and disposes of it in ‘short’ order.

“When Bush chose Cheney in 2000, that expressed confidence in victory: Cheney was seen not primarily as a campaigner, but as an active participant in the coming administration, which even his fervent detractors admit he has been. Bush was then filling in a gap, too — his foreign policy inexperience — but his pick was directed at governing, not campaigning.” Does Safire realize that he’s saying Kerry simply needs help campaigning while Bush needs help governing? Geez.

No, Kath, he doesn’t.

Arrogance Is Busting Out All Over

In a burst of less-than-charming arrogance, Junior, the strain starting to tell, got nasty in North Carolina.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Claiming the home state of the new Democratic vice presidential candidate as his own turf, President Bush on Wednesday brushed aside the political threat posed by Sen. John Edwards and asserted that he would again sweep the South because he shares the region’s values.Bush, abandoning the cordial tone he struck when Edwards was named to the Democratic ticket a day earlier, suggested the one-term North Carolina senator could not measure up to the stature of Vice President Dick Cheney.

Asked to compare Edwards with his own No. 2, Bush said: “Dick Cheney can be president.” He then called for the next question, indicating that he considered his case closed.

Bush’s pointed response highlighted a primary line of attack Republicans intend to use against Edwards: that he is too inexperienced to become commander in chief, if necessary.

But Sen. John F. Kerry had a quick retort for Bush’s implicit criticism of Edwards. Referring to Cheney’s image as one of the most powerful vice presidents in U.S. history, the Democratic presidential candidate told a rally in Dayton, Ohio, that Bush “was right that Dick Cheney was ready to take over on Day One, and he did, and he has been ever since, and that’s what we’ve got to change.”

This is yet another mistake. Another mistake artising out of arrogance, pique, and the Ef U state of mind brought into the open by Cheney on the Senate floor last week when he told one of the longest-serving and most respected Senators we have to go Ef himself for daring to question the propriety of Dick’s deal with Halliburton and then, adding insult to injury, went on tv and crowed about how much better he felt and how his ‘colleagues’ thought it was about time somebody did it. Of course, one has to remember that Dick Cheney surrounds himself with sycophants, not ‘colleagues’. As a standard corporate CEO, he keeps his yes-men close at hand in case he needs propping up.

The thing is, once the virus was unleashed, it spread. The gloves are off; they don’t seem to think they have to hide any more. So the Nice Guy was replaced in NC by the Frat Boy bragging about how popular he is. Out of touch? These guys live in outer space. Arrogant? Not just arrogant, mean arrogant. They act like the election is all sewn up, like they can do anything, say anything they want and it won’t affect them. Is this more of their standard blind hubris? Or do they know something we don’t know?

Is the fix already in?

Kerry Picks Edwards

Well, there it is. After all the speculation, all the idiotic talk about McCain and the wishful thinking around Clark, Kerry did what he had to do: he picked a Southern populist.

PITTSBURGH — Siding with sizzle over experience, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry told a cheering crowd here on Tuesday that he has picked fellow Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina as his running mate.”I have chosen a man who understands and defends the values of America, a man who has shown courage and conviction as a champion for middle class Americans and for those struggling to reach the middle class, a man who has shown guts and determination and political skills in his own race for the presidency of the United States, a man whose life has prepared him for leadership,” Kerry told cheering supporters at a morning rally in Pittsburgh that kicked off a three-day tour themed on “responsible leadership.”

Kerry praised his former presidential primary foe as “a man who has shown guts, determination and political skill in his own race for the presidency.”

“I’ve seen John Edwards think, argue, advocate, legislate and lead for six years now,” Kerry said in front of an oversized Kerry-Edwards sign unveiled for the event. “I know his skill. I know his passion. I know his strength. I know his conscience. I know his faith.”

Kerry said Edwards, who may not be able to deliver his home state, will help the Democratic ticket reach across party lines.

And no sooner were the woirds out of his mouth than the Sleeze Machine sharks showed their teeth.

Republican officials reacted quickly to Kerry’s announcement, eager to begin what will be a four-month effort to paint Kerry-Edwards as a ticket out of synch with mainstream voters.”John Kerry was against John Edwards before he was for him. But now he’s his running mate,” the Republican National Committee said in a statement.

“Who is John Edwards?” the statement asked. “A disingenuous, unaccomplished liberal and friend to personal injury trial lawyers.”

Oooo, two slurs in the same sentence. That’s a two-fer–extra points.

I don’t know what positive difference Edwards can actually make to the ticket–historically, the answer would have to be ‘Not much’–but he’s missing two important negatives: 1) he’s not going to be easy to slime and the Pubs (as they’ve alrerady started to do) are going to make themselves look ridiculous trying; 2) he’s no weenie. John Edwards will not take the Pub smears lying down, he will not back off (unless Kerry insists on it–a mistake, a BIG mistake, in my view), he will not cave in. He will give as good as he gets, and if the press cover him (don’t bet on it) he’s going to end up looking awful good to an awful lot of people.

Those of you who were reading Omnium back during the primaries know I was supporting Edwards instead of Kerry, so I’m being unashamedly partisan here. I like the guy almost as much as I liked Bob Graham, and I think the country will feel the same way if they get to know him. He’s a legitimate centrist, a legitimate populist (he isn’t kidding with that stuff; it’s not a pose) and one tough cookie despite the boyish demeanor.

He was the best possible choice (Gephardt was a non-starter) and I applaud Kerry for picking him.

Pure Entertainment Bonus: The Edwards/Cheney debate. Please please PLEASE let me be near a tv set….