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July 06, 2004

Picking The Wrong Guy

i may not be an expert on politics - just see my last post wherein i predicted that Gephardt would be Kerry's choice for VP - but if my dating experience is any indication, i am definitely an expert on picking the wrong guy.

So i can say with confidence that John Edwards has all the qualities of the wrong guy. He's good looking and charming, two qualities that always beguile a girl like me, and make it difficult not to overlook the downside.

In Kerry's case, he's gone strictly by the poll numbers in making this choice. But like i said in my last post, we run our elections according to the electoral college, not popular vote. Kerry would have been better served by a guy who could at least deliver one battleground state as a native son. Since Edwards can't do that in an election that might come down to one or two states, Kerry picked the wrong guy.

On the other hand, when i heard the news this morning i realized one strategic advantage that Edwards brings to the ticket. An advantage that i overlooked when i wrote yesterday's post. While he will probably not enable the Democrats to win any southern states, he does force the Republicans to spend more money in the South than they might have if Kerry had chosen a midwesterner. That's money that the GOP won't be able to spend in a battleground state. And elections are really all about money, aren't they?

Still, i like Bush and Cheney's chances against these two boobs. Everbody's making a big deal about how Edwards is going to be able to stand up to Cheney in the VP debate. But really, that's nonsense. There's only going to be one VP debate, and when has it ever had an impact on any election? Never. Remember the 1988 Bentsen/Quayle debate? If there was ever a time when one VP candidate trounced the other candidate, 1988 was it. Bush the Elder still won because the Democrat at the top of the ticket was the only candidate that mattered. Besides, Cheney is no Quayle. If anything, the roles will be reversed this time around.

One final thought on Edwards, which i have to say in his defense. i've been hearing a lot of criticism against him based simply on the fact that he was a trial lawyer. The term "trial lawyer" is a somewhat imprecise term. i assume people mean plaintiff's lawyer, since many lawyers who do trials are not plaintiff's lawyers. i don't suppose you'd hear that kind of criticism leveled against someone like former U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani for example, who was also a trial lawyer and a good one too. Not all trial lawyers are ambulance chasers.

Which brings me to my point. John Edwards was no ambulance chaser. Yes, he was a plaintiff's attorney, but from what i know of his career, he was the top guy in his field. Lawyers like him do not chase ambulances, or make money off of minor fender benders or spilled coffee. Edwards represented legitimate plaintiffs with serious injuries who deserved compensation by any standard of justice. And like another famous trial attorney turned politician, Edwards became the pre-eminent plaintiff's lawyer in his state because he was very very good. And that's worth something in my book.

So i don't agree with people who say Senator Edwards is the wrong guy just because he's a plaintiff's lawyer. i say he's the wrong guy because he's a Democrat.

Posted by annika, Jul. 6, 2004 |
Rubric: annikapunditry


Kerry would have been better served by a guy who could at least deliver one battleground state as a native son. Since Edwards can't do that in an election that might come down to one or two states, Kerry picked the wrong guy.

Annika - name another potential VP pick that would have won Kerry a battleground state. Hard to think of one except I guess Ralph Nader! Perhaps Bob Graham - I don't know his strength in FL - but I doubt enough to put it in the Kerry column. I doubt naming Gephardt would have changed the dynamics too much in MO which is I think a statistical tie. Edwards is a good campaigner and as you note will force the GOP to probably shore up some of the barely red states and thus divert resources. Edwards' message resonated at least in the primaries in states like Mich/Ohio/WVA. Plus, Kerry will influence and I think is leading in NH which went Bush in 2000 and may force the President to win a state he lost in 2000. And I think most importantly, Edwards is probably the best guy to generate a buzz for turnout.

It may not have been the best pick from a "heartbeat away from the Presidency" perspective, but I bet it's the name the Bush folks did not want to hear.

Posted by: Col Steve on Jul. 6, 2004
...just see my last post wherein i predicted that Gephardt would be Kerry's choice for VP ...

Well, at least you're not alone.

Posted by: Xrlq on Jul. 6, 2004

"Perhaps Bob Graham - I don't know his strength in FL - but I doubt enough to put it in the Kerry column."

