John Edwards: Class-Warfare Charlatan

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
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Talk about a scathing critique about John Edwards and the 'tales' he told while trying to get elected.

Sad to think that so many Democrats fell for the stories from this con-man lawyer who should have got a job in Hollywood instead of running for President.

BTW the article is also full of some great informational stuff on what it is like to be 'poor' in America today.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/268777/john-edwards-class-warfare-charlatan-robert-rector
Former senator John Edwards is back in the news. As a politician, Edwards’s main theme was “poverty.” He ran on this issue twice in Democratic presidential primaries and as candidate for vice president in 2004. Edwards famously declared there were “two Americas,” one rich and one poor; as a candidate, he spent most of his time exaggerating the chasm between the two.

In Edwards’s vision of America, nearly 40 million Americans live in “terrible” conditions, their daily life a “struggle with incredible poverty.” According to Edwards, America’s poor, who number “one in eight of us … do not have enough money for the food, shelter, and clothing they need.”

In his stump speeches, Edwards proclaimed, ”Tonight, a 10-year-old little girl will go to bed hungry, hoping and praying that tomorrow will not be as cold as today because she doesn’t have the coat to keep her warm.” Challenged by skeptics, Edwards’s staff reluctantly admitted the girl was “metaphorical.” But that never stopped Edwards from featuring her in speech after speech as the symbol of the “plague of poverty” ravaging an eighth of the nation.

Edwards understood the emotive power of the word “poverty.” To the average American, “poverty” means significant material deprivation, an inability to provide a family with adequate nutritious food, reasonable shelter, and clothing. Liberal activists reinforce this view, declaring that being poor in U.S. means being “unable to obtain the basic material necessities of life.” The news media amplify this idea; most new stories on poverty in the U.S. feature homeless families, people living in crumbling shacks, or lines of the downtrodden eating in soup kitchens.

It is true that, while Edwards was on the campaign trail, the U.S. Census Bureau regularly declared that nearly 40 million Americans were living “in poverty.” The question is, how many of the 40 million people defined as “poor” by the government were actually living in the dire conditions described by Edwards and the mainstream media? The answer: very few. As scholar James Q. Wilson has stated, “The poorest Americans today live a better life than all but the richest persons a hundred years ago.”

While Edwards campaigned for the presidency, the typical “poor” household, as defined by the government, had air conditioning and a car. For entertainment, the household had cable or satellite TV, two color televisions, a DVD player, and a VCR. If there were children in the home (especially boys), the family had a game system such as an X-box or Play Station.

These are verifiable government data, not metaphors. And there are more. The typical “poor” kitchen had a microwave, refrigerator, oven, and stove. Other household conveniences included a clothes washer, clothes dryer, ceiling fans, cordless phones, and a coffee maker.

The home of the average poor family was not overcrowded and was in good repair. In fact, the typical poor American had more living space than the average European. (Note: That’s average European, not poor European.) The family was able to obtain medical care when needed.

By its own report, the family was not hungry; actually, the majority of poor adults, like most Americans, were overweight. When asked, most poor families stated they had had sufficient funds during the past year to meet all essential needs. While poor families struggled to make ends meet, in most cases, they were struggling to pay for a car, air conditioning, and cable TV, while putting ample food on the table.

Edwards lectured the public endlessly about children in poverty, painting pictures of toddlers with empty stomachs living in shacks. But he never discussed the causes of child poverty. These are: very low levels of work among poor parents (even during economic boom times) and the collapse of marriage in low-income communities.

Ironically, Edwards was right about “two nations” in one sense: marriage is now the main economic dividing line among families. Today, over 40 percent of children are born outside marriage. America is rapidly evolving into two castes: Children in the top half are being raised by married parents with college degrees, while children in the bottom third are born to and raised by unmarried mothers with a high-school degree or less.

Another topic Edwards scrupulously avoided was the size of the welfare state. Last year, government spent nearly $900 billion on means-tested assistance, providing cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to low-income Americans. This sum (which does not include Social Security and Medicare) amounts to over $20,000 for each poor American.

