I have a review forthcoming of Bob Shrum’s memoir, so I don’t want to say much about that at the moment. My review didn’t, however, really deal with the subject of Mike Crowley’s piece on the book which focuses on the idea that Shrum deliberately slams John Edwards in the book. I had a very different reaction to the book than did Crowley. I agree that Shrum paints Edwards in a bad light in several places, but what I thought to myself while reading them was “the crazy thing is that Shrum seems to think this makes Edwards look good!”
At any rate, Crowley makes a convincing case, but what motivated my alternative reading was that unrelated portions of the book dealing with other people indicated to me that Shrum likes to deploy a very heavy hand when grinding his axes. The Edwards passages didn’t feel like that to me. One source of contention, for example, is that Shrum says in the book that Edwards’ vote for the war was basically a political position move that Shrum (among others) advocated that went against Edwards’ instincts. The Edwards campaign has made it clear that they really don’t like this story, and instead prefer to focus on the issue of flawed intelligence and misplaced faith in George W. Bush. It seems perfectly plausible to me that Shrum would have believed that Shrum’s account paints Edwards in a more favorable light — Edwards is a man of sound judgment who in a moment of weakness bowed to expediency and has ever since learned to stick to his guns. Obviously, Team Edwards doesn’t see it that way, but it continues to be a bit unclear to me what mistake, exactly, Edwards is trying to say he made with that vote.