Silky Won't Pony Up on Populist Flip-Flop

Move over, Bill Clinton. There's a new kid on the block when it comes to looking into the camera and not telling the truth to the American people . . . and his name is John Edwards. To his credit, George Stephanopoulos caught Edwards out today on a key tenet of Silky's candidacy . . . but then let things slide.

Edwards was a guest on This Week, and it didn't take him long to don his scourge-of-greedy-corporations mantle. Central to Edwards' pitch is the claim that you don't sit down with corporate interests, you fight them.

View video here.

JOHN EDWARDS: I have a very different view from [Obama] about how we bring about change. I think we have an epic fight on our hands against these entrenched, monied interests. And I think we'll never be successful if --

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: He led the fight for lobbying reform in the Senate, he says.

EDWARDS: But he talks about this in a way that suggests that you sit at a table and negotiate with drug-company lobbyists and insurance-company lobbyists and oil-company lobbyists, and you can somehow negotiate; they'll negotiate their power away. That's a fantasy in my judgment; I don't think it will ever happen. I've been fighting these people my entire life; first for 20 years in courtrooms and now in public life.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, but this is also a change for you. You did an interview with the [left-wing] website MyDD where you were asked specifically about this: do you want to work with the corporations and you said "I want to bring them to the table." Now you've shifted.

EDWARDS: Oh no I haven't.
Really? Here's the excerpt from that myDD interview of Edwards by myDD's Jonathan Singer.

SINGER: [B]ringing in both corporations and labor and healthcare groups and doctors, not getting into the specifics at all, but how do you see bringing in everyone so it's not just an us versus them, because us versus them didn't work in the past?

EDWARDS: I think you try to bring everybody to the table. You want their participation, you want to make the system work for everybody.

How can you describe other than as a prevarication Edwards' claim that his current position of not negotiating with corporate interests is not a change from the position he espoused to myDD of bringing them to the table and making the system work for everybody? Again, credit Steph for exposing Edwards on this. But for whatever reason George let the matter slide, permitting Edwards to continue his populist riff unabated.

It is chilling to compare the myDD transcript with Edwards words today, and consider what kind of man could blithely make such a statement in abject defiance of truth.

Aside: Note how Edwards also misleads about his prior life as a trial lawyer. He says "I've been fighting these people my entire life; first for 20 years in courtrooms." In courtrooms? Oh sure, occasionally his cases got to court, as when he famously channeled for the jury's benefit an unborn child's distress. But surely the great majority of time Edwards settled cases before they saw the inside of a courtroom, and he did so by . . . sitting around a table and negotiating with those greedy corporate interests.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.