Politics, Technology, and Language

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought — George Orwell

Elizabeth III – American style

Posted by metaphorical on 18 July 2007

Does it seem as if Elizabeth Edwards is campaigning harder than some of the candidates?

First there was her call into the Chris Matthews interview with Ann Coulter (YouTube, here), then there was yesterday’s Salon.com interview in which she goes after Hillary, calling her “”not as vocal a women’s advocate as I want to see.” It got reported in many other outlets, including the NY Times.

Finally, she has a new 30-second ad that will be running in New Hampshire.

The Salon interview is pretty interesting in its own right. The angle that’s being picked up is the attack on Hillary. Newsday’s coverage was about the same as the Times, for example, saying, under a headline “Edwards’ wife takes aim on Clinton”:

She went on to question Clinton’s commitment to defending abortion rights, making a veiled reference to the former first lady’s recent claim that abortions are tragedies.

But the interview includes a lot more, including some great details about the decision to go after Coulter to her face.

well, I knew she was doing “Hardball,” and I knew it was a call-in show. So I called the [Edwards] campaign about getting the number, and they were like, Oh, that’s a good idea. And then I mentioned the 2003 column [where Coulter mocked John Edwards’ discussion of their son Wade’s death in a car crash] and you could see them get worried, like “Oh, my God, she’s carrying around in her mind a 2003 column? Maybe we don’t want her calling …”

She says she got some direct advice not to do it.

I understand the advice — if you were advising somebody you might say that — but that exact attitude is what protects somebody like Ann Coulter. Nobody wants to jump in the mud puddle with her.

Among the interviews wide range of topics, I particularly liked this bombshell nugget:

I have blogged using other screen names before. Before the Whole Foods guy got in trouble [the Wall Street Journal revealed last week that CEO John Mackey used pseudonyms to deride competitors online] I decided that that wasn’t such a good idea.

She seems also to acknowledge that husband John is having trouble getting his message out:

But what I said was, what John said was, there is a need to get the debates more serious. You have these formats with 60-second answers, and in 60 seconds, John’s position on healthcare sounds just like Hillary’s answer, when it couldn’t be farther apart. So we need to find a way to have serious debates, that’s all John is saying. Maybe it’s two candidates at a time. Maybe it’s three hours, but nobody would go for that.

So it’s a little ironic that she would turn around and make a 30-second tv spot (YouTube here).

And to tell you the truth, the commercial itself is a little creepy. Elizabeth looks good—that is, healthy, particularly for a woman with terminal cancer—but it begins with her saying, “I’ve been blessed for the last 30 years, to be married to … ” There’s something about the particular past tense phrasing, and the music, that makes her seem to be talking with one foot in the grave.

Some have criticized her decision to support the campaign despite her illness. It would be interesting if she can actually make it work to the campaign’s benefit. But in the meantime, she’s a campaign dynamo, currently generating more attention than some of the Democratic candidates and just about all of the Republican ones. Good for her.


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