Bob Graham is still fondly remembered (through the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia) as an immensely popular young "golden boy" governor...by those Floridians who were actually here then, since any analysis of this state's political demography has to take into account its explosive population growth. He probably wouldn't have made all that much difference to Kerry, but even the narrowest difference could mean everything here. OTOH, Graham made such a fool of himself in his own short-lived presidential run that it's possible he could've actually hurt Kerry, not just in Flordia but elsewhere as well.

Posted by: Dave J on Jul. 6, 2004

Face it babe, present company excepted, lawyers are pondscum. Ask anyone who's been through a litigated divorce. The lawyers collude silently to keep the angers burning and the hours churning, and the judge is their handmaiden.

Posted by: Casca on Jul. 6, 2004

Annika, the fact that Edwards was a plaintiff's attorney will hurt the Kerry/Edwards Ticket in PA considering THE HUGE MED MAL issues that the State is having. This, if the Bush campaign approaches it right, could have an effect on all those states, like PA, that have Med Mal issues.

Posted by: lawguy on Jul. 6, 2004

Dearest Annika,

Your Maximum Leader is shocked to see all these comments concerning Kerry's VP choice. The real issue of your post is obviously that you are deeply upset about picking the wrong man for your dating life. How could your other readers be so blind to something your Maximum Leader can see so clearly?

If you need help vetting eligible young men whom you would like to date, please contact me. As a happily married Maximum Leader, I can be the impartial judge it seems like you need.

Posted by: The Maximum Leader on Jul. 7, 2004

Hey Casca, there are good and bad lawyers, good and bad doctors, good and bad just about everything. The Bar Association of which I am part spends a good deal of time and money trying to weed out the bad ones. We like to say that for every one that is disbarred or disciplined, he or she was prosecuted by a good lawyer.

Plaintiff's lawyers (of which John Edwards is one), are a group distinct unto themselves. They make a good deal of money representing those who have suffered misery; likewise with Domestic Relations lawyers. The difference is that runaway verdicts are ruining the business climate in America.

The runaway jury verdicts awarding millions and millions, or even billions make it difficult for our businesses, large and small to operate. Those folks are the folks that supply most of the jobs for the rest of us, remember?

So, go ahead and criticize the Plaintiff's lawyers if you must, but try to figure a way to help this administration (or your state)achieve tort reform that will limit the amount that can be assessed for punitive damages, and you'll see a different attitude in America.

But lower the rhetoric about lawyers in general, please.

Posted by: shelly s. on Jul. 7, 2004

I offer you this:


in respectful disagreement of your assessment of Edward's merits as an attorney. Good? Perhaps. Operating within the confines of the law? Perhaps. Persuing legitimate cases for deserved awards? That's debatable at best. From everything I've heard of edwards (& keep in mind I'm a North Carolinian) he was to ambulance chasers what $2000-per-trick call girls are to crack hoes.

As for Guiliani's record...while he may have been good at what he did & within the confines of the statute law, I'd argue that just one prosecution of a person for violating an unconstitutioonal law would disqualify him of any respect deserved by his abilities.

As for the trial attorney you linked, I'd be more than happy to argue that that disproves your point. I know you admire Lincoln but the harm he caused the united States far outweighs any perceived benefits he accomplished or took credit for after the fact.

& I disagree that Edwards is the wrong guy simply because he's a democrat. For example I've vote for Zel Miller any day of the week over most (but nto all) republicans. Zell understands the constitution & more importantly acts like he's bound by it, not like his job is to work around it.

But I agree that edwards (or Kerry or Bush for that matter) are bad choices, not specifically because of their professions or their poltiical affiliations, but because they simply do not respect the constitution.

Posted by: Publicola on Jul. 7, 2004

Sorry Shelly, despite your do-gooding, lawyers are a disease of civilization. Since it's Poetry Wednesday, I'll have to add with apologies to TS:

Our voices are quiet and meaningless,
Like wind through dry grass,
or rats feet over the broken glass in the dry cellar,
but we'll be sure to send a bill.

Posted by: Casca on Jul. 7, 2004

Casca, great poem... however, life is different from what the poets say. much more boring and full of hard work. We should work hard to make our voices sound!

Posted by: Ambulance Doc on Jul. 7, 2005