Thursday, September 13, 2007

John Edwards Responds to Bush Address via Commercial

Good for John Edwards for buying air-time on MSNBC tonight to respond to President Bush's address to the nation about Iraq.

The formal Democratic response came from Jack Reed, and it was fine.

But why shouldn't John Edwards - or any of the other candidates - avail themselves of the opportunity to address the nation by buying air-time? What is the difference between buying air-time to specifically respond to the President, and buying air-time for any other political commercial? There is none, other than the response to President is far more important.

And John Edwards is, strategically, ideally situated to give this response. Unlike Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who in the end voted to continue funding the war a few months ago, Edwards was out of office and did not. (Obama, not in office when the initial, unconstitutional war powers were given to Bush by Congress, is at least untainted by that. Of the candidates then in office, only Kucinich of the Democrats and Ron Paul of the Republicans understood the Constitution well enough to vote against those initial war-enabling powers.) True, it was no doubt easier for Edwards being out of office a few months ago to oppose the continued funding of the war then, but it was nonetheless courageous, given that he was already running for President.

The difference between commercials and news coverage has never been that great, given "infomercials" on the one hand and politically biased reporting of organizations like Fox News, on the other. From the point of view of American viewers, what matters is what candidates and Presidents say, not who pays for it.

John Edwards was therefore courageous tonight not only in responding to the President, but in utilizing the medium of the commercial to do it.

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