Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Edwards Affair

ABC News broke the story. The transcript of John Edwards' Nightline interview is here.

Edwards also released a full statement and Elizabeth Edwards wrote a post on the issue at Daily Kos.

I agree with Jane Hamsher on this: unless it's at odds with his voting record, a politician's private life is his business. However, outright lying and not making full disclosure while running for president is another story.

I certainly understand the anger and disappointment expressed in Neil's post and Marigold's comment below. Edwards essentially sold himself as a good bet to win and asked us to invest in him, work for him, and believe in him to beat the Republican nominee come November, knowing full well that a scandal like this could completely destroy our chances of taking back the White House.

I wish a candidate's sex life didn't matter during elections, the same way that a candidate's religion shouldn't matter. We all have feet made of clay, and this doesn't erase all the good that John Edwards has done and still continue to do. Their personal failings certainly didn't make John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. less than the great Americans they proved to be.

But the ugly truth is, it still matters, especially in this election when the stakes are too high. I can only imagine how painful this is for John and his family, especially Elizabeth, but they're not political amateurs. They can't possibly believe this wouldn't eventually come out, yet they pursued the presidency knowing what they were putting at risk. That, to me, is the biggest disappointment.


They only had two sensible choices after the affair: one, Edwards could have fessed up -- to the affair itself, no need for details -- and expressed remorse; or two, he should not have run for president. He was not the first nor the last politician to have an affair, and if he admitted it up front instead of lying about it, I don't think his future in politics is over. Eight or twelve years from now, he could run again, especially if he continues to do advocacy for the poor and the working class.

For now, his political standing is in the dumps. There is no chance of him becoming A.G. much less the Vice Presidential nominee. That is a shame, but should lay the matter to rest. Any further discussion only indulges the sleaze, because he is not running for office and because he is not the Democratic nominee for POTUS. Thank goodness.

As for John McCain who is a nominee, he who cheated on his first wife who was recovering from a near-fatal accident, divorced her and one month later married the woman he cheated her with, a man whom Ross Perot -- who paid the medical bills of McCain's first wife -- called "the classic opportunist... always reaching for attention and glory", I can only echo Digby's point:

I personally don't care who and of these people are sleeping with (especially McCain). Marriage is a very complicated institution and I don't pass judgment on how others conduct theirs. I think this is all bullshit. But if the media has decided that even a failed politician who has no chance at the presidency can be subject to this kind of scrutiny, then they need to be a little bit more vigilant about pursuing someone who is the nominee of his party and has been very publicly linked to a specific woman by the paper of record, not the National Enquirer. If these are the rules, then this guy is a far more likely subject of scrutiny than Edwards.
More reactions at Memeorandum.

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posted at 5:08:00 AM by Wonky Muse

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"It is the logic of our times
No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."

-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?


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