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January 26, 2010



Nothing in Game Change suggest that anything negative was known about Edwards in 2004. The fact is that Edwards had run in the primaries and he impressed the media and the party at that point. There was enormous pressure on Senator Kerry to pick Senator Edwards.

Both Clinton and Kennedy were said to favor this. Cohen himself admits that he was impressed - and I saw nothing in anything he wrote in 2004 that signaled that he had become disenchanted with Edwards. In fact, what he wrote about the time he went to the Edwards' home included, beyond his quote now, that "He came away convinced that Edwards had a "passion for social justice," that Edwards wanted to "make amends" for how the South once treated blacks"

Cohen was not alone in praising the Edwards - the media was full of positive articles during the primaries. The coverage when he was selected had many showering praise on Edwards, often comparing his charisma and charm favorably to the man who beat him easily in the primaries. Before he was chosen, the media was already saying if he wasn't chosen it would be due to Kerry's ego. (that alone had to be weighed in picking someone not a media favorite, like Senator Durbin)

Many people Kerry respected favored Edwards, the internal polls showed him as the most helpful and the media, which never liked Kerry, loved Edwards. Kerry almost had the obligation to pick Edwards because all of the above made the case that with anyone else, he was more likely to lose. (Shrum made it clear that Kerry personally did not really like Edwards.)

There is nothing to justify calling Kerry, a "bad man". No matter what happened in 2004, Senator Kerry is a good person. Even Cohen agrees that there was more call to pick Edwards rather than Palin - and no one calls McCain bad for that.

Maybe if Cohen and the media had not fallen for Edwards and pushed him so much, he wouldn't have had the high positives he did - largely generated by those articles, he wouldn't have seemed to be the best choice.

Unconventional Wisdom

First, thank you for your comment. I'm not sure I've ever received such a thoughtful comment.

Second, the title of the post is a reference to previous entries from the 2004 campaign in which I argued that John Kerry is a bad man. Such as this one. http://tinyurl.com/y86f6tx He is.

Game Change reports that everyone in the Senate believed Edwards to be a shallow, phony. Presumably, that included Kerry. Game Change also reports that the "crazywoman" Elizabeth depicted there was nothing new -- she was like that even before the cancer, which is to say, even before the 2004 election. Game Change also reports that the emergence of the "ego monster" John Edwards began after Al Gore almost picked Edwards in 2000. That is when Edwards began to change.

Using Richard Cohen as a reference on the qualities of John Edwards won't get you far in these parts.

You are correct that there was a lot of positive press about Edwards in 2004 and before that. But Kerry, who was in the Senate, knew better, as did every Senator.

To be clear, I'm not calling John Kerry a bad man for picking Edwards. John Kerry is a bad man for many, many reasons, and ultimately that is why he lost in 2004. My point is that he should be held accountable for the Edwards pick as McCain is for the Palin pick.

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