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September 15, 2007

Doing The Right Thing

by Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math

I became a dyed-in-the-wool John Edwards supporter shortly after he published this essay on poverty at TPM Cafe immediately following hurricane Katrina. Of course, he's been talking about poverty since 2003, but this was his chance to remind us all that "poverty is everywhere", even if we try to ignore it by living in the right neighborhoods and shopping and the right stores. He also talks about  poverty using the language of right and wrong, something we don't hear enough of.

Last month the WSJ ran a story (Tribune version) that Fortress Investments, the publicly traded private equity firm (?) where Edwards worked in 2005 and part of 2006, held investments in firms that were threatening Louisiana residents with foreclosure. It would be nigh impossible for Edwards to follow every individual investment the company made, but when informed of the SNAFU, he promised to correct the problem and move on. This Friday, Edwards announced that in addition to divesting from investments in subprime lenders, he helped set up a non-profit to aid Louisiana homeowners. Score one for the little guy.

September 15, 2007 | Permalink


Edwards just keeps being a class act.

Posted by: emjaybee | Sep 15, 2007 9:38:49 PM

That's all well and good, but he still has hair, and a big house.

Posted by: El Cid | Sep 15, 2007 9:52:26 PM

See- i don't believe it becausae although the media attention died down over this issue, he choose to bring it back up in an obvious attempt to pander to the AA vote of NOLA.

Posted by: akaison | Sep 15, 2007 11:40:11 PM

John Edwards is the right one to turn this country back around from the right wing nightmare we have endured for far too long. Good post, Nicholas.

Posted by: Tom Wells | Sep 16, 2007 12:05:38 AM

akaison: if you're being snarky, I can't tell. Frankly, NOLA's turning into a creepy experiment to demonstrate the GOP line that private charity is all that's needed. So you get Brad Pitt building houses and Edwards doing stuff for homeowners. It's a win-win for wingnuts: if private charity from the left rebuilds the city, it proves that gubmint is teh eeeevil. If it doesn't, then it's one less black city for them to worry their pretty little heads over.

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc | Sep 16, 2007 12:59:32 AM

I have my problems with Edwards but Akaison's comment seems patently unfair. If Edwards had announced this when media attention was high then everyone would have written it off as an obvious attempt at damage control, but now that the attention is low, it is labeled as a pander to the AA of NOLA, talk about a no-win situation. Sometimes it is just better to judge the action and not worry so much about impugning motives.

Posted by: no relation to paris hilton | Sep 16, 2007 1:01:30 AM

Another excellent post. In several places on your site you say you welcome e-mails -- but I can't find the address!

Posted by: A fan | Sep 16, 2007 8:07:23 AM

I believe akaison is trying to use sarcasm to make a point. :)

Posted by: weboy | Sep 16, 2007 8:19:21 AM

Well, it was late and snark can be a bit unwieldy at times, however, El Cid's hair and house comment should've gotten me primed.

Posted by: no relation to paris hilton | Sep 16, 2007 10:37:20 AM

I was being sarcastic. Someone doing the right thing is bad because we assume bad motives, and someone who doesn't - well that's to be expected because that's the way things are. The politics of lowered expectation.

Too many Clinton supporters I talk to have practically mastered it. "She has to take support from Big Lobby because that's the way things work." "She has to seem conservative to fool the conservatives into voting for her because she's smart at politics." Nevermind it's a perverted sort of progressivism to reduce things to "the way things work." I'm amazed by how many people assume the compromise position because they "know how DC works."

It is easier to go with cynacism than think for yourself by asking pesky questions like "is this how you want things to work?" Edwards is a challenge to this assumption that we've all been convinced is the right one (pardon the pun). His motives are bad because we know "all their motives" secretly deep down are bad. In this way, the conservatives win.

Posted by: akaison | Sep 16, 2007 11:51:37 AM

By the way, conservatives win here because the default conservative position is "government bad." If we go in with the the default position"all government leaders bad." They have already won most of the battle whenever issues are discussed. But you would have to peel back the layers of your own assumptions to see this.

Posted by: akaison | Sep 16, 2007 12:01:18 PM

Bad news for our host: Edward's essay is just empty talk designed to make people think he cares. It doesn't address what actually happened in NO to make the situation much worse than it could have been. And, it doesn't address how the Dems worked with Bush to make the situation worse.

Right after K, the Bush admin not only moved the former residents out, it also loosened immigration rules. That gave connected contractors the green light to bring in illegal labor which worked for less pay in unsafe conditions.

And, the Dems helped in that effort.

At the same time as we paid an over-inflated price to connected contractors, we also paid to warehouse the former residents in other cities. A traditional Democrat approach would have been keeping illegal (what some might call scab) labor out and some form of WPA to get the original residents working to rebuild their own city. Instead, those former residents are still clients of the welfare state, with all that that implies.

I encourage the readers of this site to think about this issue in a bit more depth: find out what actually happened and don't rely on happy talk from John Edwards.

Posted by: TLB | Sep 16, 2007 2:25:29 PM

and on cue we have the predictable talking points. Notice- TLB provides no links, no proof, no anything beyond TLB's assertions. What is TLB counting on? The exact same thing I mentioned. It's the exact same thing that allowed the swiftboating of Kerry to work. Folks like TLB understand that.

Posted by: akaison | Sep 16, 2007 2:42:12 PM

As a resident of New Orleans, I love what Edwards has been doing over the past two years, whatever message it sends to anywhere else. He's the only national figure we don't have to beg to do the right thing. He does it before we think to ask. It's really strange supporting a candidate who is, for lack of a better word, moral. I hate to use a Republican descriptor, but seeing decency in action has my vocabulary all screwed up. And the alcohol--we're all drunks and naked women down here, you know.

Posted by: Kiril | Sep 16, 2007 3:17:14 PM


One small correction. Edwards didn't set up a non-profit, he set up a fund that will be administered by an existing non-profit, the ACORN Housing Corporation (AHC). AHC is one of the non-profits that has been doing yeoman-like work to bring New Orleans back, including building the first new houses in the Lower 9th Ward post-Katrina. Sister organziation ACORN has been the busiest group doing house gutting, having gutted well over 2000 houses mostly using volunteer labor over the past 2 years.

Small, but important distinction that helps illuminate both the work that is currently being done in NOLA and Edwards' understanding and connection to it.

Posted by: Nathanhj | Sep 16, 2007 3:43:34 PM

Thanks for the post Nathan

Posted by: akaison | Sep 16, 2007 4:44:42 PM

I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying that Edwards is going to give back the half million he made from sub-prime loans? Or, are you saying that he's keeping the money, but now criticizing it?

My guess is that's it's the second. Typical Edwards, just like his mansion, his haircuts, his Rupert Murdoch money, etc.

Posted by: Rick | Sep 16, 2007 5:00:08 PM

And more pretense. Rick is a Clinton supporter. How do you want to know I know? Because his arguments have been making the rounds over at mydd and other sites where the Clinton supporters are swarming and practically taken over the site.

Posted by: akaison | Sep 16, 2007 5:59:28 PM

akaison: you may have noted that, unlike you, I have a website. In fact, I have several, one of which features over a thousand posts and over three hundred tags about K and thus includes an extensive coverage of this issue... as it happened. Here are the posts about what happened vis-a-vis the Dems collaborating with Bush to screw our fellow Americans.

As for the wider issue of John Edwards being a tool, see this sales job he tries to pull:


Possible explanation for his toolness:


Posted by: TLB | Sep 16, 2007 7:03:57 PM

I don't care if you have a webite TLB

Posted by: akaison | Sep 16, 2007 8:18:04 PM

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