Joan Walsh, who is one of our favorite writers and pundits, has an excellent interview with Elizabeth Edwards at Salon. The wife and chief strategist to Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards sheds some light on her recent appearances in the gay and lesbian community, and, her challenge to right-wing harpy Ann Coulter.
Why do you support gay marriage? Why not civil unions?
I remember hearing [former GOP Sen. Rick] Santorum ranting about how homosexual marriage threatens heterosexual marriage. I could be wrong, but I think heterosexual marriage is threatened more by heterosexuals. I don't know why gay marriage challenges my marriage in any way.
But your husband feels differently; he's a civil unions guy.
Well, I think it's a struggle for him, having grown up in a Southern Baptist church where it was pounded into him. I was raised a Methodist in military churches. Poverty was talked about; I don't remember homosexuality ever being mentioned... But in churches, in political season, there's plenty of ginning up this issue.
You came to San Francisco and gave a speech before the gay pride parade, but then you were criticized for not being on a float or marching in the parade ...
I don't care, it doesn't matter to me. People who are going to be critical about that probably aren't for my husband to begin with.[...]
Why did you bother to phone [Ann Coulter]?
Ignoring the fact that she exists doesn't make her go away. If it did, you wouldn't hear me utter her name. So I think maybe the better thing to do is simply confront people like her. Are you going to stop them? Under no circumstances will you stop them. But maybe you empower other people to stand up, and maybe that has an effect. When I travel, so many older people thank me for what I did. Because the vile kind of way Ann Coulter thinks and talks, that was not ever part of the public discourse until recently.
Elizabeth Edwards raises three important points. First: Politics is a dynamic and positions are fluid and can be moved. Second: Much of the needless criticism directed toward her and John Edwards, especially around LGBT outreach, is probably by people who will never cast a vote in their favor. Why placate them? The third point, regarding Coulter: Take a memo from the Bill and Hillary School of Hard Knocks. Always confront the opposition with a rapid response. Never allow them to define you. You go girl.
Moving onto the John Edwards campaign. Last week, you'll recall we chatted up his 8-state trip, stopping in 12 cities to raise awareness and increase news coverage on poverty issues. Last night on CNN, Anderson Cooper 360 devoted two segments to the campaign and the poverty tour. Very compelling because it's always exciting to witness Sen. Edwards talking about poverty, race and class, which are his strong suits. Cooper's video has not yet been posted but you can watch the Tom Foreman spot from the Situation Room HERE. AC 360 Transcripts are below.
Christians to Coulter: You're Godless [R20]
Edwards Campaign Launches 12-City Poverty Tour [R20]
John Edwards "Unaware of Wife's Position [R20]
Elizabeth Edwards: "Comfortable with Gay Marriage" [R20]
Democratic Debate Addresses Homopohobia, Race [R20]
SCOTUS Rejects School Diversity [R20]
Clinton, Edwards Oppose Surgeon General Nominee [R20]
Behind the Gay-Friendly Faces [Advocate]