Monday, November 27, 2006

John Edwards: Book Signing Gone Wrong

From Iowa Voice, an account of how 2008 Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards got into a most ironic situation.
Former Sen. John Edwards is to spend an hour at the Manchester Barnes & Noble tonight promoting his new book. We find his choice of venue very interesting.

In Manchester, the local Wal-Mart store sits right behind the Barnes & Noble. It has more floor space, a parking lot several times the size of Barnes & Noble’s, and is easier to access by car or public transportation.

But Edwards would not be caught dead inside a Wal-Mart. Saying that the company pays its employees too little, Edwards has embarked on an anti-Wal-Mart crusade. He instructs his staff members and all Americans not to shop at Wal-Mart.

“Wal-Mart makes plenty of money. They need to pay their people well,” Edwards said at a Pittsburgh anti-Wal-Mart rally in August.

So naturally Edwards is holding his book signing at Barnes & Noble instead of Wal-Mart. Which is too bad for his anti-low-wages campaign, because in Manchester Wal-Mart pays hourly employees more than Barnes & Noble does.

The Barnes & Noble where Edwards will hawk his book pays $7 an hour to start. The Wal-Mart that sits just yards away pays $7.50 an hour.

Oh, the humanity!
Edwards anti-Wal-Mart campaign is part of his strategy to position himself as a “populist” candidate for President in 2008.

But that rings entirely hollow.
John Edwards should take the virtuous path and stop his anti-Wal-Mart demagoguery. Anyone can see that it is nothing more than a populist ploy to make him look like a champion of low-income people. But those very people he is trying to help end up saving hundreds of dollars a year by shopping at Wal-Mart. Its efficiencies provide them with low-cost items they might not be able to afford otherwise.

We’d bet that if America’s poor could choose between Wal-Mart and John Edwards, they would choose Wal-Mart. They understand that Wal-Mart has done more to improve their lives than John Edwards ever will. Which is why, as Edwards signs copies of his coffee table book inside Barnes & Noble tonight, hundreds of people will continue to shop at the Wal-Mart just a stone’s throw away, never knowing that a millionaire former senator is sitting nearby secretly disapproving of their behavior.
In truth, of course, is that Edwards’ “populism” doesn’t represent poor or working class people at all.

It’s the political ideology of affluent latte-sipping Yuppies, labor union activists and scruffy left-overs from the ‘60s.


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