Saturday, June 23, 2007


Days Until Bush Leaves Office = 576

I realize, of course, that the end of the second quarter fund raising period is at hand, and, to judge by the email piling up in my inbox, every campaign is out there leaving no stone unturned to come up with every last penny they can before the end of the month.

All the same, some appeals just leave me shaking my head, and none more than today's missive from John Edwards' campaign, with the subject line, "Obscene Money Game or Policies that Matter?":

"With 7 days left until the end of the quarter, we are closing in on $7 million and everyone is doing their part. Small change for big change is working.

But while thousands of people are building up this campaign, the Washington establishment is trying to write us out of the race. And their reason? They say it's MONEY - they don't think we are raising an obscene enough amount. But the truth is, they don't want people to hear what John Edwards is saying, because it will mean the end of big money's stranglehold over our government.

Our plan calls for raising $9 million this quarter and if we do - no matter what the chatter boxes say - we will be ahead of pace to have the resources we need to compete and win in the early primary states. That's when the Edwards campaign will have our day in the sun, but we need your help to get there.

We have 7 days to reach $9 million and every dollar counts. Please give what you can.

If you're ready for big change on the issues that matter, your time is now.

End this war. Take on poverty. Build one America. Work for economic justice. Stand up for truly universal health care. Take action on global warming.

The policies are real. And John Edwards is the candidate who is leading on every issue.

But only you can make it happen.

Please do what you can today to help take the next bold step for real change.

Because in a time when millions have lost faith in Washington, we are building faith in each other. What you do today matters. This campaign we are building together matters.

And your time is now.

Help us reach $9 million in 7 days.

Thank you,

-Joe Trippi
Saturday, June 23, 2007"

Where in this message is anything said about campaign finance reform, or doing anything to lessen the role of money in American politics and government? The entire point of the note is to try to downplay the importance of money in the Edwards campaign on the one hand, and then ask for more money on the other. This is infuriating in its cynicism, and more than a little embarrassing in its transparency.

Do people actually fall for this? Maybe so. But this note is emblematic of a problem I've seen in John Edwards for a long time: the desire to have it both ways. For the war when it was popular, against the war when it wasn't. Man of the people, $400 haircuts. Carbon neutral campaign, behemoth mansion. And now: we don't care about money, but please send us more of it.

Perhaps not much to my own credit, I try to look past these things, and try to see in John Edwards what I hear about from his supporters. I must confess that this becomes a little harder to do each time I get an email like this.


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