Edwards as the Anti-Cheney

One of the reasons I like Edwards so much as Kerry’s pick for VP is that he makes the perfect anti-Cheney. The way in which this is most obvious is probably in the careers outside of politics that each had. Edwards was a lawyer who spent much of his time and energy winning lawsuits against corporations, punishing them for their misdeeds. (See for example this story, via Atrios.) On the other hand, Cheney was running a major corporation, presiding over that company’s misdeeds.

I’m not arguing that all lawsuits are good. Of course many of the lawsuits filed every year in the US are frivolous and problematic. In some cases they entail negative externalities for others, such as higher insurance rates. However, the ability of the individual to sue a company when it has been negligent or deceitful is one of the few – and arguably most powerful – tools that any single person has to fight back against a large corporation when they do something wrong.

Just as not all lawsuits are good, I should stress that not all corporations are bad, of course. But some of the individuals making decisions within a corporation can be venal, greedy, corrupt, incompetent, callous, or careless in ways that can cause serious harm to individuals. So it’s important to have some check on their power, and thus to help maintain a balance between individuals and corporations. To me, Edwards represents exactly that ability to check the power of corporations, while Cheney represents the corporations.