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In 1998, Edwards Thought of Us as “Those People”

Posted by libhom Sunday, June 03, 2007

A comment John Edwards made in 1998 is getting a lot of media thanks to a tell-all book by an unhappy former staffer, Robert Shrum.

In his new memoir, "No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner," Shrum recalls asking Edwards at the outset of that campaign, "What is your position, Mr. Edwards, on gay rights?"

"I'm not comfortable around those people," Edwards replied, according to Shrum. He writes that the candidate's wife, Elizabeth, told him: "John, you know that's wrong."

An irony embedded in this whole thing is that the pundit who broke the story, Howard Kurtz, is homophobic, among other things.

Much of the blog discussion has been on Edwards saying that he was uncomfortable around us, but the thing that is creepier to me was the “those people” part. We know who “those people” are, especially in the Dixiecrat context: people in a despised minority.

We can hope that Edwards has advanced in his thinking since then. However, there are other Democratic presidential candidates who are better on queer issues (e.g., Kucinich and Richardson). So far, Edwards certainly is not giving queers much reason to support him.

Edwards' position on Iraq has been a bit slimy too. He tries to sound anti-war by saying congressional Democrats should have pushed harder on legislation to drag the war out all the way to 2008 when he should be calling for an immediate cutoff of all funds. If Edwards were serious in opposition to this nutty war in Iraq, Edwards would call for US troops withdrawals to start immediately and be finished in weeks. (It only took a couple of weeks to get our troops into the Iraq occupation quagmire. There is no reason why it should take that much longer to get them out, especially since they would face little opposition among Iraqis for leaving.)

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