Two Tales of Edwards

John Edwards: Shakes, are you finding any
excuse to repost this adorable picture of me now?

Shakes: Yes.

The WaPo offers us two articles about John Edwards today, a front-pager that seeks to turn, by way of vague innuendo, a routine house sale into Real Estategate, and a page A19 op-ed by E.J. Dionne who discusses Edwards' admission he is "prepared to disappoint voters who make a balanced budget their top priority," because his priorities—healthcare and energy reform—cost money, period.

There are two interesting things to note about these two articles: One is about Edwards' supposed shadiness, whereas the other is about his refreshing honesty—and you'll never guess which one appears to be utter horseshit. (Funny how that seems to happen every time John Solomon writes a story about a Democrat. Ahem.) And I'll turn it over to Ezra for the other notable bit:

In [the front-page] article heavy on insinuation and light on, well, anything, we learn that Edwards' real estate agent has, after 18 months, sold his Georgetown home below its asking price to a corporate executive who's engaged in union busting and possible stock fraud. At no point does it appear, or is it said, or is it even suggested that the buyer knew Edwards, that Edwards knew the buyer, or that anything occurred between these two men save for their real estate intermediaries conducting a property sale.

…EJ notes that Edwards is the only Democrat offering honest analysis of the tradeoffs between deficit reduction and social investment.

…Now, which of these articles is a straightforward reporting of fact and which, at its base, is an opinion piece?
Solomon's piece is so craptacular that even his colleagues can't defend it. It would be laughable if, you know, it hadn't been published on the front page of the Washington Post.

Leaving aside Solomon's hit piece for a substantive discussion of Dionne's, I'm quite pleased not only with Edwards' willingness to be balls-out honest about what his hypothetical administration will be able to deliver. You can have a balanced budget and deficit reduction, or you can have healthcare and energy reform, but you can't have it all—a completely fair thing to say that most politicians refuse to say to the giant whining two-year-old the American electorate has collectively become. Forget Mommy Party v. Daddy Party—we'd all be better off with someone who just knows how to say no once in awhile.

Better yet, Edwards is "willing to say which taxes he would raise to keep the deficit from going through the roof" in the meantime.

He would start by eliminating Bush's tax cuts for the top 2 percent of income earners, which he defines roughly as those earning more than $180,000 to $200,000 a year.

He wants to increase the capital gains tax for an interesting reason: In an interview this week, he argued that it's wrong to tax income from work at a higher rate than income from capital -- an extension of his long-standing theme that the country should not value "wealth over work." He also favors a windfall-profits tax on oil companies.
Compare to "a president who campaigned on a balanced-budget pledge, then dug the country hundreds of billions of dollars deeper into debt with huge tax cuts and an unpaid-for war, and now promises a balanced budget four years after he leaves office." My sense that Edwards is, truly, the antithesis and hence antidote to Bush deepens every day.

732 days left with the disease.

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