I cannot get enough of the Edwards saga – and, lucky for me, this will be a story that keeps on giving. While John’s career is pretty much toast, the media will continue to minitor for noteworthy developments in their lives and each one will again propell this jaw-dropping scandal to the public forefront.
Events that will bring the story back from faded obscurity: results of a paternity test of Rielle Hunter’s child, a decision by Rielle Hunter to capitalize on her infamy with a book or Lifetime movie, and any slightest deterioriation in Elizabeth Edward’s health. Little does John know – or maybe he does – that any progress he might accomplish in the rehabilitation of his reputation will immediately be snuffed upon the death of Elizabeth. When her life is finally extinguished and public sympathy for her reaches maximum peak, no mind will be distracted from John’s infedelities as the story is replayed over and over between commercial breaks. John’s misdeeds will have earned him an upteenth, inescapable tar and feathering. I bet he often thinks, If I could only undo the past….
Elizabeth’s interview on Oprah last week was heartbreaking, I have to say. Her desciption and defense of the life she built was captivating, to say the least. That one hussy, combined with her husband’s ginormous ego could tear it all apart was gut-wrenching.
But, she does not deserve all my sympathy. First of all, I was never a John Edwards fan. There is a blatant inauthenticity to him, that slippery-eel lawyer quality, that made my husband and I blanch at the the fact he was chosen by John Kerry as his 2004 running mate. Afterward, John’s championing of the poor was such an overtly strategic political move, with no heart behind it, I found it galling that so many were duped by the accent and the smile. Even the Bush administration referred to him as the Breck girl (ref. Dead Certain, by Robert Draper). It was so clearly fake, I had a hard time watching him. And reports of his split personality emerged during the campaign – on-camera John was friendly and warm, whereas off-camera John was cold and snobby – seemed to square with my gut reactions to his appearances.
It did not suprise me in the least that he had cheated on his wife. The jeopardy, however, in which he placed the 2008 election – the most important of my generation – was and is unforgivable. He would never have obtained the nomination, but the possibility dangles in our hindsight as a frightening reminder that politicians are a tricky bunch.
Elizabeth Edwards says to pull out of the race would have been to create an unnecessary drama, so they opted to stay in after she knew of his philandering. She deserves outrage for allowing this potentially nuclear charade to continue. Shame on her. She aided and abetted this lying, this performance at a time when we desperately needed responsible real deals. The sham they paraded was politically criminal. That they would put the interests of themselves – or even their wealthy family – over those of the country is dispicable, even now. Elizabeth Edwards told Oprah women should support each other. How was she supporting our half of the population by helping her husband possibly torpedo the election and allow McCain (no on domestic violence bill, no on equal bay bill) to win? She doesn’t care about the rest of us girls at all. It is a shame she has cancer, but she was not an innocent bystander, she was a willing participant and perpetuator and I wouldn’t purchase a book of hers regardless of the level of juicy details she seeks to peddle.
She said on Today this morning that John made one mistake. One mistake. Bullshit. Utter nonsense. His boning of the ugly lady was a mistake, his political chicanery was far worse. He won’t even stand up and be a proper father to the child he helped create.
And until both Edwardses admit and take responsibility for their culpability to their supporters and the American people, no tell-alls, no speeches about poverty, no Larry King interviews will put them back in the good graces of the millions of us to whom this unforgettable lapse in judgment mattered in the first place.