by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
August 17, 2008
A JOHN EDWARDS SERENADE
DUMMERSTON, Vt. - You've got to love John Edwards; he's the gift that keeps on giving.
How many ways can we, as a nation, score points off the former senator, vice president and presidential candidate? Let me count the ways.
First, he cheated on his lovely wife Elizabeth, who was far better suited to be president than he was. While she was struggling with cancer. With a woman known to be a total flake. Whose baby he may have sired. Who was receiving money from him. As far as scandal goes, can it get any better than this?
Then there's the moral lesson we learn (again and again and again): power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Or, as Edwards said about being a U.S. Senator, you develop "a narcissism that leads you to believe you can do whatever you want, you're invincible, and there will be no consequences." So it's not his fault; it's the voters' fault for sending him to Congress.
Then there's the Hillary connection. Or rather, the lack of the connection between Hillary Clinton and the 2008 presidential election. If Edwards had been caught before the primary season began, and he had to leave the race, then who knows? With the token white guy out, Hillary's campaign might have taken off. There she goes again, down to defeat at the hands (or a sexier body part) of a cheating man.
Then there's the McCain connection. What if Edwards had, by some strange twist of fate, received the nomination? And then it came out that he, too, had a zipper problem? John McCain's campaign is currently throwing every bit of dirt (or imagined dirt) it can scrape off the ground against Barack Obama to see if any of it sticks. He's a celebrity like Britney and Paris. He's an elitist who vacations in Hawaii instead of in an RV. He's a black man. He's not black enough. White women love him. Whatever their tiny rancid little minds can think of. A Democratic presidential candidate with a love child? McCain would have won, and then we'd all have to move to Canada.
Then there's the part about bilking the people who were contributing to what they thought was an antipoverty campaign. Over the course of nine months, it appears, Edwards spent more than $114,000 of the One America Committee's budget on Hunter's films. And Hunter had little previous film experience.
Then there's the moralizing. I read somewhere that Democrats cheat on their wives with other women and Republicans cheat on their wives with other men. It's been a banner era for cheating, what with Larry Craig, James McGreevey, Rudy Giuliani, Eliot Spitzer and now John Edwards. But it's not true that Republicans only cheat with other men. Remember, both Newt Gingrich and - gasp! - John McCain himself, cheated on and then dumped their then-ailing wives.
Then there's the mainstream media, often called the MSM. Some of the high-paid reporters and editors who pass for journalists these days knew about Rielle Hunter maybe two years ago. They didn't bother to tell us. Then the National Enquirer - Ew! A supermarket tabloid! - broke the story. (Although, to give credit where it isn't due, in 2006 the Enquirer ran a false story about Ted Kennedy's love child.)
Once the Enquirer broke the Edwards story, the MSM dodged it until the blogosphere made enough of a wave to force the issue. (Did I hear you say it's a private matter? Edwards was probably going to be a highlight speaker at the Democratic Convention, and he was being mentioned frequently as the Attorney General in an Obama Administration.) Then the MSM covered the story like a blanket. Then they wrote a lot of stories about why they hadn't covered the story in the first place.
In other words, the MSM, on which our democracy depends, acted like the craven wimps they really are. Remember, the MSM gave us the WMD.
Then there's the loss of John Edwards in politics - the only one who supposedly cared for the poor and disenfranchised. Some of us didn't buy it from the beginning. With the love of self he displayed in front of the cameras, plus his fortune and his private jet, concern for working Americans was clearly just clever marketing. (Still, it did touch a chord among progressive Democrats, and put health care reform on the platform; maybe Obama will get the message.)
Then there are the sanctity-of-marriage people who can't condone adultery. Okay, maybe the rich and titled are different from you and me - they marry for dynastic purposes, or for show, and then the men go out with sluts and the women hump the gardeners. Or the movie stars, who marry for looks or to cover up the fact that they're gay. But most of us prefer our husbands to be loving and faithful - or, at the very least, around. Edwards' excuse? He may have slept with Hunter, but he didn't love her. Oh. That makes it all okay.
Then there are the many women experiencing déjà vu - they, too, once fell in love with a pretty boy and learned they couldn't compete with the image in the mirror. Now America, brokenhearted, sits by the phone, waiting for him to call.
These are the dog days of summer, when everyone is on vacation. There's lots of news around - the faltering economy, the no-bid corporate corruption in Iraq, the people dying in Georgia, Iraq and Afghanistan - but it's all depressing and we can't do anything about it, anyway.
But John Edwards, bless him, has held up a mirror to our society and lets us see the face of hypocrisy - yet again.
A collection of Joyce Marcel's columns, "A Thousand Words or Less," is available through joycemarcel.com. And write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.