Well, I’m behind. I should be posting about the other guy, but first things first. I was going to write a summary of Edward’s speech; then I realized that someone already wrote the Legend of Robin Hood—you know—the “virtue” of stealing from the rich to give to the poor. That will suffice.
I will say that it must be ironic to all but zombies to listen to a speech themed on “Two Americas” (class envy and warfare, for those in need of a clue) and have it conclude by excoriating his opponent for engaging in divisive politics.
Anyway, I caught wind of this gem, all facts easily verifiable, and it just so clearly illustrates the deep dishonesty and hypocrisy of the man. Is he the only one? No, certainly not; he’s just the one in my sights right now. But I also doubt there’s anyone more hypocritical. Some excerpts:
Turns out the senior Tarheel senator is a double beneficiary of alleged drug-company misdemeanors. On the campaign trail he gets to bray about the injustice of it all, and back home he collects the dividends of “price gouging” and adds them to his considerable net worth.
Edwards has been a fairly substantial shareholder (tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in combined drug stocks at various times) in Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Pfizer and Novartis, a rogues’ gallery of lifesaving medicine makers, federal filings show.
Meet well-known oilman John R. Edwards. The senator has owned stock in Chevron Texaco, Exxon Mobil and Schlumberger.
Wait, Bill Miller is in the senator’s portfolio. Edwards had more than $100,000 in Miller’s renowned Legg Mason Value Trust at the end of last year, holding pieces of stocks such as Citigroup, Tyco and one of the health insurers Edwards excoriates, UnitedHealth Group.
Edwards, who voted to authorize President Bush to invade Iraq, also bought shares in defense corporations Lockheed Martin and United Technologies the week before the war began. Lockheed Martin makes Patriot missiles, among other hardware, and United Technologies makes Black Hawk helicopters.
The senator has also held stock and bond investments in DaimlerChrysler. You know DaimlerChrysler. Presidential candidate John Edwards shined a spotlight on the company earlier this year:
How DaimlerChrysler decided to shift frame production of its Dodge Ram truck to Mexico. How that forced its Milwaukee supplier, Tower Automotive, to move work to Mexico, too. How 500 Milwaukee jobs will disappear by the middle of next year as a result.
While it’s true that at least part of the time his assets were in a blind trust and he did not know or control the precise trades, he certainly could have specified classes of investments that he didn’t want—or hell—he could have set up a blind trust with Peter Camejo’s brokerage that invests only in “socially responsible” companies, whatever the hell that means. He could have invested in plain ‘ol real estate, or any number of other sorts of investments. But he didn’t. He knew his funds would be invested in the same companies he was going to go out and excoriate, and he knew he’d be laughing all the way to the bank.
Let me be perfectly clear. While I wholly condemn the way he “earned” his money in the first place, which is nothing more than an unjust tax on all of you via higher prices for goods, services, and insurance in order to pay the tens of millions of dollars in settlements and judgments that went into John Edward’s pockets, I’ve no problem with a guy investing money, per se, and earning a good return on it. Conflict of interest? Only to ignoramuses who see the economy as a zero-sum game. Public policy that honestly and justly benefits a company or industry is one of the very few things on a very short list of things that politicians sometimes get right, and typically, simply involves getting out of the way of the company or industry.
So, go ahead and invest with pride, Mr. Edwards. Just shut your lying, divisive, hypocritical trap about it.