Ah, that bright perpetual smile and dashing good looks. That smooth delivery and good ol' boy, yuckin' it up style. That's John Edwards, the beauty to John Kerry's beast. Kerry may look like he just emerged from cryogenic suspension, but Edwards hath charms to melt the hearts of the fairer sex. Call it a balanced ticket.
The two ultra—liberal candidates for the presidency certainly exhibit contrasting styles and personas, but then there are the similarities. And amongst them all, the most striking is that Edwards, like Kerry, has constructed a myth about his past exploits that serves to cover up a dark underlying reality.
Edwards's personal fortune is estimated to be approximately 40 million dollars. Of course, that certainly is no crime, and in comparison to the Kerrys' 650 million or more, it may even seem a tad paltry. But, whereas Kerry struck the mother load hunting for marriageable heiresses, Edwards hit pay dirt hunting for doctors. And whereas Kerry landed his prey by tying the knot, Edwards did so by tying a noose.
You see, John Edwards was a trial lawyer. Not just any trial lawyer. He was a Svengali, a hypnotic operator who could command a courtroom with aplomb. And he sued doctors for malpractice; lots and lots of doctors.
And he made lots and lots of money.
One of Edwards' specialties was cerebral palsy cases. He would bring suit against physicians on the contention that their actions while delivering the hapless children induced the condition. The notion was that the doctors were guilty of a dereliction of duty that caused the babies to be denied adequate oxygen during the birthing process. If only these physicians had performed caesarian sections, claimed the trial lawyer set, the children never would have developed cerebral palsy. Now, these children were the perfect clients for a young, ambitious trial lawyer seeking fame and fortune: children born with among the worst of crosses to bear; children who could make virtually anyone's heart bleed.
But there was a problem. You see, the scientific establishment has determined quite definitely that cerebral palsy is rarely caused by doctors. In point of fact, the condition is almost always induced by a subtle infection in the womb or, perhaps, genetics. To quote Marc Morano of CNSNews.com, whose news outlet interviewed various experts in the field,
Dr. Murray Goldstein, a neurologist and the medical director of the United Cerebral Palsy Research and Educational Foundation, said 'The overwhelming majority of children that are born with developmental brain damage, the ob/gyn could not have done anything about it, could not have, not at this stage of what we know.'
Additionally, Dr. John Freeman, a professor of neurology and pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md., stated,
Most cases of cerebral palsy are not due to asphyxia . . . A great many of these cases are due to subtle infections of the child before birth.
Freeman went on to say,
That is the cause of the premature labor and the cause of the [brain] damage. There is little or no evidence that if you did a [caesarean] section a short time earlier you would prevent cerebral palsy.
Moreover, this statement is borne out by the fact that even though births via caesarian section increased from six percent in the 1970's to twenty—six percent today, the incidence of cerebral palsy hasn't decreased one iota.
As I mentioned before, there are also experts who believe that the condition has a basis in genetics. In either case, however, it has nothing to do with the actions of doctors. And studies indicating this fact date back to at least the 1980's.
This didn't seem to matter to John Edwards, though. He forged on ahead, plying the courtrooms of America and manipulating juries, swaying them with magnificently articulated emotional appeals that were tailor—made to evoke in jurors judgment—clouding responses that would obfuscate the facts of a case. Edwards's usual spiel would go something like his emotional appeal in the 1985 case of Jennifer Campbell, cited by The Boston Globe in 2003. According to court records, Edwards said to the jury,
I have to tell you right now —— I didn't plan to talk about this —— right now I feel her [Jennifer], I feel her presence. [Jennifer's] inside me and she's talking to you . . . And this is what she says to you. She says, 'I don't ask for your pity. What I ask for is your strength. And I don't ask for your sympathy, but I do ask for your courage.'
Ah, what empathy. Just what the world needs: another Southern lawyer, with grand political aspirations and the skills of a snake oil salesman, who feels our pain. That's twice in just over a decade — will miracles never cease?
Now, I want to make very clear what all this implies. John Edwards, while claiming to be standing up for the little guy, got rich peddling lies on the backs of the most unfortunate of children. In the process he fleeced doctors, thereby increasing their cost of practicing medicine which, in turn, drove up the cost of health care. So if you're grumbling about how expensive medical procedures and insurance premiums are, know that tens of millions of our health dollars are in the pocket of John Edwards.
You know, in law school they teach you that there's nothing wrong with arguing any side of an issue. Well, it seems like Edwards learned this well, as he appears to be possessed of that relativistic mindset that sees neither right nor wrong, neither moral nor immoral — only the legal and illegal. In such a world there are no absolutes, only perspectives and opinions. And each one can be as valid as any other — even the Devil's. If American legend tells us that George Washington said, 'I cannot tell a lie' and John Kerry might say 'I cannot tell the truth,' John Edwards defining statement might be, 'I cannot tell the difference.'
So that's John Edwards: the shyster's shyster; a poster boy for tort reform. He won 152 million dollars in 63 cases alone, and made more than 26 million for himself in just the four years before he became a senator. Some have said he was just doing his job. Funny, though, that was the defense of some who operated the gas chambers in the Nazi concentration camps. Doing his job? I call it legalized theft.
Now, something occurs to me: if Edwards and Mr. Freeze are elected, neither one will advocate anything but an illusory reduction in taxation. But maybe John Edwards can return to you some of his ill—gotten booty from his very deep pockets. After all, they're lined with part of your health insurance premium.