Jon Sanders

John Edwards, fresh from admitting he didn't know Cuba's healthcare system was government-run, was featured in an Aug. 19 interview by Liz Halloran in U.S. News & World Report. Among other questions, Halloran asked Edwards if his campaign had moved from an emotional appeal to a "more cerebral, issues-oriented approach." Edwards' response:

"I think it's the opposite. I think what you're seeing from me now is coming, all of it, from here [touches heart]." Yes, the parenthetical "touches heart" is in the story. Yes, Edwards used the stereotypically sappy "touch the heart" gesture in an interview – for print, where whatever emotional tug it could have had would be lost.

That same day, Ron Fournier of the Associated Press filed his "Analysis: Do the Dems Have a Goldilocks?" which opened thus: "Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is too experienced [sic], Sen. Barack Obama too raw. Listening to Democrats give their Goldilocks view of the 2008 presidential campaign must make voters wonder: Will any candidate be just right for the White House?"

Fournier got the analogy wrong, however. It wasn't Goldilocks who was "just right"; she was the one who tested things to see which suited her tastes. All the "just-right" things belonged to Baby Bear.

Nevertheless, the comparison is salvageable if we bear in mind that the Goldilocks equivalent is the Democratic primary voter. Fournier's opening covers Papa Bear (Clinton) and Mama Bear (Obama). But there's no Baby Bear.

True, there is John Edwards. And as Fournier wrote, "Edwards clearly wants to be the Goldilocks candidate." Feel free to chuckle. Edwards is many things, but "just right" he isn't. The only time "just right" has been used to describe him, it's always been part of the sentence, "There's something about that Edwards fellow that's just not right."

A candidate who thinks touching his heart is an answer of substance is just not right. A candidate who takes his posin' shovel down to New Orleans to announce his candidacy and care for the residents while investing about $16 million in a subprime lender (Fortress Investment Group) that's foreclosing on homeowners there is just not right. And what about working as a consultant for that group and investing in its tax-free Cayman Island hedge funds after having spoken publicly against subprime lenders and offshore tax shelters?

With these and all his other laughably blatant hypocrisies, Edwards seems to be touching Hart, as in Gary Hart, the Democrat presidential candidate who in 1987 responded to rumors he was having an affair by daring the media to "put a tail on me, go ahead; they'll be very bored" and days later was photographed with model Donna Rice on a yacht entitled Monkey Business.


Jon Sanders

Jon Sanders is associate director of research at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh, N.C.