Friday, August 08, 2008

Edwards admits to affair

Son of mill worker got it on Hollywood style

Acknowledging a sex scandal he had dismissed as "tabloid trash" only last month, Edwards said he had told his cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth long ago, but "hoped that it would never become public." The affair took place in 2006, as Edwards was preparing to run for president.

In his statement, Edwards said, "It is inadequate to say to the people who believed in me that I am sorry, as it is inadequate to say to the people who love me that I am sorry.

"In the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic. If you want to beat me up feel free. You cannot beat me up more than I have already beaten up myself. I have been stripped bare and will now work with everything I have to help my family and others who need my help."

In her statement Friday, Elizabeth Edwards said it wasn't easy to find out about the extramarital affair in 2006. She called the affair a "terrible mistake" but said the healing process was "oddly made somewhat easier" after her diagnosis of breast cancer in March 2007.

Edwards confessed to the schtupping on ABC News and that he had lied repeatedly about the affair with 43-year-old Rielle Hunter. He admits to meeting with Hunter at the Beverly Hills Hilton last month.

Blatant editorializing

Holy shit, Batman! I always disliked and was suspicious of Edwards. But this? My god, man. Anyone who can schlep about poverty while living in a
HUGE house is pretty ego maniacal, but to hook up with your documentarian while preparing to run for president and enlisting the trust of thousands, if not potentially millions, of voters is just stupid and shameless.

I know a lot of his believers, drunk on the Two Americas Kool-Aid, will dismiss this as a private matter and irrelevant. But it does matter. He's a public figure. Integrity and honesty happen to matter when you're generating sympathy for yourself and your cause.

I've always been amazed by how many women feverishly defended Bill, after he subjected Hillary to public humiliation. It's unimaginable. And that was a case were the entire marriage could easily be imagined as sexless and calculated, run solely for ambition. Viewed in that light, I suppose both men and women could somehow find Bill's bathroom escapades with a young intern almost rote. Besides, Bill was so charming, powerful... it was inevitable.

But Edwards? He made his political name by stepping up to address poverty and becoming a voice for the powerless. He was someone they believed in and trusted. It's hard to imagine any of that in the same way when the guy cheats on his wife, who we all now remember campaigning by his side, defending him from smear attacks, all while being diagnosed with cancer. All of that while knowing he had cheated on her.

I know most politicians are just love-starved children who stray and cheat because they need another rush of power and affection. I can live with that. People enter politics for the same reason people have affairs--in the end they just love the attention too much. But when one is caught you can't help but wonder if he (it's almost always a man) has used all his followers in the same way--for the attention. What was Edward's poverty stuff all about anyway? Does he really believe it? Or is it just an itch he's happy to scratch while being applauded for doing so?

In the same way it doesn't surprise me when ministers have affairs. They too love the attention. When Ted Haggard was turned in my his male prostitute I wasn't too stunned. What stuns me is that ministers and politicians stand in front of people, bask in the glow, accept the adulation, dispense a vision, all while living a totally different type of life.

I never felt like Bill Clinton was really preaching at me. Sure, the guy had ideas, he had a vision, perhaps, for where he wanted the country to go, but he never preached at me. Edwards, sermonizes about the disparity in America, and butters his bread on the poverty issue. I find it that much harder to overlook the fact that while he's trying to do some major good, his own house is in such disorder. It's hard to reconsile how someone is trying to help the masses while humiliating his own wife. Physician heal thyself.

The only satisfaction I get out of this is it should be a dramatic and crippling end to a public career that was far more hype than substance. As a political figure Edwards has been overrated for years, wasting people's inane hero worship and devotion. And as a person he's no great shakes either. He's just another dog.

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