Monday, April 02, 2007

Smerky Smears His Way To Page One

This faux journalistic assault on John Edwards is one of Smerky’s more egregious pieces of tripe, though it did manage to please Bruce Toll and Brian Tierney enough, apparently, to land a spot on the front page of the “Currents” section (this appeared in yesterday’s Inquirer, of course).

Head Strong - Edwardses owe more to their children

They are pursuing the presidency at the expense of two youngsters who soon may be missing a mother.
(With a headline like that, how bald faced can you get?)

By Michael Smerconish

On CBS's 60 Minutes, John Edwards told Katie Couric that judgments and questions about his decision to stay in the presidential race are "entirely legitimate."

"I mean, you offer yourself up for service to the country as the president of the United States, you deserve to be evaluated," he said.

He won't like this evaluation. My judgment is not another in the chorus of those celebrating this choice as an embodiment of the human spirit.

Call me crass, but I see a selfish determination by a political power couple more anxious to prolong a presidential run than to go home and spend time with two young kids who may soon be missing a mommy.
Well, at least Smerky is honest in his demagoguery.

As the Edwardses have stated, the decision for John to run was made by he and Elizabeth in consultation with their kids. That’s what I know, and it would be inappropriate for me to speculate on how it was received within their family.

And I have the very, very strong suspicion that if there had been any possibility that the children in the Edwards family had felt vulnerable while their father campaigned and their mother did so as best as she was able, then the Edwards campaign would be over by now. And either way, it would remain their decision and no one else’s.

And yeah, Smerky, given the fact that there are PLENTY of “political power couples” in this country, I think it’s inappropriate in the very least for you to pin a label like that partly on Elizabeth Edwards in her illness, though you’ve taken lower blows than that, I’ll admit.

Don't misunderstand. I'm praying for Elizabeth Edwards and wish her a long life.
Oh, of course not – why would you think we would misunderstand, Smerky? I mean, it’s not like you shout down people you don’t agree with, right?

But never did I imagine she'd have incurable (but treatable) Stage IV metastatic cancer that has spread to her hip, among other places - and he'd still run (Smerky's italics). Or that the decision would be made before they even left the hospital.
Why not?

Why do you feel like you should be involved in the decision-making process of whether or not John Edwards runs for president? Why do you feel that it’s inappropriate that they’d made the decision at any particular time and place?

Why do you feel like such a decision is any of your business anyway?

The way the two have been feted by pundits and the public as doing something courageous despite having young children likewise took me by surprise.

Eugene Robinson was typical of the support they have garnered when he wrote in the Washington Post: "Run, John and Elizabeth, run. Enjoy the campaign, every thrilling minute. Enjoy it together."

Even the Wall Street Journal, friend to no trial lawyer, much less one running for president, editorialized in support of Elizabeth Edwards, praising her "demonstration of fortitude that is itself a lesson for the rest of us."

Those views must speak for many. A USA Today/Gallup Poll said Americans supported the decision by a 2-1 margin. And the Post revealed that John Edwards had received more than 5,000 online donations totaling more than $500,000 in the days after the March 22 news conference. It used to take three months to raise a million online - now the Edwardses are halfway there in a little more than a week.
I would say that the amount of money raised by the Edwards campaign, as well as those by other Dem candidates and Repugs (particularly Mitt “Three Percent” Romney), speaks more to the popularity of those particular individuals and (hopefully) their positions on the issues that matter (assuming they have any in most cases – and as noted here, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama outraised John Edwards at this point, though it bears repeating that we have a looong way to go). I would be naïve to not acknowledge, though, that the sad news of Elizabeth’s illness did help the fundraising a bit, though no one in their right mind would wish for something like that.

And I’ll allow for the fact that reasonable people can think the Edwardses should have halted the campaign – I respect that. But Smerky’s clear innuendo here is that the Edwardses are carrying on at the expense of their kids, which is a truly foul smear as far as I’m concerned.

But I see something else in the data. The USA Today survey has John Edwards ranking fourth in the Democratic presidential sweepstakes, behind Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and Al Gore. He's a dark horse at best - a one-term senator who, despite being his party's VP candidate in 2004, and despite running for president ever since, has been unable to break out of the pack.
Sooo funny that Smerky is so busy trying to dump on the Edwardses that he doesn’t even point out that Al Gore isn’t even officially in the race!

On Monday, John Edwards was asked how he thought Americans would respond to his decision.

"I think it's unknowable. We believe that the way to conduct your life, private and personal, is openly and honestly, and that's the reason we disclosed the facts. We felt people needed to know," Edwards said. ". . . How it will affect the campaign, that probably depends on how America responds. I think this is uncharted territory."

Not exactly. In 1971, Indiana Sen. Birch Bayh had established an exploratory committee and opened a national campaign headquarters in anticipation of seeking the Democratic nomination in the following year's presidential election. When his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, he stopped mulling that run, saying he'd rather be with her as she recovered.

