Elizabeth Edwards, I'm sure, is a smart, capable woman. A well-educated lawyer, seasoned politician's wife, and mother of three, her battle against cancer is laudable no matter what your politics are. But in all honestly, is she really that much of a scholarly health care policy or health care finance expert?
Not sure if this was expected or known in advance, but the announcement today that Elizabeth Edwards is joining the Center for American Progress as a senior fellow is striking in two ways. First, it's great for CAP. Think tanks don't often get the benefit of having famous and well-liked authors or thinkers on their staffs. Hers will be a prominent voice on the health care debate going forward, and CAP will bask in her reflected fame...
According to CAP's press release, Edwards "will be working on health care issues and will also write occasionally for the 'Wonk Room,' the Center for American Progress Action Fund's newly-launched, first-of-its-kind policy rapid-response blog."
Basically she's a glorified blogger that the media can turn to help gin up biased news reports that push for more government involvement in health care.
Yes, CAP can "bask" in Edwards's fame, but how exactly does it help establish CAP's credibility on the substance of the health care debate? Yes, she's a prominent liberal voice for universal health care, but that's a political asset, not an intellectual one. So why is Carney falling for it? Would he have a similar reaction if say Ann Romney or Janet Huckabee to land a fellowship at a conservative think tank?