As the nation’s most vocal anti-poverty warrior, Edwards always maintained a pious silence about topics such as the causes of poverty and the size of the welfare state. Instead, living in a $5 million mansion and sporting $450 haircuts, he intoned endlessly about little girls with empty stomachs who walked to school, on cold wintry mornings, without even a coat to keep warm. Behind the empty rhetoric was a man with vanity and ambition, and not much else.
 

Infohawk

Lifer
Jan 12, 2002
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How many Edwards threads do we need?

Not that I agreed with his politics but this scandal doesn't make his positions more or less true. If a Republican gets caught trying to pick up guys in an airport does that mean all his conservative ideals should be thrown out the window? (Well actually I think the ones about morality should be but that's another story...)
 

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,251
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Not that I agreed with his politics but this scandal doesn't make his positions more or less true. If a Republican gets caught trying to pick up guys in an airport does that mean all his conservative ideals should be thrown out the window? (Well actually I think the ones about morality should be but that's another story...)
Edwards didn't have any ideas. He just made up stories about 'poor' people to get people to vote for him.

He was a single issue candidate who appealed to emotion.
 

GarfieldtheCat

Diamond Member
Jan 7, 2005
3,708
1
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So it's some sort of race to see who can have the most redundant threads? Okay. I noticed how you didn't respond to the main part of my post btw.

Nonprofjohn never responds to questions like this. He was a very narrow view, so he will only read the parts that agree with his beliefs (not the facts, just his beliefs). When confronted with facts showing how incorrect he is, or facts showing his beliefs are invalid, he will skulk away and start another thread about his made-up beliefs. It's pretty common for him actually.
 

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,251
8
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Nonprofjohn never responds to questions like this. He was a very narrow view, so he will only read the parts that agree with his beliefs (not the facts, just his beliefs). When confronted with facts showing how incorrect he is, or facts showing his beliefs are invalid, he will skulk away and start another thread about his made-up beliefs. It's pretty common for him actually.
I did respond to his question by pointing out that Edwards had no ideas and only had empty stories.

As the article I posted points out the whole 'poor child starving to death' bit was completely made up in order to appeal to people's emotions.
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
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Another idiocy thread from PJ.

He quotes a terribly discredited magazine that is a main advocate of policies to make the poor poorer - who even Buckley's son left in protest over its radicalization.

The reason it's interested? To try to attack the cause of poor people.

Edwards advocated for the poor, strongly. That puts him ahead on his agenda of 90% of national politicians - even if he was using them as an issue, and that's debatable. He was a liar, about a sexual matter and its coverup, about his adultery; he may have committed crimes involving the money to cover the matter up.

That's it. His message, his agenda, was great. In his personal life he was not.

Sometimes it comes up, 'is the leader 'sincere' about his agenda?'

Actually, sometimes that may not be the most important thing, compared to his policies being good.

Political figures often are somewhat 'phony', riding an issue - that's part of their talent. There are some, like a Bernie Sanders on the correct side or a Paul Ryan on the wrong side, who are more 'sincere' about an agenda they believe in - but I'd say a lot are much less committed to an agenda, including Clinton, Obama, Bush; even JFK and FDR, in ways, the latter telling Clark Gable he was the second greatest actor in the US, IIRC; even much of Reagan's agenda IMO.

It's not that they don't want to do what they see as good things, but that they understand the political system enough to choose to keep public support over riding an issue out of office. Kennedy didn't care much about civil rights when he took office IMO; his concern was triggered in no small part by his not liking how the pictures of Bull Connor's dogs attacking black children could be used as propaganda in the cold war overseas (this PR pressure something Martin Luther King, Jr. was after when he chose to put the children in that position, after his march didn't get support from adults, for which he was attacked, understandably, 'but it worked').

