Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 9, 2004
POLITICS: The Rich

John Edwards, war profiteer? Not really, but Tim Blair has some grist for conspiracy theorists, and Bill Hobbs has some fun with Kerry and Edwards flying "Million Air" (yes, that's actually what the private airline service said). Of course, that wasn't the Kerry camp's only amusing recent gaffe; the Boston Herald's blog also noted Kerry arriving at an education event to the strains of Bruce Springsteen's "No Surrender" - a great song, but one whose opening lines are "We busted out of class/had to get away from those fools/We learned more from a three-minute record, baby/than we ever learned in school."

Anyway, on the money issue, one thing that gets me is how Edwards vs. Cheney is supposed to be the little guy vs. the plutocrat; the New York Daily News bills the matchup as "The Lawyer vs. the Tycoon." But Edwards was a multimillionaire years before Cheney was. My recollection on this could be wrong, but I don't believe Cheney grew up rich in Wyoming in the Forties and Fifties; he spent the Sixties as a student, 1969-76 working in the Nixon & Ford Administrations, spent the Carter & Reagan years as a small-state Congressman, and 1989-92 as Secretary of Defense, while his wife was (I believe) also in the public-policy business. In other words, while Congressmen and Cabinet secretaries are hardly poor, I doubt he made much in the way of really serious millionaire-type money until he left the Pentagon in 1993 to head Halliburton. Edwards, by contrast, won his first million-dollar verdict in a contingency fee case (i.e., he probably walked off with a third) around 1984, and his wife was also in lucrative private practice for many years. I guarantee you that in 1992, Edwards was worth several times what Cheney was worth. Yet, somehow, Edwards is the "little guy". Bah.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:25 AM | Politics 2004 | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

We know that Edwards grew up the son of a working-class mill worker who once left a restaurant with his family in their Sunday finest because he couldn't afford it.

Let's assume that Cheney grew up under similar circumstances.

Regardless of when he made his money, Edwards put himself through school and then made a killing representing the small guy against the big corporation.

Cheney took his connections and knowledge from a lifetime in public office, parlaid it into a CEO gig for a company who profits greatly from government contracts, and made $36,000,000 in the year 2000 alone.

It would appear that neither Cheney nor Edwards is the little guy, but its pretty apparent via their actions and histories which one is more likely to represent the little guy when it comes to big business and big government.

Anyways, I'm sure I'd have a different opinion if I saw the article you read in which Edwards was referred to as the "little guy".

Posted by: C Giddy at July 9, 2004 12:16 PM

Neither one bothers me. Nothing wrong with being rich. Both men earned their money and have nothing to apologize about. A high income is neither an indication of virtue nor evidence of its absence.

Posted by: The Mad Hibernian at July 9, 2004 8:56 PM

Edwards sued doctors and kept 40% of the winnings, and his claims about cerebral palsey appear to be meritless. He opposed a no-fault system that would have provided for all cerebral palsey victims. This makes him more like a mobster than a legitimate businessman.

Perhaps as long as people who don't pay taxes can vote, democracy will be a war against the rich?

Posted by: John Doe at July 10, 2004 5:08 AM

Fuck the rich.

Posted by: ernest at July 10, 2004 5:01 PM

Edwards' family ended up being pretty comfortable financially-his father rose through the ranks, becoming plant manager and later a textile consultant. The elder Edwards is to be applauded for his success, but let's not have the family portrayed as Tobacco Road types.

Posted by: John Salmon at July 10, 2004 10:32 PM
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