Friday, August 08, 2008

John Edwards and matters of the heart 

John Edwards puts it out there, and the Washington Post is not kind in the lede:

Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Friday admitted to an extramarital affair while his wife was battling cancer. He denied fathering the woman's daughter.

Edwards told ABC News that he lied repeatedly about the affair with a 42-year-old woman but said that he didn't love her. He said he has not taken a paternity test but knows he isn't the father because of the timing of the affair and the birth.

Much as I dislike John Edwards, my emotional reaction to this scandal is quite different than my first response to Eliot Spitzer's hilarious fall from grace. Spitzer took great delight in accusing others of wrongdoing up to and including prosecution for "offenses" that theretofore had not been considered crimes. Edwards is, in my sense of him, quite different. True, he is an unapologetic tort lawyer and a left-wing populist who stands for everything I detest, but I have never felt that Edwards was a particularly mean or petty person. Quite the contrary. I therefore feel none of the schadenfreude at Edwards' fall that overwhelmed me on hearing about Spitzer and his call girl.

Cancer is enormously stressful both for its direct victims and their families. While it is obviously easy to condemn Edwards for cheating on his sick wife and putting his political party in great jeopardy and I normally delight in piling on with the rest of the righties, this once I am going to refrain. There are emotions here that we do not understand and can never understand, and I lack the stomach to sit in judgment of them.

MORE: ABC News is going to broadcast an interview with Edwards tonight. Here is the giant blog roundup at Memeorandum.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 08, 04:40:00 PM:

This great American can always return to chasing ambulances and perhaps be even better qualified to do so. One has to be tough to prosecute the innocent.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 08, 04:46:00 PM:

To have any sympathy for this man is
very difficult to understand. He has
done great damage to the field of
obstetrics and medicine in general.
He destroyed countless doctors lives.
He deserves too suffer from his lack
of character.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 08, 04:47:00 PM:

TH, i am afraid you are projecting your own decency onto this human pond scum.

how about his droping a word into the 2004 debates about cheney's daughter?

how about the harm he did to the medical practioners he falsely accused of malfeasance?

i don't take any pleasure in his being revealed as a weasel; it just confirms what i thought of him anyway.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Fri Aug 08, 04:52:00 PM:

To be clear, I have no sympathy for John Edwards. All I said was that my first reaction was not to laugh uproariously (as it was with Spitzer). What accounts for the difference? To me, it is the complexity of cancer, which twists and distorts the emotions of all involved. So while I have no sympathy for Edwards, I am not going to sit in judgment of him over this revelation in particular.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 08, 04:58:00 PM:

He was lying then and he is lying now. In fact, it is my belief that this whole story is a fabrication designed to cover the fact that he is a homosexual.
Never, never overlook how shifty and filthy these democrats are. And, always ask the question, "He was lying then but is he also lying now?"
The MSM now feels a little betrayed but they'll get over it very quickly. They are in the position of having to recognize and celebrate the superior journalistic skills of the National Enquirer and take shots at a lefty favorite. Maybe, a place like The Nose On Your Face can put together some of those really pompous, hypocritical speeches Edwards gave and tie them into his mendacity. Waste no time or effort on sympathy for this schmutz.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 08, 05:23:00 PM:

As arrogant and mendacious as Edwards has always been, does anyone believe that this bimbo was his first or even, his last?  

By Blogger Mystery Meat, at Fri Aug 08, 06:29:00 PM:

These guys live in a fishbowl (Spitzer, Clinton, etc.). What make them think that they can get away with this forever? Hubris.

In Edwards' own words: "In the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic."

Never underestimate the thinking power of the little head!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 08, 07:17:00 PM:

If he didn't father the child, why not take a DNA test and remove all doubt? I must oppose your point of view on Edward's extra-marital activities. Countless others have experienced the same ordeal without cheating on their spouses. As the others have suggested, he is just a scumbag lawyer and a man of weak character.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 08, 07:59:00 PM:

If you have a penis, I think you can understand the "emotions" involved here perfectly well. Screwing other women is not a typical, and certainly not an honorable, reaction for a man to have when his wife is diagnosed with cancer.

If he was just a regular guy, I wouldn't care. But he's a moralizing, pompous windbag. Politicians set themselves up for this sort of thing.  

By Blogger dougf, at Fri Aug 08, 08:08:00 PM:

"If he was just a regular guy, I wouldn't care. But he's a moralizing, pompous windbag."

Yes he is. Can't abide the man but this is just distasteful on every level. I have no sympathy for him but on the other hand the sooner this blows over the better for us all. I hope he just has the decency to STFU for the rest of his mendacious life.

He won't of course but one can hope.

As the old call in India used to go ---- Unclean, Unclean.  

By Blogger John Richardson, at Fri Aug 08, 08:12:00 PM:

OK, since you don't have the stomach for piling on, I will. And I *DO* understand the emotions involved.

I served as my late wife's primary caregiver from the time she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer until the day she died. I did stuff in caring for her that I never imagined that I would have to do in my wildest dreams. I also felt closer to her during those horrible eight months than I did for most of our 11 1/2 year marriage. To have cheated on her would have been the absolutely worst betrayal of her that I could imagine.

