Friday, May 11, 2007

Nice Try, Byron

Over at the National Review, Byron York is trying to undercut John Edwards' credentials as a populist. York hints that if Edwards made big money at the hedge fund he worked for, he could not be an anti-poverty crusader.

"How much Edwards made from his work with Fortress will be critical to his carefully-cultivated image as an anti-poverty crusader. That image has already been damaged somewhat by personal extravagances like a new 28,000 square-foot mansion and a $400 haircut. If he took home hedge-fund-sized money from Fortress, rival Democratic candidates, not to mention Republicans, will likely have a field day."

This attack is both illogical and (say it with me) intellectually dishonest.

First, let's take the illogical. One of the foremost anti-poverty crusaders in this world is Bono, of U2 fame. My guess is Bono doesn't live in an adobe hut. I also guess he does not fly coach during his travels. And I imagine he makes a decent living in the record business, what with ticket sales and tour promotions and commercials et. al. Does that mean he's not a true anti-poverty crusader? Of course not. Bono's income has nothing to do with his intent, and the same goes for Bill Gates, Ted Turner, etc. etc. York must know this, but obviously, he doesn't care. Oh, by the way, in the last 100 years or so, no President did more for the downtrodden in this country than FDR. He wasn't poor, now was he Byron?

As for the intellectually dishonest part, well, let's get to the GOP's man, George W. Bush. He has a carefully-cultivated image as a man of the people, right? Just your average blue collar Joe, the kind of guy we'd like to drink a beer with at the bar. Well, George Bush went to the most elite schools in the country, grew up with wealth, power and influence, and the only blue collar he ever had was the one on his navy blazer he had to wear for the Skull and Crossbones Society functions. So Byron, were you all lying about George Bush being an average guy or does personality and intent matter than the trappings of wealth?

12 Comments:

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Mary Ellen said...

BC...although I have disagreed with you in the past (only once!), you hit this one dead on! I am so sick of all the right wing hypocrisy and the constant tearing down of John Edwards and Al Gore because of the money they have..it just makes me crazy! I hope you don't mind, but if this subject comes up on one of the blogs I visit, I would like to cite the post you wrote. Of course, I will be sure they know who wrote it and where they can find it. I especially like the comparison of Bono.

 
At 4:12 PM, Blogger gimmeabreak said...

York uses this meme as other lazy partisans do. They really can't find anything else to trash the dems with and they wish to avoid comparisons to the batch of cro-magnons they're running. What better way than the false argument you hear from York. His is just another in a string of them that started months ago. Al Gore flies on planes...John Edwards buys new house...Hillary Clinton suffers from regional dialectic affection affliction...

They throw these out and hope some of it will stick. It's kinda sad because the only ones it will stick with are people who can't think but only know what they're told to think. Not too much of a journalistic challenge there, but quite a money-maker as Fox has shown.

Sorry, for such a long post. My goodness.

 
At 5:35 PM, Blogger Zaine Ridling said...

Clift, you got a mind like "V" in Vendetta, slicing the holy crap out of arguments to get to their bones. Thank you!

 
At 8:33 PM, Blogger ohdave said...

We hear this a lot, that Democrats are expected to take a vow of poverty in order to support anti-poverty programs. It's bullshit.

 
At 8:45 PM, Blogger Ironwoodtree said...

So what's evil about working for a hedge fund? I've been working for one for 13 years. The people running it have good ethics and give an incredible amount to charity.

Hedge funds used to only be for rich families, not that there's anything wrong with that, but if you have a pension you may be a hedge fund investor yourself.

 
At 10:17 AM, Blogger Mitchell J. Freedman said...

I remember from history there were those other hypocrties, you know, like FDR, the Kennedys. Yeah, can't have those hypocrites running the country.

The modern conservative crack-up continues.

 
At 11:02 AM, Anonymous cavebot said...

I've heard this argument my whole life, specifically about Marx/Engels--they weren't working-class workers, so their analysis of an exploitative system carries no weight. It was a crap argument then, it's crap now. I imagine, however, that no number of analogies will change the minds of those whose logic is so, well, illogical.

 
At 2:01 PM, Blogger Batocchio said...

This is an old conservative tact. They like to imply that liberals must be poor or else be phonies. They similarly like to imply that openly not caring about the poor is somehow more honorable than being well-off and fighting for the poor. I'm reminded of a Doonesbury strip where a rich character becomes politically active and is accused of being a "traitor to his class." This is just the same old class warfare, although as usual it almost always comes from the rich - or merely conservative - towards the poor.

All of that's to say - I love this post, and it's a great quick takedown of York.

 
At 2:01 PM, Blogger Batocchio said...

This is an old conservative tact. They like to imply that liberals must be poor or else be phonies. They similarly like to imply that openly not caring about the poor is somehow more honorable than being well-off and fighting for the poor. I'm reminded of a Doonesbury strip where a rich character becomes politically active and is accused of being a "traitor to his class." This is just the same old class warfare, although as usual it almost always comes from the rich - or merely conservative - towards the poor.

All of that's to say - I love this post, and it's a great quick takedown of York.

 
At 9:42 AM, Blogger Avedon said...

What a surprise, the ideal Democratic candidate is one who is too poor to be seen or heard, let alone run for office.

 
At 2:08 PM, Blogger fuck off said...

Not unlike the newest comback/talking point they are spouting about global warming. If you are a liberal and drive a car you are hypocrite. (To a theory that they say is false.)

Or Fox would have you believe first the the liberals are all over the map with their platform (which is somewhat true - "When do we get to have our own talking points?"), but then they link conspiracy after conspiracy to the Dems/Soros. We can't be both disorganized and organized.

 
At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know Byron York.

I worked with Byron York.

Byron York used to be a friend of mine, until he saw HUGE MONEY in sucking d on the Hill.

Now, Byron, friendless, childless, hopeless, has turned into a very minor right-wing hit man, hoping his favorite author, Chris Hitchens, will stop putting his cigarettes out on his new Wal-Mart fake cashmere sweather, the one with the cute bunnies on it.

 

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