SCHLOCK THE VOTE: HOW JOHN EDWARDS DISARMED THE WEAPONS OF MASS DISTRACTION

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First came this video…

To which the Edwards campaign responded with this video…

And finally, this video…

After Nixon’s 1968 Peace Feint, Watergate, Willie Horton (or the toned down version where the scary black man that will rape your wife and kill your family if Michael Dukakis is elected was merely implied, not explicitly shown) Gennifer Flowers, the Great Swiftboat Slander — is anybody starting to notice a pattern here? A lattice of coincidence? A vague constellation of recurrence, perhaps? Happens about every four years…always to the detriment of one party and the benefit of another…Is this ringing a bell? Anyone? Hey look here’s a link to Time Inc.’s Swampland — A Blog About Politics In The Nation’s Capital. Surely they have noticed this, too. Let’s just click on it and…

Swampland, TIME

cox_anamarie.thumbnail.jpgJohn Edward’s Non-Dean Scream

‘Non-Dean Scream’? WTF does that even mean? Didn’t you use to be Wonkette? Surely you know headlines can kill. And this one is screamingly inane. It says to the reader: This just like the time that Howard Dean screamed and it was really funny when they showed it over and over on TV and then we wrote about it over and over again and then Bush got re-elected and everybody hates him now and the Internet is ruining everything. Which is a motherscratching shame because what you actually say is this:

Both “rival campaigns” and reporters speculated that the moment was some kind of gaffe, that Edwards looks unhinged and paranoid*. I suspect these observers are underestimating the level of anger and frustration that motivates Democratic base voters. There’s something weirdly perfect about how the videohowarddean.thumbnail.jpgwhich was put together by the Edwards campaign — doesn’t even make clear who “they” are and what “they” are trying to shut Edwards up about. We can all probably fill in the blanks, of course, he most likely means “they” are the Hillary campaign and the media, pushing the haircut story in a way that makes it difficult for him to focus attention on “the two Americas.” But what makes the video work, for me, as a piece of political theater, is that you can project onto his anger whatever it is you’re pissed off about. (The war! Abu Gonzales! Global Warming! Toll lanes! The disappearance of the serial comma! Taking my tin foil hat away!) And people in the Edwards demographic are pissed. And, clearly, these same people feel strongly that the mainstream media is not talking about what’s important, is manipulated by outside forces, and is irrelevant to the conversation we should be having. I wonder why they would think that…

Cute. That disaffected airquotes tone gives you ‘plausible deniability’ if the wrong feathers get ruffled. Besides, when you are working for TIME you can’t just come right out and say:

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Today, in a mad-as-hell-and-not-going-to take-it-anymore moment, John Edwards leveled with the American people. He said there are powerful interests that want to silence him, monied enemies of the democratic process who will go to any length, expense and machination to discredit any public figure that says the things John Edwards is saying. And it is contingent upon the media to state this observable fact very plainly to the American people because they have a right to know that the process has become so corrupt and distorted that it resembles a bizarro universe — where black is white, up is down and war is peace, and the price you pay for telling the truth in American politics is your credibility.

Because sad to say, that’s the kind of scoop that kills careers. That’s why you so seldom see it written these days.

*

edwardsvogue.jpgRELATED: “The hair, up close, is peppered with tiny strands of blond. Chestnut brown and so finely trimmed, mellifluous [Hair? Mellifluous?], smooth, and feathery, it could almost be a weave, the Platonic ideal as imagined by the Hair Club for Men,” a magazine article slobbers over its current cover model, posed with golden retriever, pickup truck and barn jacket in an earth tone women are supposed to love so well. “Along with the piercing blue eyes, slashing V-shaped smile, and a shimmering burgundy shirt tucked into stonewashed Levis resting low on the hips, the hair completes the man: John Edwards, a populist Adonis, a golden god of a Southern Democrat.” [via the INQUIRER]

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