John Edwards, Money, and Morals
On the Road

Tin Man Edwards

I'm with Mike on John Edwards. The former trial lawyer and former Senator and former Vice Presidential candidate is now becoming a Wall Street wheeler and dealer. Why? Because he can, and because it pays.

This man with a smile a mile wide and an inch deep is rudderless. Several years ago, he came to Connecticut to speak to the state's trial lawyers in New Haven, Connecticut. I attended the meal. I wanted to see what the fuss was about. He gave about as lame a rubber chicken speech as I have heard, and inspired no confidence. The fact that he hit on a few personal injury cases did not transform him into a statesman. It merely made him rich, and, as most rich men are when they cross over to fields in which they are prepared to compete not by dint of talent or training, he looked a complete fool.

And that is his burden now. His wealth. He has modest ability as a storyteller. Combine that with horrific injuries and you've got the making of a trial lawyer's, well, moist dream. We excell at telling other people's stories; we live off the woe of others. We are are a derivative class.

Some of us assume that telling stories about others means we have stories of our own to tell. Edwards had no personal story other than the same old, same old about Horatio Alger.

Edwards wrote -- or more likely had written for him, another prerogative of the vain rich is a ghostwriter or two to put the glory of themselves in words; you'll know I'm set financially when I hire someone to ghost my blog! -- a short book called Four Trials. It was about his career as a lawyer. It was a soap opera. Practicing lawyers can read the book, and benefit not at all. I for one would love to try a case against the tidy little prick.

So is it surprising that this man with the gift of gab now trundles off to Wall Street? Not at all. That is where the most expensive stories of all can be told. Being a deal maker means playing with other people's money, just as he once played with other people's lives. If Edwards were the populist he pretended to be, he'd be back in court this very day, arguing the cases of little people in need. Nothing prevents him from hanging a shingle and pleading a case.

But, as we all know, little people don't have big bucks. And Edwards doesn't have the patience or the staff to milk corporations in the class action game. He needs a quick score. The sort that only Wall Street can provide.

So this tin man now has a new gig, a new place to pretend he is has a heart. Only Republicans hope he resurfaces in the form of a Democratic politician. The rest of us hope he takes the hokey smile of his far, far away. Good riddance, John. Go make a billion, but have the grace to spare us another run at national office.