It has been almost 15 years since she died and the strength I gained during those eight months of 1993 have remained.

John Edwards is and was a weakling who thought only of his ego. If he had any sexual desires during that period - and if you are the one caring for your spouse your libido goes to hell - then the pompous bastard should have just masturbated. At least that would have been honest.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 08, 08:25:00 PM:

Edwards knew that his wife was going to die from breast cancer. He calculated who he would hold responsible for her death and, therefore, sue. He calculated that her death would be more valuable to him is she were the wife of a candidate for president of the US rather than of a scum-sucking plaintiff's attorney.
The crime Edwards has committed aginst us has nothing to do with who he has been banging over the years, it is that he ran for VP with another sleaze in 2004 and came close to being Vice President and on a track to become President.
Think back to the things he said and claimed in 2004. We have dodged a bullet. Also consider how the media has failed us by accepting the guy as genuine and how that failure carries over with Hussein.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 08, 08:58:00 PM:

Sorry but I'm not buying it. I was in my 30s when my wife died of cancer after a long downhill course, leaving me with two small children. I never once even considered cheating on her.

I'm not running for saint. But Edwards is a piece of crap for doing what he did, lieing about it, getting his wife involved in the cover up, and is still lieing about it today. I can't believe anyone would say "go easy on him" for this. If anything, I would be more tolerant of a man who cheated on a perfectly healthy wife than one with cancer.

When your wife needs you the most... how can you defend this pos?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 08, 09:03:00 PM:

Yeah, Elliot was a real jerk. Newt, Foley, L. Craig, Livingston, Vitter, Spitzer, McGrevey, Packwood, Clinton – there is a long list of public people with personal failings. I am not put off by the act or the lying (What do they have to lose at that point?), and as a general rule, I don’t think adultery should be a disqualifier for office. What is repellent to me is the hypocrisy, the cravenness that they hold on to power after being caught, and the humiliation their spouses have to endure when used as props when they make public admissions. They are self-absorbed malignant narcissists. Bob Packwood ran for reelection. Bob Livingston did it right; he got caught and resigned in hours. I did notice McCain gave a firm no comment to an Edwards affair.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 08, 09:28:00 PM:

TH - I am personally shocked that no one has mentioned what I think is the even bigger story and that was the Main Stream Media's complete disregard for this story. The National Enquirer started this story over two weeks ago and not a single major news organization other than Fox would even talk about it.

I thought the Dan Rather story during the 2004 election was Exhibit A of the MSM's leftward slant, but it has now been replaced by this story. As Ann Coulter pointed out in her weekly editorial, how is it that a guy like Rev. Ted Haggard, whom I had never heard of makes the front pages and lead stories of every major news outlet and a former VP and Presidential candidate's infidelity to a cancer stricken wife not get covered? It also serves as an instant shut-down to any Lefty who starts bitching about Fox News. If they are not reporting it, then it appears no one else will...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 08, 09:37:00 PM:

Edwards garners no sympathy, cheating on your terminally ill wife is about as low as you can go. His days on the national political stage are through, this is one of those character flaws that are fatal when you're asking voters to trust you. I never cared much for Edwards in the first place, I always thought he was trying to channel RFK.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 08, 09:40:00 PM:

Calling Edwards a worthless piece of shit insults worthless pieces of shit.

What I want to know is ... if he's not the daddy, then what's he doing paying her hush money, and WTF is she doing living in a 7-figure home in Chapel Hill? And
WTF was he doing in her hotel room for a few hours a few weeks ago?

This stuff just doesn't add up to me.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 08, 09:44:00 PM:

OK, the only way to finally settle the issue of paternity is to have Edwards and his whore appear on the Maury Povich Show and have his staff do the test. "Yea, he my baby's daddy!"  

By Blogger Unknown, at Fri Aug 08, 09:47:00 PM:

Like Anonymous and JPR above, I cared for my wife during chemo. In our case it was metastatic ovarian cancer, and it was a 18 months of pure hell. My wife survived and is now cancer free for 6 years, but I have been there too.

At the worst point of the treatment, on my birthday, my wife hired a prostitute she found on the internet. She'd been threatening to do so for months, joking, but she has a very wicked sense of humor and decided to go through with it.

A nice young woman came to our door, my wife told me why she was there.

I told my wife it was a lovely gesture. The three of us sat around and talked for 2 hours, then my wife got tired and the young woman went home

Edwards is a pig.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Fri Aug 08, 09:55:00 PM:

D, that is a great story. You (and others who have commented here) are blessed in your marriage and certainly have all the standing to hammer away at Edwards. As I said, I am not defending Edwards. I am merely abstaining from this one.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 08, 10:14:00 PM:

Sorry, I don't agree. Been there, done that. I held my wife's hand through 6 months of chemo, more barf bags than I care to count and then 5 years of getting us past the fear of "it it back???". There is no excuse for his behavior.

In fact, the mere act of his running again as her cancer came back told me everything I ever needed to know about him and what his values are. "Excuse me honey, I know your doc says its terminal this time, but I gotta go give a speech!" Please. Edwards is exactly what his actions show he is - a shallow, hollow, self-entered jerk. Perhaps this will put him in history's dust bin forever.

