The Russert-Edwards Show

Tim Russert of NBC-TV’s Meet The Press devoted the entire hour to presidential candidate John Edwards on 04 January. This interview, one whole year before any caucuses or primaries are to be held (although New Hampshire may be planning to jump the gun and schedule its primary in December) and nearly two years before the election, remarked the tiresome, expensive, years-long campaigns that have become the norm now, notwithstanding that elected office-seekers, such as sitting senators and representatives, are flagrantly derelict in their official duties while in the process.

Edwards, of course, has the luxury of being able to devote full time to his activity. This whole enterprise screams for a national primary, with all states selecting their nominees on the same day, though the champion money-grabbers will always have the advantage.

As is his custom, Russert went back through the archives during the program to display Edwards’ statements in recent years, almost entirely devoted to the Iraq matter. Since he voted for the war in 2002 and still supported it in 2004, when he was running for the veep spot on the ticket with John Kerry (better hair than Bush/Cheney), with his positions quite well documented, Edwards played defense, though not too well. He took a sort of Hillary-approach, i.e., acknowledging giving the president complete authority to do whatever he deemed necessary but now recognizing how incompetent Bush has been.

Edwards said this: “But the basic foundation for the violence is very clear, which is why I and others, the Baker group, determined that the only solution is not a military solution, but a political resolution, a political reconciliation.” Edwards seems not to understand that political solutions are not possible unless and until either of two warring parties – or both – sees the need for it. The colonists could not effect a rapprochement with England in 1776, so they got a favorable political solution AFTER the English gave up the war they brought upon themselves. Simple.

Edwards said this: “And the president’s plan is we put 20,000-plus more troops into Iraq. I think all that does is enable the continued bad behavior, political bad behavior that we’ve seen over the last few years. What we need to do instead, in my judgment, is to shift this responsibility to them. It is the most likely way to create this political reconciliation.” Surely Edwards knew he was affirming precisely what Bush is doing, i.e., gradually transferring responsibility for security to the Iraqis. The bad behavior to which Edwards referred has not been bad “political behavior” but bad physical behavior – IED’s, beheadings, assassinations, destruction of utilities and oil-fields, etc. When the Iraqis have had enough of this – one side or the other – there will be a political solution, notwithstanding anything this country does.

Edwards said this: “And finally, engage not just our friends in that region of the world—the Saudis, the Jordanians, the Egyptians—but engage directly with Iran and Syria, because both Iran and Syria have an interest in Iraq not going totally chaotic.” Neither Iran nor Syria felt safe during the un-chaotic years of Saddam, so Edwards is blowing smoke if he thinks either country gives a fig about Iraqi chaos. The Iraqis will need decades to even get to the point at which they will again seriously threaten Iran or Syria, if ever. In any case, having a meaningful conversation with Presidents Ahmadinejad of Iran or Assad of Syria, even if such were possible, is a joke. Their word is as good as Kim Jong Il’s word, that of a tyrant who lied through his teeth to Jimmy Carter et al back in the 90s and perpetrated an evil threat to Asia and the world as a result.

Edwards made it plain twice that he was raised as a Southern Baptist, even mentioning that he was baptized in that faith and that his father was a deacon in the church. This was in response to Russert’s broaching of the subject of homosexuality, same-sex marriage, etc., about which Edwards had not arrived at clear-cut opinions, except that he at least wondered if he should impose his opinions upon others. Edwards made it clear – ABSOLUTELY, in his words – that he would, if president, see that homosexuals are accepted in the military. Bill Clinton tried that as practically his first act in office, but was thoroughly reversed by the military, which, though miserably afflicted with political correctness, still may not be ready for that. Edwards must have a death wish in saying this, at least with regard to male voters who have ever been in the military. Perhaps he believes the homosexual vote is much larger than it is.

And so it goes – boilerplate and posturing for almost two years. Egad!