(headline borrowed from the title of an RNC press release issued minutes after Kerry announced Edwards as running mate in 2004. Their biggest criticism was that he was okay with civil unions. whoop-de-do).
Anyway, Edwards announced his candidacy for prez this week in New Orleans. The Washington Post's Dan Balz got an interview the next day and wrote a more comprehensive news analysis
on it that's worth checking out as an overview.Joe Klein noted
that the Des Moines Register found a poll a couple months ago (this was before Obamahype) that showed Edwards as the dominant front-runner in Iowa, for what it's worth.
So where does Edwards fit in to the field position-wise? ontheissues.org
gives a run-down of all his positions, though it can be a bit hard to wade through.
Back in 2004, Stephen Zunes demonstrated that Edwards is nothing less than a foreign policy hawk
. Most notably, he cites a September 2002 op-ed Edwards wrote for the Post which fully supported Bush's case for invading Iraq.
For what it's worth, Edwards has now said that his vote for troop authorization that fall was a mistake (a concession Hillary Clinton has not made, of course). And in his announcement in New Orleans, Edwards said 40,000-50,000 troops should be pulled out of Iraq.
Let's also not forget that Obama, though an early and bold critic of the Iraq war, can be a hawk too: he told the Chicago Tribune
in September 2004 that the United States one day might have to launch surgical missile strikes into Iran and Pakistan to keep extremists from getting control of nuclear bombs.
Still, reading Zunes' piece makes me feel queasy about Edwards.
On the economic side, there is some better news. Edwards' anti-poverty efforts get a generally positive review from John Atlas and Peter Dreier.
The whole personal injury lawyer thing is, to me, a great positive. Sure, he did the job for the money, but the trial lawyers are people who help keep our un-regulated country at least somewhat sane. The media will sometimes criticize him for it, but it's unclear to me that in 2004 the public really had much of a problem with his job history. We'll see.
Also on the economic front, he's a big protectionist. The media hate this -- see Norman Solomon's review of the anti-Edwards press in 2004. But no matter how many times the top papers editorialize for free trade and against protectionism, voters will vote how they need to -- and in many cases, that means they will agree with Edwards on this issue.
One thing to look out for in the campaign that's coming up: how each of the top candidates responds to Bush's soon-to-be-announced plan on Iraq.