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Edwards in Time

By Matthew Yglesias on May 3, 2007 at 11:48 am

"Edwards in Time"

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Some of Edwards’ fans had assured me that this Time article would cure me of my doubts about John Edwards’ national security record and agenda, but it really doesn’t. It does make me think somewhat better of Edwards, but it’s also a bit orthagonal to my main concerns. Here’s the money quote:

“This political language has created a frame that is not accurate and that Bush and his gang have used to justify anything they want to do,” Edwards said in a phone interview from Everett, Wash. “It’s been used to justify a whole series of things that are not justifiable, ranging from the war in Iraq, to torture, to violation of the civil liberties of Americans, to illegal spying on Americans. Anyone who speaks out against these things is treated as unpatriotic. I also think it suggests that there’s a fixed enemy that we can defeat with just a military campaign. I just don’t think that’s true.”

That’s good stuff. What I want to hear from Edwards, though, is something about the evolution of his thought. Why is it that in the 2004 campaign he was for creating a domestic intelligence service and for invading Iraq, and now three years later he’s not for those things? Not that I think he’s an evil flip-flopper, I believe I’ve made exactly that journey on those issues. I could, however, provide for you an account of what I was thinking at the time, why I’ve changed my mind, and what lessons that offers me for my thinking about future foreign policy issues.

I haven’t heard that from Edwards and the staffing decisions he’s made don’t give me a ton of confidence that he’s drawn the right ones. I also note that Petey’s taken to arguing in comments that one good thing about Edwards is that he can get more forward-leaning politically on things like “war on terror” rhetoric because he’s in a stronger position politically as the fabled southern white man candidate. A different interpretation is that he’s in a weaker position politically (running third in the polls and in the fundraising) and sees his only viable strategy as running way to the left in the primary.

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