When Kennedy did start to care more about civil rights, it was still in a politically calculated manner. He made a historic speech, spending political capital and putting his whole political agenda at some risk in a hostile Congress (despite being Democratic, the South was the South and their #1 issue was blocking civil rights), he put forward a historic civil rights bill, he took on a big fight to threaten Southern governors with federal forces to protect sending black students to school - but he was also initially against the civil rights march in Washington, D. C. that had the most famous King speech, he was opposed to the freedom riders who were stirring things up in the south, he was at odds with the civil rights leaders on the pace of efforts.

It's possible for a politician to be a beloved leader who leads great change - and a sort of 'phony' on the issue who uses it for their own political advantage.

That's why leaders from FDR to Obama have told liberal groups to 'force them' politicial to do what they want. They're not there to become unpopular leaders for the agenda.

We'd prefer our leaders were 'committed and sincere' about an agenda, but if Edwards was 'using' the issue, it's fair to ask, 'so what, was he good at helping the poor?'

Leaders who are too 'flexible' are a problem - the Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich who simply chase the polls. But they're another issue.

What really were most of these politicians' 'central issues' they were for regardless of the politics? It's hard to name many.

What did Clinton really stand for? Obama? Bush?

To take one on each side, Clinton gave in on healthcare, welfare reform, free trade agreements, finannicla deregulation when politics demanded.

Bush was largely a servant of right-wing interests much of his presidency IMO, with right-wing interest groups pulling the strings, politely doing it always agreeing he was in charge, but he'd largely do as suggested by the interest groups, the neocons in foreign policy, the Republican political operatives domestically, such as letting the Republican legislative agenda go to the highest bidders, appointing hundreds of industry representatives to be the watchdogs for industries they'd lobbied for.

When the Terry Schiavo bill, the payoff to big Pharma Medicare Part D bill, were brought to him, he didn't act 'conservative', he played his political role.

The only time you see mouthpieces like PJ or NR speak out about an advocate for the poor being a 'phony', pretending they care about the poor, is when they can attack the leader and score some points - their own agenda that is directly aimed at the poor is the real problem. If Edwards did nothing wrong, they attack him just as if not more strongly. He's not their opponent for his lies and coverup, he's their enemy for speaking out for the poor which is against their agenda that harms all but the rich.

Edit: I didn't bother to read the NR rag quoted before the above, then I glanced at it, and it's the usual repeating of one of their propaganda talking points, 'don't care the poor, there are no poor'. This was epitomized by the infamous Wall Street journal that called the poor "lucky duckies". These ideologues often actually believe this crap put out for them by propagandists, then repeat it.

They usually don't understand they're being propagandized, by organizations such as Heritage, AEI and Cato, and are the willing foot soldiers repeating it.

I could post a 'counter perspective' as so often, but it's really not worth the effort, PJ dodges the responses and I doubt many are that deluded to fall for his talking points.

Additional section added to the post as well.

Save234
 
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UberNeuman

Lifer
Nov 4, 1999
16,937
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remind me not to vote for John Edwards....

\toss the dead meat onto the ravenous crowds...
\\Edwards has done good in his life, sadly he's committed the sin of not being honest enough....
\\\are any of you better?
 
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ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
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Craig, seriously no one reads that shit.

If you can't make a quick point then save yourself the time.
 

UberNeuman

Lifer
Nov 4, 1999
16,937
3,087
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Craig, seriously no one reads that shit.

If you can't make a quick point then save yourself the time.

If you fear what the Craigers has to say, then don't answer it...

\seems that he touches the nerves to get a response..
\\and that's funny coming from you, wall of text....
 
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Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
15,776
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Craig, seriously no one reads that shit.

If you can't make a quick point then save yourself the time.

In other words, just as in your Hollywood thread, if it doesn't fit on a bumper sticker you're incapable of comprehending it.
 

First

Lifer
Jun 3, 2002
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In other words, just as in your Hollywood thread, if it doesn't fit on a bumper sticker you're incapable of comprehending it.