"At a time when our nation so desperately needs to reorder its priorities," Bayh said at the time, "it is time for me to reorder my own priorities."
And that’s fine – it’s a personal decision to be made by those involved and no one else (this is a recording).

There are two reasons - two priorities - why the Edwardses' decision is appalling. Their names are Emma Clare and Jack. They are only 8 and 6, respectively.
Don’t you love Smerky’s insufferable sanctimony? As if this has never occurred to the Edwardses! Too funny…

Another daughter, Cate, is off at Harvard Law. Instead of going home to be with their children, John and Elizabeth Edwards are going to continue with a career path that is 24/7. Monday found him in California, and her in Ohio.

Elizabeth Edwards told Katie Couric that "the most important thing you can give your children [is] wings. Because you're not gonna always be able to bring food to the nest. You're . . . sometimes . . . they're gonna have to be able to fly by themselves."

Baby birds, as Couric pointed out, is more like it. The kids are in elementary school, for goodness' sake.
And as others have noted, Katie Couric so dutifully stopped working when her own husband became ill with cancer, right?

If this sounds like too harsh an assessment, consider the public reaction if the affected family were out of the public limelight, and the parents no longer needed to work. What would be the reaction of friends and neighbors if the couple immediately pursued a path that would keep them on the road and away from their kids? I think it would be revulsion. So why should our judgment of the Edwardses be any different just because he is running for office?
This logic is about as straight as a pretzel.

One more time…if the Edwardses had had any inclination that this campaign would have jeopardized their kids in any way, they would have given up by now!

And besides, by virtue of John Edwards’ legal practice and time in the Senate, somehow I’m sure he’s been able to amass a good bit of financial security. And that’s fine – I don’t begrudge that of a politician. It’s just a matter of what they do with their position as far as I’m concerned, and I believe Edwards is doing the best he can on that score. And I’m sure that security has been able to buy a lot of dependable help and support for their kids while John and Elizabeth Edwards engage in the campaign.

And Smerky says, “What if the Edwardses were out of the public limelight?” The whole issue here of Elizabeth’s health and their family life is being discussed and commented on because THEY ARE IN THE PUBLIC LIMELIGHT!!

Again, I hope Elizabeth Edwards has many more years with her family. I wish her a long life. I simply doubt that whenever her days end, she will look back at this time and be thankful for day trips to Iowa and New Hampshire.
If we see the great day of the Edwards campaign pulling this thing off when all is said and done (and Elizabeth still with us, God willing also), then I’m sure she’ll have a different reaction.

Also, I should point out that Smerky broadcasts to anyone masochistic enough to listen to him on radio station 1210 WPHT in these parts. Along with a truly unholy collection of right-wing blowhards, the radio station also broadcasts local legend Sid Mark, who plays the music of Frank Sinatra on the weekends.

Well, on Sunday morning, Mark defended Smerky because our hero appeared on “Real Time With Bill Maher” this week, and Sid thought Smerconish was treated badly, but showed class anyway (I’m paraphrasing here – I’ll try to watch it, but I know that, since D.L. Hughley was on the panel also, Smerky got at least as good as he gave…I honestly don’t know if I could tolerate Smerky for an entire hour).

Sid, I have a request. I know that your foul employer likes to see you engage in that sort of thing, but if you stay out of politics, then I won’t mention that you’ve been playing the same Sinatra songs (great though they are) and the same promos from the same sponsors for the last 30 years at least, OK?

Update 4/8/07: I know I didn't address commenter Nancy earlier, but I thought excerpting this from this link I just came across was the best way to do it.

For example, she (E.E.) said she recently was riled by a blogger on The Huffington Post who questioned the Edwardses' decision to continue the campaign with an 8-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son at home.

Elizabeth Edwards responded in the comments section, accusing the author of jumping to wrong conclusions. The Edwardses have decided to take their children on the campaign trail and use a combination of home schooling from their mother and tutoring from a professional. They were considering such an arrangement even before her diagnosis.

"First, our children will in fact be with us as we campaign — as they were last time, with some adjustments because they are a little older," she wrote.

"And second, our determination not to crumble at this news but to continue working for all we believe is an affirmation of life and a life lesson to them as well — a tough lesson but a vital one. And finally, as the comments to this post inform you, no one knows how long I will live; should we all sit home together until I do? What if it is twenty years? Why do I have to behave as it is twenty weeks?" she wrote.

She said that was a toned-down version of what she originally wrote.

"I have to admit that I typed something probably a little spicier, you know, nothing profane or anything," she said. "But I took that out and thought, `I need to convince this guy, not to alienate him.'"
Hat tip to The Daily Kos for that item.

1 comment:

Nancy Near Philadelphia said...

I'm not sure what it matters that this couple consulted with their children before making their decision. At six and eight, they really are not able to understand the gravity of their mother's condition, and at six and eight, who would NOT want their father to be the President?