Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Picking Sides

The GOP and their minions on talk radio, the web and Faux News have been busy vilifying John Edwards for his career as a trial attorney and his lack of experience, which got me to thinking about each of the tickets member's prior professions. Let's take a look shall we?

Bush Cheney
Starting with the top of the ticket, what has George Bush done aside from being President? Well, there were his six years as governor of Texas. A couple of failed business ventures, a failed run for Congress, and some mean beach volleyball down in Alabama while others his age were dying in Vietnam.

On to Cheney.. immediately prior to becoming Vice President, Cheney had been CEO of Halliburton, the same folks who have been accused of overcharging American taxpayers by hundreds of millions on dollars on their no-bid Iraq contracts. Oh, and Cheney had also been a Congressman who vocally opposed Reagan's 1986 Tax Reforms. He's also held various cabinet positions in Republican administrations.

Kerry Edwards
John Kerry, as we all know is currently the junior Senator from Massachusetts (you know, the only state enlightened enough to recognize equal marriage rights), but prior to becoming Senator he held other government positions, including Lieutenant Governor and Assistant District Attorney. Kerry spent part of the 1960's in Vietnam, enlisting after graduating from Yale.

Ahh.. and now to John Edwards. Of course we know that he was a trial attorney and that he is now a Senator from North Carolina. The son of working class parents, he worked his way through college and law school.

Now, Bush-Cheney and their minions are smearing John Edwards as a trial attorney and as someone lacking experience. Let's take the latter one first. Edwards has been a US Senator as long as George Bush was Governor when he was "elected" President. Now, tell me who you think might have a better grasp of foreign policy- a US Senator or a Governor. The last time I checked the Constitution, foreign policy was within the sole power of the federal government. Sure, Bush had some dealings with his neighbors in Mexico, but the danger posed by Mexican trucks entering the US is a bit less weighty than nuclear proliferation, terrorism or Middle East peace.

But what about greedy trial lawyers? Of course it is an easy stereotype, especially in a society that is constantly looking for others to blame for its problems. Some things should be clarified- lawyers do not determine damage awards, juries do; lawyers do not bring lawsuits, aggrieved people do. And the next time someone cries out about the litigation explosion in America and how we need to do away with trial attorneys, ask them their plan for ensuring that people who are maimed or killed by a defective product or the parents of a child injured through a physician's negligence will be made whole.

The choice here is clear, folks. We can have another four years of Bush Cheney, a team of former failed businessmen. Or we can have Kerry Edwards, two former attorneys, one who put criminals behind bars while the other protected the interests of consumers and children. We can have four more years of a child of privilege who used that status to avoid serving his country or another child of slightly less privilege who enlisted to serve his country. We can have four more years of a Vice President whose former employer has bilked the US taxpayers for untold millions. Or, we can have a Vice President who fought against negligent corporations. We can have four more years of chasing the wrong enemy. Or, we can have an administration who remember that the people who attacked America on 9-11 are still running around the Afghanistan/Pakistan border.

Make your choice wisely.


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