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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Elizabeth Edwards: Doing the work that John won't do

Well, gee whiz. John Edwards really puts his wife to good use. She takes on rabid Republican neighbors for him, attacks Ann Coulter for him, and now even speaks out in campaign ads for him!

What is she talking about in his newest ad? Why, how strong he is, of course (emphasis mine):

Elizabeth Edwards tells voters her husband, Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards, is a tough guy "who can stare the worst in the face and not blink" in an ad set to start airing Wednesday in New Hampshire.

Elizabeth Edwards, who makes frequent campaign stops in early voting states for her husband, appears in the ad that the campaign hopes will highlight the couple's marriage.

"I have been blessed for the last 30 years to be married to the most optimistic person that I have ever met," she says as photographs from the campaign fade in and out. "But at the same time he has an unbelievable toughness, particularly about other people, and that is his ability to fight for them."

"You're not going to outsmart him. He works harder than any human being that I know, always has," Elizabeth Edwards says. "It's unbelievably important that, in our president, we have someone who can stare the worst in the face and not blink."


Optimistic? OK. I can give Edwards that. But painting a picture of John Edwards as some macho-wacho tough guy who can stare down Osama bin Laden is a laugh. He couldn't even take on skinny Ann Coulter on his own! His wife had to do it for him.

Although, well, Ann Coulter is brilliant, intelligent, tough, and certainly has guts. That's a lot for the Breck Girl to take on.

If Osama bin Laden tried to stare down John Edwards, he'd probably piss himself, start whimpering and crying, and tell Osama that he could have anything he wanted -- just don't mess up his hair!!

If the Edwards campaign wanted to give us a laugh, they certainly succeeded.

Hat Tip: Iowa Voice


Huck said...

Cassy - Has it ever crossed your mind that perhaps Elizabeth Edwards is -- shock! -- acting on her own volition. Do you realize how condescending it is for you to sugges that everything Elizabeth Edwards does must be at the beck and call of her husband? How would you feel if I claimed that there's some guy (John Hawkins, maybe???) pulling the strings behing everything that you do and say? You wouldn't take too kindly to that, I'd bet. And rightfully so. Is it that hard to believe that Elizabeth Edwards has a mind of her own and does things, like call into Hardball to confront Ann Coulter, because they are important to her? Is it that hard to believe that she doesn't like how Ann Coulter treats the people she loves for her own reasons?

If you want to criticize Elizabeth Edwards for her ideas and her behavior, that's fine. But, please, at least give her enough common courtesy to treat the "work that she does" as her own work, and not that as a surrogate for her husband.

gredd said...

Loved the title of the post! Very clever.

And no Huck, I'd bet she isn't acting on her own volition. At this stage of the game, you plan pretty much everything so there are no slip ups. Mrs. Edwards responds to Ann so Mr. Edwards doesn't have to. Notice now how Mrs. Edwards gets to drop the bombs on Hillary? Mr. Edwards comes off clean cause he didn't do it! Smart move from the Edwards camp.

I'll also say it was a dumb move from the Clinton camp to respond (with Pres. Clinton no less). Now people have to sit up and take notice of what Mrs. Edwards said so they know what all the whining is about. Some, who previously didn't hear or even care what was said, now might go, "hmm, you know, that does have a hint of truth to it."

Huck said...

gredd - Perhaps. I'm not saying that I deny the possibility that she's just a mouthpiece for her husband. Sure, it's a possibility. But it's certainly also possible, and I think much more likely, that Elizabeth Edwards is thinking and behaving on her own initiative. She might tell her husband what she's planning to do; but that's not the same as suggesting that she's taking marching orders from her husband or his campaign. The way Elizabeth Edwards is being presented by conservatives as a mindless and scripted drone for her husband is, I think, very demeaning and condescending to Elizabeth Edwards. It doesn't entertain even the possibility that she is her own person acting on her own behalf and of her own volition. I mean, look, I'm married, too. My wife and I have a great 14 year partnership that has produced two lovely kids. And just because my wife consults me about things she would like to do or is planning to do doesn't at all mean that she's acting on my behalf or even with my blessing. I'm saying Elizabeth Edwards deserves the common courtesy of at least having people who know jack-squat about her recognizing the possibility that she's acting on her own volition.

Even though it is clear (to me, at least) that John Hawkins of Right Wing News is a blogging mentor to Cassy, I still give Cassy the benefit of the doubt when it comes to who is the real brains behind her blog. And I think she should extend a similar courtesy to Elizabeth Edwards.

Cas said...

