Monday, August 14, 2006

"Yes I am going to Iowa / in my mind."

What is John Edwards doing in Iowa anyway?

The Sunday Raleigh News and Observer writes that Edwards "has been in Iowa so often he has practically taken up residence. Since losing in 2004 as a vice presidential candidate, Edwards has made 12 trips to the state that will hold the nation's first Democratic and Republican caucuses in January 2008. Most presidential wannabes have visited the state multiple times. But it is unlikely that any of the presidential hopefuls -- other than Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack -- have been to Iowa more than Edwards."

The funny thing is, I thought he was supposed to be running the Poverty Center here in Chapel Hill. Isn't that why my beloved alma mater, UNC Law, hired him and the Center in the first place-- so that he could oversee the operation? How come when I try to reach Edwards at the Center he's never there? Why do my calls go directly to voicemail?

I also noticed that he's been spotted recently in New Hampshire as well. There, Edwards made big news by calling for an immediate troop withdraw from Iraq-- i.e. that we should have pulled out of there yesterday. That strikes me as somewhat strange. What does a speech in New Hampshire about foreign affairs have to do with the Poverty Center, and helping the working class combat poverty?

I suspect the disconcerting answer [maybe not disconcerting to Edwards fans, but certainly to the UNC Law School and faculty, who he is arrogantly using as a stepping stone of sorts] is that the Poverty Center provided a way for Edwards to stay in a temporary "holding pattern" while he contemplated a bid for the White House. His commitment to the Center is negligible, if any. If the Poverty Center were a corporation, you could make a compelling argument that it is little more than a "shell corporation." If we pierced its veil, I can't imagine we would find much in the office-- other than residual traces of Edwards' inflated ego.

There's actually a moral to this story: if all else fails for Lieberman, and he is persuaded to forego another run for the Senate, all hope is not lost! He only needs to find a willing law school (maybe Yale law, his alma mater) that he can cynically hoodwink into sending some funds his way, by establishing some "center" or "policy" think tank or whatever (the subject matter isn't that important), and he will be set until Campaign 2008 (or, in his case, 2012). It's a "win/win" for a candidate: he gets a prestigious, quasi-academic title, a means of keeping his name in the press, and a minimal commitment to the center that he is purporting to front. It's a strategy redolent of Virgin Island tax shelters, or of drug kingpin Tony Montana in "Scarface."

The only losers in the equation, in the case of Edwards? UNC Law School. Oh yeah, and poor people, who are supposedly being helped by Edwards' dozen campaign appearances in Iowa.

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