Tale of Two Cities: Edwards v. Frum

Mario Cuomo’s July 16, 1984 address to the DNC is often compared to Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities”. John Edwards is sounding similar themes as evidenced by this excerpt courtesy of David Frum’s Diary on July 7.

Today, under George W. Bush, there are two Americas, not one: One America that does the work, another America that reaps the reward. One America that pays the taxes, another America that gets the tax breaks. One America that will do anything to leave its children a better life, another America that never has to do a thing because its children are already set for life. One America — middle-class America – whose needs Washington has long forgotten, another America – narrow-interest America – whose every wish is Washington’s command. One America that is struggling to get by, another America that can buy anything it wants, even a Congress and a President.

But Frum goes on to criticize Edwards by misrepresenting what Edwards said:

Edwards piles misleading insinuation upon sly manipulation (eg, the hint that low-wage Americans work harder than upper-income Americans, when every statistical study finds just the opposite) until finally he arrives at the stunning conclusion: America is divided between those who can buy anything they want and those who can’t…Once upon a time, deprivation in America meant going hungry or unsheltered.

I hope Frum is not arguing that the only people who go hungry or are homeless are lazy. But if Frum’s former boss, George Bush, wish to engage in a real debate on this issue, I’m sure Kerry & Edwards would welcome that.