I’ve been hoping for the best for the last couple weeks about the then alleged extramarital affair between John Edwards, and filmmaker Rielle Hunter. A little part of me knew that it could be true, but the bitterness of swallowing that pill was too much to deal with until I knew for sure.
Today he came right out and admitted it, calling the affair “a serious error in judgement” and I’ve had a burning, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach all day. I supported Edwards from the very beginning. I watched him debate Cheney in 2004 and thought, “That guy should be running for president.” I was on his mailing list. I gave him money more than once. I honestly believed in not only what he had to say, but in his integrity as a human being. Sure, we didn’t see eye to eye on everything, but he was my guy…the closest to my core values. And despite the fact that I recognized the awesome historical impact of electing a woman, or an African-American to the presidency, I backed yet another southern white male because I really resonated with his message and his integrity.
This evening he came out and said, “If you want to beat me up, feel free.” Well, I’m feeling free.
First of all, the fact that he made the choice to have this little affair AFTER he had decided to run for president is just mind-boggling. Was he asleep during the Clinton years? Did he learn nothing from the blue dress? Did he not see how the media, the public, and the Republicans flayed him not only for the gross error in judgement, but for the slimy lying cover-up? No one can say he didn’t know what would happen.
What did he have to say about Clinton? “I think this president has shown a remarkable disrespect for his office, for the moral dimensions of leadership, for his friends, for his wife, for his precious daughter.” So add two more kids and a wife with cancer. Nice.
And, just for a second imagine if I and many others like me had gotten our wish. Imagine if after his strong showing in the Iowa caucuses, Edwards had started to gain, taken Super Tuesday, and became the Democratic nominee. He not only would have blown his own integrity and career, his family’s mental well-being, the trust of his entire campaign and supporters, but he entered the presidential race knowing that if he won the nomination, this ticking time bomb could go off at any moment and blow up the chances for a Democratic White House in 2008. Take this to the Nth degree, what does that say about the potential lives lost in another Republican administration hungry for war? What does it do to all the issues that progressives hold dear?
How was he willing to risk all this for a hop in the sack? My brains are bleeding.
So much for my imagined consolation prize of John Edwards, Attorney General or even John Edwards running mate.
Six months ago Edwards was one of 10 potential Democratic candidates asked to give their opinion on marital fidelity. His response: “It’s fundamental to how you judge people.” That may be the only true thing about this issue that’s come out of his mouth.