W. Keller  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 08, 10:14:00 PM:

In 1999, when Edwards was a senator, he said of President Clinton and his affair with Monica Lewinsky:

"I think this president has shown a remarkable disrespect for his office, for the moral dimensions of leadership, for his friends, for his wife, for his precious daughter. It is breathtaking to me the level to which that disrespect has risen."

Personally, I think the cancer angle is just a red herring and sympathy ploy. While I cannot say I have any experience dealing with a spouse who sick, the reality here is just another self-righteous narcissist who got pinched.

He should just now fade away and hide out in his 29000 foot house in that other America.  

By Blogger stevieray, at Fri Aug 08, 10:21:00 PM:

If Edwards was driven to adultery by his wife's unfortunate disease... if he really just couldn't help it, then what makes him think he can handle the presidency under those very same circumstances?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Aug 08, 11:12:00 PM:

Obama may yet consider Edwards for VP. Sure, he has a scandal, but Obama knows that he could help get white women, if you know what I mean!  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Fri Aug 08, 11:21:00 PM:

The narcissism and hypocrisy of politicians is neither new nor surprising. It is somewhat interesting that there was an extra level of self-righteousness in this case, and a little more interesting that there is a notable tendency for Republicans to act differently than Democrats when caught.

But the only story of lasting importance is the failure of news organizations to do their job evenhandedly. If they wish to return to the Joe DiMaggio/JFK days of knowing but not reporting, fine. If they wish to spill all the blood they can for a story, also fine. But to report unevenly is to fail in their basic task. The investigative reporters make much of their value to the republic in doing the research that keeps those in power somewhat accountable. But the greatest chef, if he will not cook, feeds no one.  

By Blogger D.E. Cloutier, at Sat Aug 09, 12:18:00 AM:

Excellent comment, AVI.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Aug 09, 01:55:00 AM:

how long before the video is released  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Aug 09, 04:35:00 AM:

Fred Baron, Dallas trial lawyer, was Chairman of Edwards campaign. Baron lives in a $17,000,000 house in Dallas. He is past president of the national association of trial lawyers. Baron paid to have the mistress and Andrew Young relocated 'unknown' to Edwards and out of the kindness of his heart. Baron made his fortune on specious asbestos ligitation. Previous paralegals for him informed him of no asbestos exposure in prospective clients and they were told to be creative. Baron was also in charge of John Kerry's campaign.

Trial [tort] lawyers are the primary political contributors to the Democratic party. George Bush pushed hard for tort reform. Democrats are in bed and controlled by these scumbags.

John Edwards is a scumbag. Pray for the people he and these other scumbags have screwed and are continuing to screw bigtime in the name of helping the downtrodden.

Asbestos ligitation is 95% a scam game as is malpractice for birth issues.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Aug 09, 05:42:00 AM:

It's not merely easy to condemn Edwards: it is correct. His conduct was despicable and to characterise it as a forgiveable lapse of judgement in the face of stress is to demean the courage of all cancer sufferers and their loved ones. If anything, an attempt to stoop to such a callow mea culpa renders him more, rather than less guilty.  

By Blogger Mrs. Davis, at Sat Aug 09, 07:30:00 AM:

Another victory for modernity!

I have great sympathy for Mrs. Edwards, the children, legitimate and otherwise, Riall and Edwards. Edwards and Riall succumbed to temptation as do most of us at some time.

However, this does not relieve us of our duty to judge and condemn their behaviour for the consequences it has brought to innocent others and as a lesson for those who will face the same temptation tomorrow. Just as King David deserved condemnation for what he did to Uriah. There is nothing new under the sun.

If there were more judgment, both publicly and privately, there might be fewer consequences to regret.

The MSM deserves judgment and condemnation also, not only for being shown up in professionalism and persistence by the NE, but for what will become an interminable wallow in what is not a personal tragedy.

Let the Edwards sort this out and deal with it privately. And never mention Mr. Edwards name again. Except, of course for all the commenters here without sin.  

By Blogger Elise, at Sat Aug 09, 11:56:00 AM:

I think the MSM was correct in not reporting the Edwards story. I took a long, hard look at the evidence for it and it came down to the claims of NE reporters and an unnamed security guard. The whole thing seemed shady because there was no video and there were not even still photos. (It now appears that NE did have photographic evidence which it decided to withhold either to keep the story largely for itself or to keep the pot boiling. However much John Edwards may have deserved that cruelty, his wife did not and neither did any of his children.)

I also think that it's a mistake to assume Edwards' 2007-2008 run for the Presidency was cruel to his wife. I find it quite plausible that she wanted him to do this. When you're pretty sure you're going to die sometime soon, it can be a great help to have something positive and time-consuming to focus on.

Finally, I think how each of us reacts to this type of tragedy varies. Certainly the men who have commented here and who were incredibly caring and loyal to their wives in horrible situations are the kind of men we'd like to see as President. Edwards behavior - the affair and the cover-up - disqualify him for consideration for political office. But I'm with TH in refusing to judge him as a human being for reacting badly in a horrendous situation.  

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