Friday, February 06, 2004

I don't believe you can have it both ways.

On May 11, 2001, Wesley Clark spoke before the Pulaski County Republican Party, offering praise for the Bush Administration:

If you look around the world, there's a lot of work to be done. And I'm very glad we've got the great team in office: men like Colin Powell, Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Paul O'Neill - people I know very well - our president, George W. Bush. We need them there, because we've got some tough challenges ahead in Europe.

He further praised the Bush Administration effort to expand the North American Free Trade Agreement:

I was so pleased that President Bush called for a North American Free Trade Agreement, because I think the ultimate answer in South America is to bring prosperity, bring American know-how down there, and let's build one great team in the Americas. I think if we do that, if we tend these security challenges there, it's all going to rebound to our benefit. We're going to find countries in the world responding to us, supporting and reinforcing our own values and interests. We're going to find tremendous prosperity and crossover. We're going to find it in the state of Arkansas and even the city of Little Rock. Maybe even northwest Arkansas will benefit from all this. We've seen it already in NAFTA. We're going to see it tenfold in the years ahead.

(No wonder Clark did so poorly in South Carolina.)

Three days later, on May 14, 2001, John Edwards' "Bipartisan Patient Protection Act," a patient's bill of rights, was first read on the Senate floor. Shortly thereafter, the Republicans introduced a weaker bill supported by the Bush Administration. Edwards described the Bush Administration efforts thusly: "The president has decided to stand with the HMOs instead of patients and doctors. He is working hard to protect special treatment for big insurance companies."

It didn't end there; on June 9th, Edwards gave the weekly Democratic Radio Address, and again, he criticized Bush for protecting insurers, rather than patients:

Today, HMOs and insurance companies are treated differently than just about any other business or person in America. Unlike you and me, unlike doctors, nurses, hospitals, unlike practically everyone else in this country, HMOs and insurance companies that make mistakes � even deadly mistakes � cannot be held accountable in a court of law.
Why in the world are HMOs and insurance companies entitled to special treatment? Why are they entitled to privileged status? HMOs and insurance companies should be treated just like all the rest of us.
I hope the President will work with Senator McCain and me and help pass our bipartisan legislation. A great many of his fellow Republicans in the House and the Senate already support the bill.
Unfortunately, the White House has threatened to veto. The President instead has lent his support to a version that the HMOs like a lot better. Here's why the HMOs like the president's version better: because it helps to maintain their privileged status.
The bill the president likes is not a patient protection bill. It's what a Republican congressman I know called "an HMO protection bill."
Here's the bottom line: The president has a decision to make. He has to decide whether he's on the side of patients and their doctors, or if he's on the side of big insurance companies and HMOs.

To say the least, John Edwards had a different opinion of Bush than the one Wesley Clark held.

Now, Clark wants the presidency for himself. Well, to quote Clark, "I don't believe you can have it both ways. I don't think you can stand with Bush one day and than against him once you decide to run for president."

Unlike Clark, who offered little criticism of Bush before he decided to run for president, Edwards fought the president for years before he chose to run. He fought for the patient's bill of rights, for campaign finance reform, for an independent judiciary. He fought for us, for our rights, and for our beliefs.

Until he decided he wanted the presidency for himself, Clark did not.

Again, to quote Clark, "I don't believe you can have it both ways. I don't think you can stand with Bush one day and than against him once you decide to run for president."