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    August 11, 2008

    The eruption of Edwards, the bimbo

    Posted by: Chris

    Since my earlier comment on the John Edwards bimbo eruption was limited to how the media has been covering it, I wanted to offer a few thoughts on the bimbo himself -- that would be Edwards, not his blonde IED.

    The revelation that the former North Carolina senator and vice presidential candidate had cheated on his cancer-stricken wife -- whether in remission or no -- was not particularly telling. But the fact that he lied about it, when his own past moralisms on the subject came back to haunt -- now that confirmed my impression of the man since he first appeared on the national political scene some five years ago.

    He was, is and will be a fake -- and almost transparently so, at least for those of us who are fellow-travelers professionally -- not just as lawyers, but as litigators. We've all seen the type, especially representing plaintiffs for exorbitant contingency fees. They are masters at adopting the angst of their clients, making their David vs. Goliath cause his own.

    Substitute voters for juries, and the cause of "two Americas" or "the poor" for that of the plaintiff, and ouila -- you have a John Edwards, the politician. I consistently underestimated his appeal because he was so familiar and so transparent to me, but then again quite a few very smart Democrats were blinded a bit by their own desperate desire for a win at the presidential level. A smooth-talking, Southern white politician in the Bill Clinton mold was just too much to resist.

    While we don't know, at this point, whether Edwards' bimbo eruptions were as frequent as Bill's, it strains credulity to imagine he got busted on the one and only time in 30 years that he strayed. But as I said, it wasn't the straying itself that confirmed Edwards was a fake. It was the way he is trying to play us, even after he got caught.

    I can't put it any better than Eve Fairbanks from TNR, who ticked off quite the chit-list:

    • He used campaign donations to pay his mistress $114,000 for web videos that were hardly ever used.
    • He lied repeatedly about the affair to the public.
    • He showed zero concern for the Democratic Party by trying to sell himself as its commander while he knew he was secretly holding a live grenade.
    • He made his closest political ally--Elizabeth--complicit in his lies and muddied her reputation.
    • He--to use a very generous interpretation of events--showed zero curiosity about some very curious things intimately related to his life, namely, why his campaign finance chief paid his mistress $15,000 a month and why a top campaign aide fathered his own ex-mistress's child.
    • He gave a bizarre, creepy, lawyerly response to the straightforward question of whether a National Enquirer photograph showed him holding his ex-mistress's baby.
    • And he went on TV and tried to make his own personal mess into a teachable moment for America, launching into a treacly morality tale about how fame turned the head of a Small Town Boy and insisting that people would forgive him because he's "imperfect"--a sanctimonious, unapologetic word that implies that those who hoped for anything different from him were asking for the impossible, perfection.

    Amen. And good riddance.



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    1. Tim on Aug 12, 2008 12:12:27 PM:

      I've always been confused by his political chances as well. His obvious gimmicks and lies seemed to ring true to an uncomfortable number of people.

      Though i have to laugh at the Clinton supporters that feel cheated because he didn't admit his affair. Honestly Have they forgotten Bill's legacy so quickly?

    1. Susan in Iowa on Aug 13, 2008 12:23:29 AM:

      I met both of them in Iowa. He never drew me to him, although people in my caucus would have done anything for him. He did seem fake, and I couldn't figure out how he got a woman like Elizabeth, whom I admired and happily stood for a photo with. Now it seems as though ambition had both of them. I was much more disappointed in her for allowing him to run, than in him for having the hubris to think he could get away with it. If she had said: run and I will not stand up with you, that might have been the end of it. The Democrats dodged a big bullet with this one.

    1. Susan in Iowa on Aug 14, 2008 1:14:37 PM:

      You would have to ask them, not me. She was pretty much my last choice, for policy and other reasons.

      I was a Biden delegate to my county convention, went to the district and state conventions for Obama. Am now trying to help him get elected (at the precinct level), and doing what I can to help Rob Hubler defeat the odious and bigoted Steve King in Iowa 5.

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