True enough, conservatives are attracted to short, simple phrases. Like moths to a flame, they're easily distracted.
 

marincounty

Diamond Member
Nov 16, 2005
3,227
5
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John Edwards would be a charlatan and a hypocrite if he advocated for the poor and believed in lower taxes for the rich, but of course he didn't. He was one of the principled rich who believed in higher taxes for those who can afford it in order to support the least fortunate.
http://usliberals.about.com/od/theeconomyjobs/p/EdwardsTax1.htm
About Bush tax policy, he said, "They don't believe work matters most. They don't believe in helping working people build wealth. They genuinely believe that the wealth of the wealthy matters most
A just tax system reflects a just society. This is the time to say that a stockbroker should never pay a lower tax rate on wealth than a secretary pays on work."

First, we must write a firm principle into the tax code: the wealth of the wealthiest can never be taxed less than the work of the rest of America. Today, wealthy Americans can shelter unlimited amounts of unearned (investment) income from being taxed at the rate working Americans pay...That's wrong."

#2 - Take Away the Biggest Tax Shelter:
"We must take away the biggest shelter in the current tax code: the very wealthiest are able to shelter capital gains and dividends from the Alternative Minimum Tax.
The very purpose of the AMT is to make sure the very wealthy pay their fair share...But the AMT is (now) doing exactly the opposite. It is increasingly hitting middle class families. At the same time, the AMT is not taxing many of the multi-millionaires it was meant to tax."

Not only do we rarely tax overseas income from US companies--we often given them an extra $78 billion in tax breaks.
Our tax laws actually support the outsourcing of millions of jobs. That's wrong and Americans want us to get this right.

We need to crack down on tax havens, small countries that attract business by helping foreigners and corporations avoid their taxes in the US."

"...we have seen how when corporations fail, ordinary workers lose their pensions but some CEOs walked away with golden parachutes...The Financial times calls this group 'the barons of bankruptcy.'We must end the abuse of the tax advantage of executive pensions."

"Sometimes I hear wealthy and successful folks say 'I earned this money. The government shouldn't take it away.' And they're right they did earn their money, and government shouldn't take a nickel more than necessary.
But the truth is nobody earns his or her money alone. They earn it thanks to America. They earn it because America protects private property, enforces contracts, and yes, punishes torts. They earn it because America has securities law that protect the integrity of our markets. They earn it becasue Aemrica has public schools and universities that give everyone the tools to get ahead.
So nobody goes it alone, and everybody has a responsibility to help everyone else get ahead.
Our tax code is done the wrong way. It undermines our values....I believe that our tax code should honor one value above all the others: work. Work gives our lives meaning, and work gives our country stength."
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
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True enough, conservatives are attracted to short, simple phrases. Like moths to a flame, they're easily distracted.

To be fair, there's a "Yes we can!" part of the liberal demographic, too.

But progressive leaders are far better than right-wing leaders, who are slogan addicts.

This is why Frank Lutz is *the* star of the Republican party, for his propaganda efforts with focus groups to search for phrases that sell terrible policies to right-wingers.

I'm not kidding, when his research accidentally stumbled across a new name for the Estate Tax, the desire by the rich to repeal it, which had been dormant for decades for lack of public support to give the rich such a terrible, one-sided tax cut, was turned into a new major national movement simply on the power of the nice new name he found. A Republican activist who heard about the new name and research excitedly contacted other Republican operatives and made a name for themselves pushing this.

Bernie Sanders makes actual points; check out his 8 hour filibuster against extending the Bush tax cuts last year, they literally published it in a book.

On the other hand, every single national Republican leader is a slogan monster. The closest to someone more serious is Ron Paul or Paul Ryan but they're incredibly wrong, and one-trick ponies with simplistic ideologies that would be a disaster anywhere off a page of paper that's not in our law.

They're Mencken's boys, for complex problems: "neat, plausible, and wrong."

The right is a political group that literally has weekly meetings to agree on the phrases to repeat for 'message unity', who have Fox executives send staff points for the day. These aren't points like "the war in Afghanistan is an issue to cover", they're propaganda points, often including phrases to repeat.