It has NOTHING to do with whether or not Elizabeth is doing it of her own accord or on John's bidding. It's that he is NOT doing it himself. It's like, Elizabeth is doing all the work, regardless of who wants her to be doing it, yet John wants us to see him as some tough, hard-working guy? Please.

And for the record, I believe in some instances she was acting on her own accord and some she wasn't. When she attacked Ann Coulter and her next-door neighbor, I believe she was acting of her own accord. Obviously in this ad, she wasn't. It doesn't change the fact that John Edwards is not the one defending himself or doing the work -- Elizabeth is. She's a mouthpiece, but who put her in that position is not the point I was trying to make.

And while yes, John has helped me tremendously, he is not pulling any strings behind some magical curtain.

Don_cos said...

how condescending it is for you to suggest that everything Elizabeth Edwards does must be at the beck and call of her husband? ~ Huck

I would say that is no worse (likely not as bad) as someone putting this ”Wendy Vitter bears as much culpability and responsibility for what is happening to her family as does her husband, Sen. David Vitter. ~ ~ ~ I think it's natural to assume that Wendy also knows that her husband's affairs were not the product of a moment of weakness with one of his former sweethearts or with a long-term friend, but with at least one, if not more than one, paid-for-hire prostitute. ~ ~ ~ But surely she must have known that this "sin" would wreak havoc on her children if it ever found the light of day. ~ ~ ~ These kids are no doubt going to be terribly scarred by this episode, even if everyone around them shows them nothing but kindness. And what did Wendy Vitter do when faced with these scenarios that surely must have crossed her mind? Instead of demanding that her husband remove the family from the public spotlight, she hopped on the David Vitter for Senate bandwagon. And as dangerblond has so vividly put it, the super nova blew up in her face. But what needs to be added to this is the fact that the super-nova also blew up in her children's faces, too. ~ ~ ~ It's shameful and reprehensible what both of these people did to their children. I don't know how they can look their kids in the face anymore.” on their own blog.

The way Wendy Vitter is being presented by you as a mindless and scripted drone for her husband is, I think, very demeaning and condescending to Wendy Vitter.

I think that Wendy Vitter deserves the common courtesy of at least having people who know jack-squat about her recognizing the possibility that she's trying to act in the best interests of her children.


The point I am trying to make is that we all make assumptions, including you (and I). And as Cassy said, it is likely a mix of her actions and those planned by John (or his staff).

Either way, they need to be careful with this MO. If she slips up it could bite him in the posterior, just like the T Kerry’s remarks bit J Kerry.

Huck said...

don_cos and Cassy - You both make valid points. First, Cassy, if your argument has nothing to do with whether or not Elizabeth Edwards is doing this of her own accord, why would your first sentence say this: "Well, gee whiz. John Edwards really puts his wife to good use." Maybe your point is that Elizabeth Edwards has more cojones than her husband, who is afraid of doing the things his wife does; but that's not the image you are presenting of Elizabeth Edwards in how you are representing her.

Now, don_cos, I was indeed very critical of Wendy Vitter; but in a way that I think is substantially different that how Cassy is criticizing Elizabeth Edwards. I'm certainly not saying that Wendy Vitter is taking marching orders from her husband. In fact, I am saying just the opposite: that she, herself, had the power to protect her family, but chose not to. In my critique of Wendy Vitter, I give exclusive agency to Wendy Vitter. I never say that David Vitter is using his wife to do his dirty work, or the work that he refuses to do. I never imply that she's a pawn of his career and his political ambitions. And that is the difference. My criticism of Cassy is not that she chooses to be critical of Elizabeth Edwards. Read my first comment in this thread, where I say as much; but it is the way Cassy chooses to criticize Elizabeth Edwards that removes Edwards' agency from her own behavior.

Joe said...

I may be one of the few who likes dirty campaigns since it shows the mettle of the candidate. In the case of Edwards, we're not talking about a "one off" moment, but a now established pattern of him hiding while his wife goes on the offensive. This would be fine were Elizabeth Edwards running for president, but she isn't.

(It's also tremendously naive to think that a spouse of a presidential candidate just does things "on her own." If that's true, then Edwards is running a campaign that's totally out of control. But we know this isn't true, so even if Elizabeth volunteered, John Edwards still HAD to okay it [this isn't a sexist thing, any political candidate must control his or her message.])

Don_cos said...


My point is not wether or not Wendy Vitter was right or wrong. My point is that you make assumptions as to the reasons for her actions, just as you were accusing Cassy of doing with Mrs Edwards.