The New Republic’s Michael Crowley has read retired-and-still-eight-time-loser Democratic strategist Bob Shrum’s new memoir, “No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner,” so you don’t have to. “[N]o one comes in for rougher treatment in this book than Shrum’s former client, John Edwards,” Crowley writes, who says Edwards is portrayed as an intellectual lightweight and “a hyper-ambitious phony.”
In Shrum’s words, Edwards is “a Clinton who hadn’t read the books.” Shrum also says, according to Crowley, that John Kerry regretted choosing Edwards as his running mate in 2004. Kerry now thinks “he should have gone with his gut” choice, Dick Gephardt. (Did The New York Post talk to Kerry’s gut before publishing its Gephardt cover?) Before his debate with Vice President Cheney, Edwards called Kerry “in a state of ‘panic,’” Shrum writes. “He was worried; maybe he wasn’t ready; could he pull this off?”
The animosity between consultant and candidate is apparently shared. When Shrum decided to work for John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2003, Edwards felt betrayed. He told Shrum in a phone call, as relayed by Crowley: “I can’t believe you would do this to me and my family. I will never, ever forget it, even on my deathbed.”
After plowing through all the anti-Edwards dirt shoveled by Shrum, Crowley concludes:
Given that Shrum doesn’t seem interested in causing added pain for Kerry, incidentally, it seems reasonable to assume that the anti-Edwards material in this book … [is] included with Kerry’s assent. In other words, it may be both Shrum and Kerry who are knifing Edwards here.
It’s hard to say whether the ghost of Shrum will have a real impact on Edwards’s campaign. “No Excuses” does tend to reinforce nagging doubts about whether Edwards is a manufactured candidate with outsized ambitions but muddy convictions.
– Chris Suellentrop
Republican Donors, Undaunted
Greg Giroux of CQPolitics has a party fundraising update that shows winning isn’t everything, at least not in politics:
The Democratic victories in last November’s elections have not — at least not at this early juncture of the 2007-08 cycle — reversed the fundraising advantage the Republican National Committee (R.N.C.) has long held over the Democratic National Committee (D.N.C.).
The R.N.C. reported raising $7.4 million in April, compared with $4 million for the D.N.C., according to campaign reports filed late last week with the Federal Election Commission (F.E.C.). That continues a trend: The R.N.C. has outraised the D.N.C. every month this calendar year.
The R.N.C. raised $33 million in the first four months of this year and had $14.2 million in cash on hand; the committee was debt-free as May began. The D.N.C. has raised $19.7 million this year and had available cash of $6.1 million, with debts of $3 million.
The D.N.C. has lower cash on hand than the R.N.C. because it has spent a greater percentage of its receipts — in part because the D.N.C. pays salaries for party personnel in all 50 states. The D.N.C., which has vowed to be more competitive in traditionally Republican-leaning states and districts, spent about $921,000 on staff salaries in April.
“Rightwing bloggers are making a big fuss about a poll in which 47 percent of U.S. Muslims stated that they thought of themselves first as Muslim, and only 28 percent as Americans first (18 percent volunteered ‘both’ and 7 percent ‘don’t know’),” notes John Quiggen at Crooked Timber. “By contrast, for self-described U.S. Christians, the results were 48 percent for American first, and only 42 percent for Christian first, with 7 percent saying ‘both’ and 3 percent ‘don’t know.’”
Why is the contrast significant? “The only possible reading of this data is that less than half of all Americans are in fact Christians in the religious, as opposed to the cultural/tribal, sense of the term. Galations 3:28 is pretty clear on the subject, but more importantly, it’s obvious that you can’t seriously believe in, and worship, an Almighty God if your allegiance to an earthly power comes first, or equal, or if you don’t even know. It might be useful in discussion of U.S. exceptionalism as regards religion to note the preponderance of nominal believers revealed by this question.”
– Tobin Harshaw