Friday, May 25, 2007

More Preaching

There's a bit of a debate in the comments section over what I said yesterday on hypocrisy and John Edwards.

Let me just add a few notes.

One commenter states "I doubt Edwards believes in helping the poor because as far as I can see he has never done anything to actually help the poor." Even if his programs don't work, I do believe that he believes they will. When it comes to hypocrisy, intentions trump results. Which I why I don't care much about hypocrisy, because in politics, results trump intentions.

Another commenter says it's not hypocritical to be rich and speak on behalf of the poor--in fact, this only makes your argument "more compelling." The compelling part is a stretch, but I agree this isn't hypocrisy. The reason Edwards is considered hypocritical is that he's asking a lot of people to pay more taxes--meanwhile, he's so rich (speaking on poverty at 50 G's a throw) that it won't effect his magnificent lifestyle, while others will feel the crunch. Asking others to sacrifice while you're rolling in it feels like hypocrisy. (To say higher taxes won't effect others' lifestyles wouldn't be hypocrisy, it would be more in the nature of a lie.)

There's also the feeling that a guy who gets $400 haircuts is out of touch. (This is why politicians like Edwards are quick to note they weren't rich growing up.) But just as I won't give him extra points for being noble because he says he speaks for the poor, neither should he be judged negatively because he doesn't have to worry about money--once again, the question should be does he have good ideas.

Finally, there was some debate about the morality of plaintiffs' lawyers. I know quite a few lawyers, but personally have no strong opinion on this--to me they're just another type of lawyer, and their job is to serve their clients as best they can. However, I also know a bunch of doctors, and their opinions, on the whole, are pretty consistently negative when it comes to ambulance chasers.

Edwards was a highly successful trial lawyer. He's been harshly criticized by conservatives for his tactics (which apparently include the ability to read sick children's minds). I really can't say how accurate they are, but I do find the accusations entertaining.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Anonymous #1 I feel the need to reply. Edwards has not done for poor with his personal income. His donations. What he does for a living was not considered in my analysis. If as you say his litigation work is just work as any other lawyer would do, it seems hard to accept the opposite argument that it is some great service to the poor, as others here have asserted. His legislative accomplishments are thin. I think I remember it being widely reported that he had proposed very few legislative initiatives in his Senate career. So the real place to look for whether he CARES for the poor is does he GIVE to the poor. His public tax returns suggest otherwise.

1:02 PM, May 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doctors understand the need for malpractice attorneys. The system of payment for those attorneys would sure have lawyers howling if used by doctors. I saved your life and want only a percentage of your future income. Understand I am being reasonable because . . . If I do not make you better then you owe me nothing. How long would this system hold up to scrutiny. (Neither group should really be bitching about the others income.) I criticize the above not because it makes millionaires of smart or charismatic lawyers, but that it feeds(increases) litigation. Just as people criticize our current healthcare system because it pays for sick care and does not encourage preventative care.

Lawyers. While we are on the subject. Most politicians are lawyers. That and the frequent ads are the most common exposure many have of this profession. Neither of which are likely to improve whatever impression offered by our otherwise limited encounters.
Despite this I have a positive feeling about most lawyers, that I have ever directly encountered. Compared to doctors, they are (IMHO) almost universally better at analyzing abstract or political ideas. Lawyers, like doctors, I assume feel that their role is to provide service to others. Often others who cannot understand many of the nuances or challenges of the presented problem. Anonymous#45

1:21 PM, May 26, 2007  

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