Thursday, February 01, 2007

Michael Medved's "Uncle John's Cabin"

Is it Fair to Mock Edwards over "Uncle John's Cabin"?

Like many other conservatives, I spent a few minutes on the radio today deriding Presidential candidate John Edwards over his insanely lavish new home—what a local North Carolina newspaper alliteratively anointed, his “Decadent Digs.”

The yet-to-be-completed mansion, sited on a 102 acre plot (from which the former Senator clear-cut a dense forest), features 29,000 square feet of floor space, including indoor basketball court, racquet ball court, and pool. Valued officially at six million dollars, it is by far the largest and most expensive residential property in the county.

Edwards apologists say that those of us who’ve been mocking “Uncle John’s Cabin” demonstrate the rankest hypocrisy.

Don’t conservatives celebrate the accumulation and indulgence of wealth? Edwards, who began life in humble circumstances, has lived “the American dream,” according to his admirers. Republicans regularly denounce class warfare and the politics of envy. Why encourage such attitudes now when it comes to a mill-worker’s son who made good, but tries in his politics to keep faith with his own disadvantaged past?

In response to these challenges, four points seem pertinent:

1) Edwards made his money as a trial lawyer, not as an industrialist or entrepreneur who built jobs and enriched the economy. Ambulance chasers like Edwards don’t create wealth; they seize wealth from its creators in the name of “suffering victims.” There are also serious questions about his misuse of his own S-type corporation to dodge taxes, and the shady sale of his previous mansion in Georgetown in a sweetheart deal with a supporter who’s currently under government investigation.

No, free market enthusiastics don’t confer equal respect on all accumulations of wealth: a rich pornographer like Larry Flynt, for instance, deserves less admiration than an innovator and job builder like Bill Gates or even a real estate tycoon like Donald Trump. The often idiotic lawsuits on which Edwards built his career damaged the economy and fueled the destructive culture of victimhood, while building nothing at all and benefiting only the lawyer and his clients.

On what basis can Democrats argue that government should cap or actively discourage big salaries for successful corporate heads, but never consider such a limitation for a court-room conniver like Edwards?

2) Edwards has built both his Presidential campaigns on the “Two Americas” theme – claiming that there’s profound danger in the emerging gap between a handful of super-rich, absurdly privileged people and the rest of the populace. It’s revealing that his choice of a domicile for his family places him so emphatically in the master class America of the “stinking” rich.

I hope the media will press Senator Edwards (who four years ago reported his net worth as between $19 million and $69 million) on the nature of his mortgage on his six million dollar home. Does he hold a four million dollar mortgage? Does he write-off the interest on this huge amount as a tax deduction, and how much does that write-off cost the government?

Does he think it’s fair to get a huge tax break because he chooses to live in a huge home? (I don’t, by the way – and one of the appealing aspects of a Fair Tax – that is, a simple consumption tax – is that it gets rid of special breaks for the more fortunate, like the home mortgage deduction).

3) Has Edwards spoken to his pal Al Gore about his lavish, energy soaking plantation? Anyone calculated the “carbon footprint” of a 29,000 square foot home? Can you imagine how much natural gas or electricity or nuclear power (only kidding) it takes to heat that puppy? Consider the huge contribution to Global Warming (identified by Edwards and all other Democrats as a dire threat to civilization) by chopping down a hundred acres of forest and installing this monstrously excessive residence.

4) As for Edwards exemplifying “The American Dream,” do we really want to identify that timeless vision with conspicuous consumption of the tackiest and most irresponsible sort? Aaron Spelling got criticized for his Edwards-like mansion because it seemed like such a selfish, narcissistic, tasteless display.

Does Edwards really want to suggest that the ultimate goal for every striving American should be a house that’s ten times the size of a normal, spacious mansion (twenty times the size of the average family residence). Here in the Northwest, the Seattle community recently celebrated a retired history teacher at a public high school (Ballard High), who invested his money well, lived far below his means in a tiny house, and just donated more than a million dollars to benefit the history department as his Alma Mater, the University of Washington.

I thought liberals cherished the idea that the ultimate goal in life should involve something more than materialistic display. Of course, for Edwards there is something more: the single-minded and ruthless pursuit of power.

The worst part of the story involves the total, absolute disconnect between the way Edwards talks and the way he lives. He says he identifies with “the little guy,” but he chooses to raise his family in vastly more lavish circumstances than the Kennedys, the Roosevelts, or even the Bushes (no, the family homes in Crawford and Kennebunkport don’t come close to the grandeur or sheer size of the Edwards palace.)

He’s proud of the fact that he got rich, but at the same time the candidate wants to make it vastly harder for other Americans to follow his example. The taxation and redistribution policies he advocates would fall most heavily on precisely those upper-middle class creators and producers and strivers who might dream of someday moving from a comfortable suburban home (2,000 square feet? 4,000?) into a baronial manor house in the Edwards style.

Yes, it amounts to shabby double talk for the luxury-loving-lawyer to suggest that once he’s made his pile and built his plaintiff’s-bar-palace, government should raise the drawbridge and block the way from anyone else coming across the moat and into the castle.


Blogger JINGOIST said...

