Thursday, July 08, 2004
Edwards vs. Cheney: As I watched the news coverage yesterday of Sen. John Kerry's veep selection, I was struck by the utter stupidity of NBC's instapoll on the subject.
When asked who would do a better job of running the country, 45 percent said Edwards, while 38 percent said Cheney. That finding runs counter to Bush's answer Wednesday to a reporter's request for him to compare Cheney and Edwards. "Dick Cheney can be president. Next," Bush said curtly.
If you wanted to compare vice-presidential resumes, then Cheney's dwarfs Edwards'. Not that it really matters, back in 1998, Lloyd Bentsen's resume dwarfed Dan Quayle's and it didn't matter when election day came. The number of voters who will make their decision solely based on who the veep is is so miniscule that it wouldn't even have swayed the Florida vote in 2000.
What that poll question is really about is popularity -- not who can best run the country. For the past three years, the Michael Moores and Pat Leahys of the world have been slandering Cheney in the media. Cheney, as the former CEO of Halliburton, has been falsly accused of making efforts to benefit his former company and all other sorts of capitalistic evil.
Those accusations have permeated the media to the point, as Jay Nordlinger points out, that David Letterman's Top 10 list of things overheard at Saddam Hussein's court appearance includes:
No. 2: "Saddam is the most evil man the world has ever known — not counting Dick Cheney"!
If you're really looking for proof that Kerry picked a Dan Quayle-ish lightweight as his running mate, then look no further than Edwards' appearance on Charlie Rose the day of the 9/11 attacks. Author Tom Clancy, another of the show's guests demonstrates that Edwards certainly can't be trusted to wage the war on terror should something happen to Kerry.
Sen. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC): Well, Mr. Ambassador, we-- First of all, we've not heard from the administration yet -- and, I think, understandably so -- precisely what they'd like to see us do.
I've heard some of the discussion over the course of this program by you and other panelists. And I think you're exactly on the right track. And, as I think you and I have already discussed in the past, this issue of terrorism, of course, is the greatest national-security threat we face in this country today.
There are a number of us who have been working on this issue. We've actually been in the process of drafting legislation aimed at accomplishing a number of things.
Number one -- establishing terrorism as the kind of national-security priority that it should be.
Number two -- making sure that the federal agencies who are involved in this are adequately and properly coordinated in their activities.
Number three -- making sure that the institutions who are involved have the authority, the legal authority, to do what's need-- what needs to be done.
I've heard the discussion in this program -- and we've talked about it in the past -- the building of coalitions, internationally, to deal with this issue because we're going to need partners around the world to make this process work.
But I think the single most important thing is for the American people and our government to recognize what an enormous priority this needs to be. And I have to say, Charlie -- and you may have discussed this and I apologize if you have -- but I think the will of the American people will become stronger as we go forward because they watched this devastation today.
But what's gonna happen as we move forward through this thing is all of those people who lost their lives and who were injured at the World Trade Center and here at the Pentagon -- brave Americans who were totally innocent in this process -- this is gonna become a very personal thing for the American people.
And the American people are gonna respond in a strong and personal way. And I think they're going to expect their leadership to do what's necessary to insure that this sort of thing does not happen again.
CHARLIE ROSE: All right. Let me go to STEVE EMERSON--
TOM CLANCY: Gee, Senator.
But then what actually are you going to do? I think the-- I think the American people recognize that this is a 10,000-plus dead American citizens. What action are we going to take, sir? What are you gonna vote for? What are you gonna authorize? What are you gonna fund?
Sen. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC): Well, I think the-- I think the starting place is to do the thing--
First of all, there is an immediate response to what just occurred. And then there's a long-term issue, which is the issue that I've been discussing. Long-term, we have the national-security threat of ongoing terrorism.
There are multiple things that need to be done in connection with that--
TOM CLANCY: OK.
Let's-- What are they? What are you gonna do?
Sen. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC): Those are the things I just talked about -- putting more resources in our counter-terrorism, making sure that the things that need to be done are in fact being done, making sure that the federal agencies who are involved are working together, making sure that they have the authority to do what needs to be done--
TOM CLANCY: Senator, you're not--
Sen. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC): --making sure that--
TOM CLANCY: You're not doing anything. You're just talking. What are we going to do? What action are we going to take?
CHARLIE ROSE: I think, Tom, what he is saying is ``give the people that are responsible for this in the executive branch the resources to do it'' is what his answer has been.
Sen. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC): And, Charlie, if I can add to that, that has to do-- that has to do with the long-term issue.
And, by the way, I think the building of these coalitions internationally are also a critical component.
CHARLIE ROSE: Yeah.
Sen. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC): In addition to that, we have a specific response to these particular incidents, which is to identify who did this and go out and hold them responsible.
That's not the response of a leader.
As some Democrats, in defense of Edwards, have pointed out, Bush had practically no foreign policy experience when he took office in Jan. 2001. But contrast Bush's response to the 9/11 attacks with Edwards -- who at the time had 2+ years of "foreign policy experience" as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Sometimes character and leadership are more important than senatorial "experience".