By Alan Nathan © 2007 FrontPageMag

Is presidential hopeful, Democrat John Edwards, wittily disingenuous or genuinely witless? Like Elmer Gantry, Sinclair Lewis’ fictional 1920’s Bible-thumping huckster who preached what he rarely practiced, Edwards appears to have joined the “do as I say, not as I do” club. On one hand he’s the trailblazer for poverty relief; but on the other he’s the sybaritic patrician demanding a full year’s salary for a full day’s work.

Like Elmer Fudd, he utilizes few gray cells when insisting upon the unsupportable. He continues claiming that President Bush manipulated prewar intelligence concerning Saddam Hussein’s WMD, and now argues that the War on Terror is nothing more than the fictional conjurings of that same president.

Let us look at the two Elmers and see which is most dominant.

For John Edwards Gantry, the list is impressive:

  •  A new 28,000 square foot home sitting on 102 acres in Orange County, NC totaling $6,000,000;
  • Haircuts costing $400 each (windy days must be a terrifying proposition);
  • $500,000 part-time salary paid to him by the very same obscenely rich hedge-fund elites he normally castigates;
  • $55,000 scraped together by students at the University of California at Davis to hear him lecture on poverty; and
  • According to ABC News reports of March 16, another 1 to 5 million added to his net wealth of 29 million from the same folks who paid that half-million salary, the Fortress Investment Group.

There’s nothing wrong with raking it in, but when Herr Edwards characterizes our country as a nation entangled in class warfare against the poor, how does he get to chastise their indulgent-rich enemy while so richly indulging himself alongside them?

For John Edwards Fudd, the examples are more calamitous than humorous. His contention that Bush contrived or manipulated pre-Iraq War intelligence is to accuse the president of an impossible undertaking. In order to have pulled it off, he also would have had to manipulate the prewar intelligence of so many other countries claiming the same flawed findings. They include: France, Britain, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Portugal, Israel, Japan, South Korea, China, Russia, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Most of these countries disagreed with our prescription for the war – but not the perceived evidence upon which it was based.

As I’ve said on my show before, these multi-national intelligence findings were reported by ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Boston Globe, and The Associated Press. To deny these voluminously published facts is like arguing over whether or not snow is cold.

Perhaps Edwards’ greatest Fudd moment came when he recently rejected the notion that we’re at war with terrorists:

“We need a post-Bush, post-9/11, post-Iraq military that is mission focused on protecting Americans from 21st century threats, not misused for discredited ideological purposes,” Edwards said in remarks prepared for delivery. “By framing this as a war, we have walked right into the trap the terrorists have set—that we are engaged in some kind of clash of civilizations and a war on Islam.” (Associated Press, May 23, 2007.)

Edwards must have lost some memories along with those expensive hair clippings, because the phrase War on Terror was originally coined as a way to avoid offending those of the Muslim faith. It was hoped that such a phrase could help separate the guilty from those who merely shared their ethnicity and religion.

Truthfully, many of us despise the phrase because it mistakenly describes a war against a weapon or a tactic, as opposed to an enemy. We’re not waging a war on terror any more than we’ve waged previous wars against bullets or bombs. We’re waging a war against those people using such weapons or tactics.

However, to shy away from the term because it supposedly allows the enemy to characterize us as warring against Islam is the most salient example of regressive thinking and cowardice of recent memory. If Muslim leaders from around the world are correct in saying that we shouldn’t think of terrorists as equal to Islam, then it naturally follows that attacking them cannot be an attack on Islam – once separated, always separated.

Herr Edwards, you can’t be afraid to define your enemies just because they may use that definition to rally their own supporters – that’s appeasement masquerading as strategy. We’ll never have control over someone else’s power of delusion.

How then do we convince the Muslim community that our war is only against terrorists who happen to be Muslim and not Muslims in general? You candidly explain that if it’s wrong to assume guilt based on ethnicity or religion, then it’s equally wrong to shield guilt based on ethnicity or religion.

If you encounter disagreement on that, you’re either talking to an idiot or a terrorist.