For example, one of the issues exposed last December:

During the height of the health care debate a Fox News vice president Bill Sammon sent a memo to staff asking them to refer to the 'public option' as the 'government option.'...

"Please use the term ‘government-run health insurance,’ or, when brevity is a concern, ‘government option,’ whenever possible.”

This memo came shortly after Republican pollster Frank Luntz advised Sean Hannity thusly:

“If you call it a public option, the American people are split,” he explained. “If you call it the government option, the public is overwhelmingly against it.”
http://www.businessinsider.com/leak...vision-told-to-echo-gop-talking-point-2010-12

Another example of 'wording' instructions, from the Senior VP at Fox for 'News Editorial' Moody:

"[L]et's refer to the US marines we see in the foreground [of pictures coming out of Fallujah] as "sharpshooters" not snipers, which carries a negative connotation "


Another:

"Two style notes: [Eric Ru]dolph is charged with bombing an abortion clinic, not a "health clinic." ...[TO]DAY'S HEARING IS NOT AN ARRAIGNMENT. IT IS AN INITIAL HEARING "

Another:

"[Th]e president is doing something that few of his predecessors dared undertake: [pu]tting the US case for mideast peace to an Arab summit. It's a distinctly [sk]eptical crowd that Bush faces. His political courage and tactical cunning ar[e] [wo]rth noting in our reporting through the day "

Another Fox example reported:

In the midst of global climate change talks last December, a top Fox News official sent an email questioning the "veracity of climate change data" and ordering the network's journalists to "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question."

The directive, sent by Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon, was issued less than 15 minutes after Fox correspondent Wendell Goler accurately reported on-air that the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization announced that 2000-2009 was "on track to be the warmest [decade] on record."
 

Thump553

Lifer
Jun 2, 2000
12,669
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PJ: I really see no reason to dump on Edwards now. The process worked-he did not win the Dem nomination. As I recall he never got much higher than a weak #3. There is not a chance in hell he will ever be elected to anything again, much less President.

If you want to talk about fooling all of the people all of the time start a thread explaining the GOP plan to balance the budget by cutting spending while at the same time cutting taxes. I'd love to hear a rational sounding explanation of that fantasy.
 

PeshakJang

Platinum Member
Mar 17, 2010
2,276
0
0
If you want to talk about fooling all of the people all of the time start a thread explaining the GOP plan to balance the budget by cutting spending while at the same time cutting taxes. I'd love to hear a rational sounding explanation of that fantasy.

Spend less than you take in. Does that sound irrational in the mind of a liberal?
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
33,425
7,485
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PJ: I really see no reason to dump on Edwards now. The process worked-he did not win the Dem nomination. As I recall he never got much higher than a weak #3. There is not a chance in hell he will ever be elected to anything again, much less President.

^This

We have to prosecute him just in case. We have a witch, let's burn her (him). He's still alive, he's still breathing, kick him when he's down!

Were those enough small slogans?

Pursuing Edwards should, itself, be a crime. The man is defeated, his life in ruins. It is over for him and yet villains press on to fill their heart's content with a bloody vengeful end.

It's all a waste of tax payer dollars to go after a victimless 'crime' which has already been dealt with. There is nothing left to do against Edwards that is short of a crime against humanity. Yet there appear to be a bunch of sycophants who relish the idea of his prosecution.
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,548
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I don't buy the 'John Edwards has suffered so don't prosecute him' line. That's not the reason not to do so.

But I'm skeptical of the prosecution's case.

It appears they are trying to use the election law in a way it's never been used abuot what define personal and campaign expenses.

Campaign expenses would normally mean money that pays for ads, campaign materials, rent for campaign locations, campaign work, campaign phones, etc.

The prosecution is arguing 'Edwards used his family man image to try to win, and the money went to cover up his adultery, to it was to help him win, so it's a campaign expense'. I think that's a pretty big stretch. He wanted to cover this up regardless - the money used was from two willing donors. This was the other way around from when political donors' money is used for personal expenses, e.g., Palin.

