A friend of mine, a trial attorney, wrote to say that she was concerned about Edwards as a candidate, given the low opinion that many people hold of trial attorneys. Here's my reply (with a couple of corrections and emendations):
A good point, given that trial attorneys are way up there on the list of people who are mistrusted, however, I don't think that's going to make as much of a difference as you might think, despite that the GOP will pound on the issue.
Once again, it's a question of perception, in my opinion. When people say they don't trust trial attorneys, I think they have a mental picture of the kind of person they mean, and I imagine it looks something like this: a man, middle-aged, paunchy, and balding who's tricky and shifty, a faster talker who looks a bit different from normal folks, and constitutionally can't speak straight and direct like truthful people do.
That may be off the mark, somewhat, but I think it captures the flavor of what people think when they think of a "trial attorney". If I'm right, then John Edwards defies that sterreotypical caricature in almost every respect.
Remember, whatever prejudiced people have about trial attorneys, every jury that Edwards has approached had those prejudices as well, and he was able to get past that and win often enough and big enough to be a big success at what he does. That he's not what people expected to see must have played some part in that, and I think it will to some degree innoculate him against the attacks by Rove based on his chosen livelihood.
Let's compare the affordances that Kerry and Edwards provide for Rove to grab hold and twist with:
A northeastern liberal
Worse, a Massachusetts liberal
Rich, from rich parents, married to a very, very rich woman
Took money from special interests, possibly in compromising ways
Kind of funny looking
Comes off as distant and impersonal, patrician
His wife is foreign, and a little odd (off-beat, let's say)
Almost two decades of Senate votes to cull for attack material
Didn't need to make a living, he's that rich
From the border south (He's southern, but not too southern)
Basically a centrist [Update: Maybe not -- see this]
Worked his way up from humble origins
Took money from people in his profession, but not in circumstances that are suspect
Comes off as friendly, a regular guy
His wife is perky and intelligent, but not overbearing
Has less than 1 term in the Senate, so not too much of a record to be attacked with
He made his living as a trial attorney
Granted, maybe I'm cooking the books a little, but I think you can see why I worry about Kerry, there are just too many toe- and finger-holds in his entire package that Rove can make use of. Yes, Kerry has his status as a decorated veteran and a war hero, but Edwards is young enough that questions about Vietnam-era military service won't be raised, so that's pretty much a wash (plus, considering the play that the Bush/AWOL story continued to get, I'm not sure how hard they're going to press any military service angle).
At this point, I think that, despite my respect and liking for General Clark, I'd like to see him get out of the race to clear the way for Edwards to make a run at Kerry. Dean, I still think, is a dead duck just waiting for confirmation of his demise, which he will get once he's given Wisconsin his best. I don't think he can take it much further than that. If the other guys drop out as I expect them to, then Edwards has just barely enough time to make his case for Super Tuesday, and we'll all be better off I think, in the long run. Kerry will have a chance to be really tested in a way he hasn't since before Iowa (when he rejiggered his campaign with the help of Ted Kennedy), and we'd see from both Kerry and Edwards if they have the right stuff.
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.