Friday, August 15, 2008

So what about John Edwards?

Interestingly enough, the Edwards Infidelity has become a topic of conversation around the house lately (or it was before Olympic swimming started.) It's interesting in part because my husband usually saves his condemnation for world leaders (and guys like W), economists and the ignorant offspring of suburban Republicans. He has to go out of his way to get down on someone else's relational issue, a moral one albeit, even if the headliner is a man some considered VP material for Obama.

I find myself in the uncomfortable position of having to prevaricate somewhat. Is it wrong, what he did? Yes. And I find Edwards' actions pathetically self-destructive, considering the likelihood of a political figure getting caught at this -- cheating on your taxes is the only surer way of being shot down (sorry Franken.) And yet, I'm not certain it's any worse to cheat on your wife when she has cancer -- it makes her even more sympathetic in the public eye, of course, unless we find out she has actually cheated on John as well -- but either way it's a crappy situation. In this case, Elizabeth Edwards' cancer was already being used against her husband -- despite her endorsements, many people felt he was wrong to campaign as her prognosis became less optimistic. This just confirms the rather well-crafted depiction of Edwards as a heartless festering cad, particularly in the eyes of embittered Hillary supporters who might have been asked to vote for him as part of the team. I think the set-up that exposed him was a cynical action on multiple levels, and the media blitz is pure election-year opportunism (guys in the House and Senate get caught cheating all the time, and men are generally singled out for attention on this matter more than women, though there's no evidence that men are more likely to cheat.)

Again, was he wrong to do it? Yes. But like Hillary, I'd bet Elizabeth could leave him if she wanted to -- and cancer or not, I don't think she will. Maybe she has good reasons. And how did I miss the statement of support and wry wisdom Hillary could have proferred at this moment? In Hill's calculations perhaps there simply wasn't anything to be said that could benefit Hillary. Cover probably looks best to the Clintons just now. In Elizabeth's position, any fury I felt would find plenty of easy targets -- it's John's mistake, but we're a good nation of lazy finger-pointers, eager to judge, leaning into the colliseum to enjoy a media beheading.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I doubt Hillery was giving Elizabeth any comfort. She was too busy fuming. Because if the national news outlets had looked into the accusations of infidelity against John Edwards the way they looked into the McCain accusations. (totally false in McCains case) Edwards would have dropped out of the race sooner and she would have one Iowa or Ohio or one of the early states that would have given her more momentum and she would have beat Obama.

Working from home today.