Well DOWN GOES EDWARDS! DOWN GOES EDWARDS! Imagine Howard Cosell screaming that at the top of his lungs. He did that for Frazier when he was KO'd by Foreman.

This was a devastating critique from Medved. He's absolutely right when he says that the most obnoxious thing about the "Palace Edwards" is the disconnect between the way the shark talks and the way he lives. Talk about your "two Americas" JEEEEZ!

Michael Medved deserves an award for this article, if it makes the rounds well enough Prince Edwards is friggin toast! Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey Gooooood Bye!!! I HATE this schmuck! Bet ya couldn't tell? :-)


4:20 AM  
Anonymous bobcat said...

Medved beat him the hell up, what!

4:56 AM  
Blogger The Merry Widow said...

He did an excellent dissection!
Good morning, G*D bless and Maranatha!


5:53 AM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

I'm so nutz this a.m. The din around here is truly incredible... Then we've got Al GORE winning Nobel, Franken running for the SENATE, boys are trying to keep tea tree oil from dripping on their chests, Edwards lives in something bigger than the HERMITAGE, hedgehogs are covered with bunnyfur instead of hedges...or hogs...or whatever those are, two-headed kittens are all the rage on YouTube (WHO watches THAT????) people are genuinely surprised that Pooty is protecting Litvenenko's assassins--and I'm eating/drinking equal parts of rum and chicken noodle soup due to that nifty powerdrill upstairs (the men got to work precisely on time this morning, yesiree Bob!)

8:51 AM  
Blogger The Merry Widow said...

So, after getting moved to a mite infested apt. while they worked on your apt., just to move back to a jackhammer upstairs...Honey, you want to come visit Florida? It's quieter!


9:37 AM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

LOL!!!!1 I'M LAUGHING SO BAD IT TOOK ME 3 TRIES TO GET GET MY OWN NAME RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my!

EVERY WITH hurricane Andrew, Florida would be quieter--i haven't seen the cat in 27 hours!!!!!!!!! LOL!

10:11 AM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

MERRY WIDOW, are you having the splendid winter I'm having? LOL!!!

10:12 AM  
Blogger The Merry Widow said...

I keep wishing winter would arrive already! We haven't had a good freeze in 4 yrs.! Do you know what that does to the flea and mosquito populations? No freeze, swarms, and that's just the fleas! The mosquitos carry off small children and the elderly! ARGH!


12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is horrible how Edwards makes his money. I see trial lawyers being as bad as government officials who go off to run large multi-national corporations, with no discernable experience other than their thick rolodex of government contacts. Edwards is shameful.

3:56 PM  
Blogger FLORIAN said...

Ambulance chaser Edwards--all the money he ever earned was on frivilous lawsuits and stolen money. I can't wait to see him torn up by the other dems in the primaries. It's going to be a great show.

4:15 PM  
Blogger JINGOIST said...

Florian the other Dems won't give him the proper beating. They'll whine that his health care proposals leave a certain group out in the cold or some such horse hockey! He's slicker than owl sh-t and is good on his toes. That's a big problem because we know EXACTLY what kind of creature he is! Medved's criticismis the type that will actually stick with real Americans.


4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edwards ought to shut up about the two Americas he keeps talking about because if he keeps it up, the one America he imagines(the poor) might get whipped up enough to storm his little palace,string him up,loot the place and then burn it to the ground. Wouldn't that be poetic justice? J"Mac.

6:00 PM  
Blogger JINGOIST said...

As much as you and I hate that sort of outcome, it would seem like "social justice" in this case, wouldn't it? Good point JM!


6:14 PM  
Blogger JINGOIST said...

Johnny I really think that this Medved article could be the one to sink this Hemorrhoid's Pres run. This HAS to make the rounds. I've told three people about it already.

Can't these Dems find ANYONE less hateful than Hillary, a Muslim and this LAWYER/Shark?


6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This whole race for '08 is shaping up to be quite the freak show. We have Hitlery, Shark, Osama on the left and adulterers, war profiteers, flip-floppers and a couple of nuts on the right. Maybe we can somehow change the Consitution so W. can stay on for another term. We need him to keep us on the right course.

3:10 AM  
Blogger FLORIAN said...

LOL! Anon hit it right with the freak show part. I'm sure these clowns would have fit right in a Ringling Bros. Circus at the turn of the 20th century. In any case Mr. Ambulance Chaser John Edwards and his millions won by extorting companies and businesses is a class-clown act. His little "feel your pain" speech in Noir Orleans was about as condesending as I've ever seen. Does this guy think anybody will believe his fairy ass?

4:13 AM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

I sure don't know why I'm so goosey lately, but you guys--Boxer and Jingo--have me laughing like an ape again. It took me about 4 tries to spell my own name right.... HitleryShark, Mr. AmbulanceChaser Fairy Ass--HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

8:33 AM  
Blogger VerityINK said...

Oh, I'm a happy woman again----they found the power drill upstairs. Whew! I was scared to death they lost it! (wink)

8:37 AM  
Anonymous bobcat said...

Good morning, Donal. I absolutely cannot stand John Edwards. I can't help but have the feeling, underneath, he is an evil man.

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