Publisher's Note: Not Edwards
By Jody Reese
There comes a time in a person's life when you just feel the need to stand up and say, "No, he's really not the right guy for the job." I wrote this about George W. Bush. And I stand behind it. And now I feel I have to write it about John Edwards.
Edwards doesn't have the experience or the vision needed to lead our country. He's never run a business or a government. His platform reflects that.
For example, Edwards wants to increase grants and loans to small businesses in rural areas to boost the economy and bring people out of poverty, but on the other hand he wants to almost double the minimum wage and force all businesses to pay for health insurance for their employees. These small businesses would need the loans and grants just to pay for those mandates. While it would be great if all small businesses could pay their employees' health care costs and afford almost $10 an hour, it would force thousands of New Hampshire businesses into bankruptcy. For those businesses that survived, the higher costs would increase the cost of basic services and goods beyond what most middle-class families could afford. The result would be a lower standard of living for all.
The other main unintended consequence of doubling the minimum wage would be to further entice undocumented workers to cross the border. If businesses can't afford minimum wage, some will turn to the undocumented market to find workers. The result will be people without papers working for less than the minimum wage while workers with papers are unable to find minimum wage jobs.
What Edwards fails to understand is that you can't wave a magic wand and raise people up out of poverty — if you could someone would have done it already. The causes of poverty are numerous and require a multifaceted approach, not the least of which is making it easier to open a business, not more difficult.
John Edwards' lack of common sense makes him a poor choice for president.
Clarification (expanded from the print edition)
In my Publisher's Note last week, I wrote that the sole source in the Union Leader's "'Hitman' hire ends in arrest" story was the woman accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill her attorney's wife. I should clarify that. The sole source of the Union Leader story was State Trooper Steven Rowland's affidavit based on statements from the accused's roommate. The accused is not the direct source to the state trooper.
This raises the question that was never answered in that story: Who was the roommate's source? The newspaper's description of the affidavit suggests that the accused is the sole source of the information — including the allegation of a romantic relationship — that the informing roommate passed on to authorities.
It's difficult to infer anything else. It's my understanding — essential because no other explanation has been provided —” that this informing roommate never actually saw the attorney and her roommate together in a romantic setting or overheard them in a romantic conversation. Affidavits will usually include that detail, if it's available, because it can go to motive.
The Union Leader's next-day story (Friday, Dec.7, 2007) alludes to this lack of corroborating evidence.
Direct quote from story: Family: No affair in murder for hire
Deputy Rockingham County attorney Tom Reid said he was "limited in his ability to comment. The case is still under investigation." Asked directly about the affair allegation contained in the arrest affidavit, and whether he could state that did not happen, Reid said,
"The trooper (writing the affidavit) was not asserting that as fact ... she made an allegation, she claimed they had a relationship. That allegation was not verified."
And that's the problem with publishing all information in an affidavit. The reporter can't know if someone has an ax to grind or has been relayed bad information. This is central to the issue about holding the story so more information could be gathered. Getting Reid's quote in the first story would have changed the tenor of it — and specifically the lead paragraph. If the reporter had that information before he wrote the story on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2007, it's unlikely that the accusation that there had been a romantic relationship between the accused the attorney would have been so prominently featured.
I understand the Union Leader's desire to break the story. But at what cost?
Reputations just can't be reclaimed.
Mistakes do happen. As a free society we must expect that in order to get a free press that helps ensure our democratic process, that press will not always be perfect. Gathering information is hard and it can be made harder and less reliable by taciturn law enforcement and sloppy reporters (I know; I was a sloppy reporter. Details were never as important as getting the story. That's why I now write this column and sell ads.)
But that is more a descriptive of the process than an excuse. The Union Leader didn't need to go live with that story Thursday. It could have waited a day to make sure it was presenting a clear explanation of what had happened..