HuffPo Misses the Point on Edwards

In discussing the 527 group “controversy”, Sam Stein of the Huffington post writes:

In 2004, ironically, Edwards was on the opposite side of the 527 debate, criticizing President Bush for not personally stopping Swift Boat Veterans for Truth from attacking John Kerry’s Vietnam service.

“There’s one person, one person who can put an end to this today if he had the backbone, the courage, the leadership to do it. And that person is George W. Bush,” he said back then. “Every day that this goes on and the president refuses to say ‘stop these ads,’ we’re learning more and more about the character of George W. Bush.”

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were lying.  Period.  That was why Edwards spoke so passionately against them, and correctly called Bush out for smirking in the background while they spun in the foreground.

Of course, beyond the implications of a candidate meddling in 527 affairs, there are virtually no similarities between the Swift Boat episode and respective 2008 ads. The Alliance for New America has a policy agenda – the group has been hired by six local branches of the Service Employees International Union. And while it touts only Edwards as the candidate to solve health care, energy, and campaign finance issues, the group does not make individual political attacks in its advertising campaign.

In other words, Stein’s tenuous comparison fails.

The point of the 527 dust up is the very existence of these groups, and how they allow cash flow and advertising that benefits candidates without being subject to the same campaign regulations.  Obama, the loudest candidate to critique Edwards, has a nonsensical position on the use of 527’s (which is a very silly thing to do when it is the 527 groups themselves, and not the content, one attacks).

Now we can either restrict speech during a campaign season, which makes my spine crawl just thinking about it, or we can let 527 groups be.  If there were to be any regulation, then I would say regulating the amount or kind of funding these groups get would be the way to go.

But the thing that roils people is Edward’s past advisor heading up the reigns of the 527:

The Alliance for New America, the 527 behind the ads, has been at the center of controversy for several days after it was revealed that Nick Baldick, a former high-ranking Edwards’ adviser, headed the organization.

Baldick, whose firm was on the Edward’s payroll as recently as the campaign’s second quarter

Would this have been any less of a problem if it was someone not directly involved in the campaign?

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