The panic over John Edwards' rise in the poll continues.
In yet another astounding example of craptacular journalism
at the Grey Lady, today's New York Times
features an article by David Leonhardt in which he attempts to draw parallels between Mitt Romney's background as the scion of a prominent family with John Edwards' background as the son of a mill worker:
Mr. Edwards, then making a nice salary as a lawyer at a small North Carolina firm, spent early December staying at the Inn on the Plaza in downtown Asheville. Scattered around his room were documents relating to his first big malpractice case, a lawsuit filed by a man named E. G. Sawyer, who used a wheelchair after his doctor had overprescribed a drug. On Dec. 18, at the courthouse opposite the hotel, a jury awarded Mr. Sawyer $3.7 million.
In Boston, Mr. Romney had risen to become a vice president at Bain & Company, an upstart management consulting firm, and had been chosen to run a spinoff investment firm known as Bain Capital. He spent the end of 1984 flying around the country — in coach class, to save money and to show his investors how serious he was about turning a profit — visiting companies and deciding whether to invest in them.
In the decade that followed, Mr. Edwards would win one big verdict after another, and Mr. Romney would oversee a series of hugely profitable investments.
Like thousands of other Americans in a global, high-technology economy in which government was pulling back and wealth was being celebrated, Mr. Edwards and Mr. Romney used talent, hard work and — as both have suggested — luck to amass fortunes. They became a part of a rising class of the new rich.
Nope no difference between Edwards' background and Romney's at all.
Here's Mitt's hardscrabble background: his father George Romney was head of the American Automobile Manufacturers Association, then headed the Automotive Council for War during WWII. He got a job at what would become American Motors through a contact made during his term as head of AAMA, rising to a humble job as CEO of American Motors from 1954-1962. Then he was Michigan's governor from 1963-1969 and a candidate for president in 1968 and served as Nixon's HUD secretary during Richard Nixon's first term.
Edwards' background is somewhat less hardscrabble than his stump speeches would have you believe, but it's hardly in Romney's league. His father was a supervisor at the mill at which he worked and his mother ran a furniture shop. Edwards, like Mitt Romney, graduated college where his father had never attended, but unlike Romney, paid his own way through.
I'm not looking to build a point-by-point comparison between the backgrounds of John Edwards and Mitt Romney. And in fact, George Romney was the kind of Republican that would be kicked out of the party today for being a bleeding-heart liberal (as the article points out). But to draw parallels between the scion of a well-connected and wealthy family and the son of even a mill supervisor, and say that they both got where they are through sheer hard work and perseverance and ignore the role that Romney's famiy contacts may have played, is more than a little disingenuous. And it's clearly designed to reinforce and parrot the Republican meme that it's mandatory for anyone who's been successful to want to pull up the ladder behind him. They can't imagine any other way to be.
That John Edwards can live in his huge house and still think that working Americans deserve a fair shake never occurs to these people, and the fact that he has this disconnect between his own wealth and the policies he advocates flies in the face of the "I got mine and fuck you" doctrine of contemporary Republicanism.
And like the good little hacks that they are, the mainstream media, even the so-called liberal New York Times
, are dutifully playing their roles as skeptics of Democratic humanity.
UPDATE: Teh Awesome Elizabeth explains her husband's background:
Labels: hack journalism