Debra J. Saunders

Elizabeth Edwards complained to the Progressive magazine that antiwar critics such as Sen. Barack Obama are "behaving in a holier-than-thou" manner on Iraq. Too bad for Edwards that Obama opposed the war in Iraq in 2002, while her husband John Edwards -- as well as Sens. Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Christopher Dodd -- voted for the Iraq war resolution.

Holier-than-thou antiwar Democrats. Isn't that phrase redundant? Elizabeth Edwards now is more than John Edwards' wife. She has become his Spiro Agnew. Remember Agnew, President Richard M. Nixon's first vice president and designated verbal hatchet man, known famously for dismissing critics as "nattering nabobs of negativism"?

Mrs. E isn't quite as lyrical as Agnew. Recently, she told Salon.com that Hillary Clinton seemed to feel the need "to behave as a man and not talk about women's issues." Not much alliteration in that slam.

Worse, last month, Elizabeth Edwards complained: "We can't make John black, we can't make him a woman. Those things get you a lot of press, worth a certain amount of fund-raising dollars."

That's right: All Edwards has is a wife with cancer. And as fiercely as the couple tries to play that victim card, Edwards remains in third place. His RealClearPolitics poll average of 12 percent lags far behind Clinton's 40 percent and Obama's 21 percent.

Elizabeth Edwards also accused Obama of "lifting her husband's best lines" from 2004, "which is maybe not surprising since one of his speechwriters was one of our speechwriters, his media guy was our media guy." She complained that Obama is using John Edwards' rhetoric -- turning "hope is on the way" to "the audacity of hope" -- which I guess is wrong because Edwards apparently now owns the word "hope."

Every time an Edwards opens his or her trap, you can feel the desperation. And no matter how nasty they get, it can't help, because John Edwards' biggest problem is that he comes across as the biggest phony in the race.

He's the swell who charged UC Davis $55,000 -- for a 2006 speech on poverty; the self-styled populist who not only treated himself to two $400 haircuts, but also passed the tab along to his campaign; the global warming scold who built a 28,000-square-foot mansion.

Edwards is so full of himself that he doesn't do his homework. He demanded that fellow Democrats forswear contributions from Rupert Murdoch, the man behind Fox News -- oblivious to the fact that Murdoch's HarperCollins had paid him a $500,000 advance, and $300,000 in expenses, for Edward's 2006 book, "Home: The Blueprints of Our Lives."

Elizabeth Edwards disingenuously told the Progressive that when her husband voted for the war resolution, "Mostly the antiwar cry was from people who weren't hearing what he was hearing. And the resolution wasn't really to go to war. The resolution, if you recall, was forcing (President) Bush to go to the U.N. first."

That's simply not true. The resolution title was clear: "to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq." There was no language requiring Bush to win U.N. approval.

And how does Edwards deal with a vote he now calls a mistake? At a February Democratic forum, John Edwards crowed, "I think I was the first, at least close to being the first, to say very publicly that I was wrong."

Elizabeth Edwards is trashing the front-running Democrats because her husband is trailing in the presidential primary -- and rather than take each of them on directly, he is hiding behind his wife's skirt.


Debra J. Saunders


 
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