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Sunday, February 29, 2004

Mark Steyn on the Kerry - Edwards race

in today's Chicago Sun-Times
. . . So the race has come down to a weak default candidate vs. a glamorous insurgent who's not quite glamorous enough to insurge sufficiently.

Other than that, there's not much to choose between them. Both men are enormously wealthy. Kerry was a blueblood of relatively minor means who married a woman worth $300 million and then traded up to a woman worth $500 million.

If I were Teresa Heinz Kerry I'd be worried, now that Massachusetts is introducing gay marriage, that hubby may start giving the come-hither look to some of the state's elderly bachelor billionaires.

By contrast, John Edwards had a dirt-poor, hardscrabble childhood but managed to sue his way out of poverty. He's made 25 million bucks just from suing tobacco companies. His is an inspirational message: If I can do it, the rest of you haven't a hope in hell. But fortunately I've got a thousand new government programs and micro-initiatives that will partially ameliorate your hopeless mediocrity. (I paraphrase.)

My favorite line in the Edwards spiel comes about two-thirds in, when after outlining the regulatory hell in which he's going to ensnare banks, the pharmaceutical industry, etc., he confides, ''But I'll be honest with you. I don't think I can change this country by myself.'' It's good to know the other 280 million Americans aren't entirely redundant. His basic pitch is that the entire electorate are victims and his candidacy is the all-time biggest class-action suit on your behalf.

Edwards is condescending. Kerry is far too grand to condescend. But both are agreed that America is a vast wasteland of unemployed, shivering, diseased losers. For single-issue guys like me, Edwards barely says a word on Iraq and the war, though I'm inclined to think he'd be better than Kerry. The latter seems eager to do whatever French President Jacques Chirac and the U.N. want, whereas with Edwards there's always the possibility he'll wind up suing the Security Council for emotional distress. More importantly, Edwards is sunny, albeit in a grotesque and mawkish way. And, as a general rule, the sunnier disposition wins (see Bush/Gore, Clinton/Dole, Reagan/Mondale).
B"H, Steyn can still make me smile. Don't miss a word.