“Edwards to announce poverty tour,” read the headline to an article which announced to the nation that Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards would soon be embarking on a “Road to One America” tour aimed at calling attention to poverty around the country.

Well, hallelujah! With the “Breck girl” on the case there just might be some hope that the nation can be brought back from its Dickensian nightmare of 4.5% unemployment, record home ownership and a stock market at all-time highs.

Does anybody see the absurdity of a rich lawyer going on a poverty tour as a presidential campaign strategy during a time of such abundant prosperity? Okay, sure, there are still some people who live in poverty. But the figures just cited are indicative of an economic state of well-being that when measured against man’s long, upward climb from a state of savagery, represents a historic pinnacle. In other words, what more could anyone reasonably ask for from an economy?

As Ronald Reagan once said, facts are stubborn things. But that won’t stop Edwards from exploiting a few pockets of persistent poverty for his own personal aggrandizement and presidential aspirations.

The poverty sojourn is slated to begin Sunday, July 15, in — can you guess where? — drum roll, please . . . The Lower Ninth Ward of the Katrina-battered and wretchedly-governed city of New Orleans. There, the slick-talking lawyer will walk around like a reincarnated Bobby Kennedy, unctuously viewing the poverty and blaming it all on Bush, heartless conservatives and racism (oops, sorry if that’s a triple redundancy).

From there he’ll head to Mississippi Delta country, a couple of locations in the nation’s Rust Belt and finally end up in Kentucky coal-mining country in the town of Prestonsburg, which was also the final stop of Bobby Kennedy’s poverty tour during his 1968 presidential run. How wonderfully inspiring!

But because John Edwards is no Bobby Kennedy, it might be more inspiring for the tour to end instead at the site of Edwards’ own sprawling estate where he could make his final “Road to One America” speech from the steps of his 28,000-square-foot mansion. Because what could be more inspiring than the story of the son of a poor ol’ mill worker who struggles through childhood, graduates law school, becomes filthy rich by suing doctors and goes on to run for president?

Wait a minute. Son of a mill worker . . . law school . . . gets rich . . . runs for president . . . Isn’t that a classic rags-to-riches American success story? But according to his “two Americas” schtick, the deck is permanently stacked against the poor and the only thing that can possibly free them from their poverty is an Edwardian government program.

As I said in a column when Edwards was only running for vice president back in ‘04, “the problem isn’t that there are two Americas. The problem is that within this one America there are multitudes of people with bad attitudes who, for whatever psychopathological reasons, don’t step up to the plate to take advantage of the boundless opportunities offered in this country, but instead vote for people like Edwards who promise that the government will fix everything for them.”

So, you want a poverty program? I’ve got a poverty program right here. It’s called “get off your lazy ass and do something.” The United States is the most efficient engine for economic prosperity in the history of civilization and it’s open to everyone. If all kinds of refugees and émigrés from the world‘s poorest and most miserable backwaters can come here with nothing and achieve economic success, then no American with half a brain and the slightest bit of gumption should ever spend his life mired in poverty.

If you live in a blighted area, you might have to move. But the last thing you should do is sit around and wait for a shyster like Edwards to come around and tell you how he’s going to fix everything if you’ll just put him in office. It’s as fraudulent as anything ever peddled out of a snake oil salesman’s wagon. And it’s as deceitful as one of Edwards’ medical malpractice courtroom summations in which he spoke to the jury as if he were an unborn baby in a womb, begging for justice against the doctor who supposedly caused the child’s cerebral palsy.

Yecch! The sleaze almost literally drips off of this guy. Fortunately, if the polls are any indication, Edwards doesn’t have a prayer of holding the highest office in the land. But his cock-and-bull tour will help perpetuate the myth held by some that powerful forces are keeping them down and the only way out is through a government program.

They say there’s a sucker born every minute. There’ll be hordes of ‘em whooping it up over Edwards “Road to One America” tour. The rest of us have already written him off for the charlatan that he is.

Greg Strange provides conservative commentary with plenty of acerbic wit on the people, politics, events and absurdities of our time. See more at his website: http://www.greg-strange.com/

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