John Edwards begins his much-heralded non-campaign campaign today to end poverty in America — or at least get his picture taken talking about it. But the candidate who is often described to me by Democrats as an empty suit boasts equally empty credibility on the topic. No, I’m not about to launch into the fact that he has gobs of money, which he spends on haircuts and a 20,000 square foot mansion. It’s not his personal wealth that creates the problem, it’s the fact that he doesn’t appear to use his wealth to reduce poverty.

Unless Edwards has instructed his campaign to keep his philanthropy a secret from the public, nothing on his campaign website suggests that the third-place candidate comes close to approaching the great Kennedy legacy — a comparison Edwards and his image/campaign consultants seem intent on pushing. While it's true that John Edwards has great hair that rivals that of John and Bobby Kennedy, the comparisons end there. 

You’d think a man like Edwards, who isn’t shy about throwing money around, would at the very least be more philanthropic than his online biography suggests. Where are his foundations offering college grants to poor children of mill workers? Where are the Edwards-inspired programs that encourage young law students to do legal work pro bono on behalf of the poor? Surely there is something in the Edwards metanarrative that lends credibility to his Southern poverty tour.

Side note: If the Edwards campaign really wants us to believe this poverty tour isn’t a campaign stunt, they shouldn’t have the candidate photographed by The New York Times with members of ACORN, an organization that was found guilty of election fraud in the last election.