If this qualifies, then say Edwards wanted to claim that a nice new car helped his image so it's a campaign expense, or a drug rehab program did the same.

It seems to be very questionable to say this.

The commentators I saw suggested that legal experts would probably acquit him, but a jury might act more on emotions and convict not appreciating the law.

But apparently the prosecutor has to agree to have a judge hear the case instead of a jury, which they say is unlikely.
 

Attic

Diamond Member
Jan 9, 2010
4,282
2
76
Good read. It highlights the perverse degree to which liberals take an emotional appeal in order to satiate their own ambition. Gore used the same tactic during his run for the presidency. Liberals don't have the intellectual honesty to admit this, it would be like pulling the rug out from underneath themselves.

The desciption of the disconnect between Edwards mantra and reality also highlights the degree to which liberals show a lack of understanding and integrity about the very topics they claim to hold most dear. See healthcare/government pensions/working for America.... all passable ideas, but irrevocably tarnished by a disconnect with reality and built on a fundamental lack of integrity when describing the situation that is so in need of a liberal solution. The solution in nearly every case to throw someone else's money at it and if it that doesn't work claim it wasn't enough money. If that excuse fails, blame Bush.
 
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Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
15,776
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Good read. It highlights the perverse degree to which liberals take an emotional appeal in order to satiate their own ambition. Gore used the same tactic during his run for the presidency. Liberals don't have the intellectual honesty to admit this, it would be like pulling the rug out from underneath themselves.
I sure hope you're not suggesting this is exclusively the domain of "liberals," or even mostly their domain. If so, I'd like to point you to the many years of "Terror! Terror! Terror!" fear-mongering Republicans used to maintain power, as well as "death panels," "95% of Planned Parenthood is abortions," the Cadillac-driving welfare queen, etc., ad nauseum.

The fact is emotional appeals are routinely used by both parties (and charlatans of all sorts) because they are quite effective with the intellectually lazy and inattentive ... i.e., most Americans. They work especially well with the party faithful who seek excuses to reinforce their biases rather than objective information that might challenge them. We see that constantly in P&N.


The desciption of the disconnect between Edwards mantra and reality also highlights the degree to which liberals show a lack of understanding and integrity about the very topics they claim to hold most dear. See healthcare/government pensions/working for America.... all passable ideas, but irrevocably tarnished by a disconnect with reality and built on a fundamental lack of integrity when describing the situation that is so in need of a liberal solution. The solution in nearly every case to throw someone else's money at it and if it that doesn't work claim it wasn't enough money. If that excuse fails, blame Bush.
Speaking of emotional arguments. :rolleyes:
 

Thump553

Lifer
Jun 2, 2000
12,669
2,424
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Spend less than you take in. Does that sound irrational in the mind of a liberal?

But that's not the GOP plan. If they cut spending 100x they ALWAYS reduce taxes by at least 100X, if not more. If they don't reduce taxes by 100x then the money is gifted to corporations. So again I ask, how is this ever going to balance the budget, much less reduce the deficit?

And yes I find that as totally irrational (if not more so) than the so-called tax and spend. It's spending without taxing.
 

Fern

Elite Member
Sep 30, 2003
26,907
173
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-snip-
It appears they are trying to use the election law in a way it's never been used abuot what define personal and campaign expenses.

True, but it has me wondering if any other candidate has done anything similar. I'm not referring to his specific circumstance of an affair and an out-of-wedlock child, but whether any candidate has received substantial 'gifts' directly, and for their personal benefit, from wealthy donors.

Frankly, given the obvious potential for abuse I'm surprised both the 'right' and 'left' aren't united in opposition to gifts from wealthy donors to candidates.

How do you suppose the Progressives/left/Dems would react if the Koch bros gave somebody like Huckabee or Palin a million $ personal gift while they were campaigning?

This may be a unique prosecution only because nobody's had the balls to do it before.

Fern
 
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