Ten words I thought I would never write

I am glad John Edwards is not the Democratic nominee.

A few more thoughts on this story are after the jump.

I will keep this short, because you have more important things to read. But since I started writing on the front page here as part of Jerome's "candidate blogger" experiment, and I repeatedly advocated for Edwards as the most electable candidate (e.g. here, here, and here), I want to make a few points.

In theory, my fellow pro-Edwards front-pager David Mizner is right that the sex lives of politicians are none of our business.

But in reality, politicians need to acknowledge the rules of the game, however unfair they may be.

While I still believe in the causes Edwards championed, I see no way that this affair could have been kept secret during a long campaign. If it was important to John and Elizabeth Edwards to prevent this media circus from happening, then he should have declined to run for president. Alternatively, he should have found some way of making this story old news.  

It appears that Edwards had no game plan other than to hope that Rielle Hunter wouldn't tell anyone and/or that journalists would not pursue the story as long as he denied the rumors.

As a political observer, I find that difficult to understand. As a precinct captain, I feel embarrassed to have unwittingly misled people.

Countless times I told potential caucus-goers that it would be less risky to nominate Edwards, because he's been under intense national scrutiny since 2004. Or in the words of another precinct captain I know, who used this line many times, "He's been in the spotlight for years, and the worst they can say about him is he has a big house and paid too much for a haircut."

Now I realize that the whole time, Edwards was hiding a story that would have reinforced the most devastating narrative about him.

To me, that is more disappointing than the fact that he didn't win Iowa or the nomination.

Further reflections can be found at Bleeding Heartland.

Tags: 2008 elections, adultery, Elizabeth Edwards, John Edwards, Personal (all tags)

Comments

57 Comments

Re: Ten words I thought I would never write

I know how well you thought of the guy and how relentlessly you advocated for him. I'm sorry you've had to go through this disillusionment. He hadn't been my candidate in a long, long time, but I, too, told people that he was thoroughly vetted and would be a safe choice for president.

It's sad that we have to elect humans to be president.

by glitterannebegay 2008-08-10 10:44PM | 0 recs
true, humans suck

I don't idealize any politician, but I have to say I never saw anything like this coming from Edwards.

by desmoinesdem 2008-08-11 12:04AM | 0 recs
Re: true, humans suck

Most of us didn't, so don't feel too bad.  

by yitbos96bb 2008-08-11 06:02AM | 0 recs
He's an asshole

so are Clinton and Obama -- not to mention the other side.

I expected something, and do expect something, from each of them.

It still disappoints me to be proven right.

by BlogSurrogate57 2008-08-11 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Ten words I thought I would never write

I'm sorry that you ever had to write those words. You've been a great supporter. I hope you keep using your knowledge, enthusiasm, and honesty to keep spreading the word for the good Dems out there. Your support is an asset to any campaign.

by LakersFan 2008-08-10 10:58PM | 0 recs
I've been focusing on Iowa races

since Edwards dropped out. Ed Fallon's challenge of Leonard Boswell in the Democratic primary for IA-03 didn't work out, but I am advocating on behalf of our great challengers in IA-04 and IA-05, as well as for many statehouse candidates.

by desmoinesdem 2008-08-11 12:07AM | 0 recs
Re: I've been focusing on Iowa races

Good to hear. I always enjoyed your diaries and detailed knowledge about your state. It's too bad we don't get to hear from you more often.

by LakersFan 2008-08-11 12:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Ten words I thought I would never write

It's a real shame no matter how you look at it.

I know that we belong to the same school of thought, though, the one that says it's always about the issues and candidates are just a means to an end.  It's understandable to feel bad about dedicating so much time to the Edwards campaign, but there's nothing embarrassing about fighting for the issues that matter.

I still say you could have been the one to put Mike Gravel over the top.

by Steve M 2008-08-10 10:59PM | 0 recs
thanks for your vote of confidence

I am laughing thinking about my chance of getting Gravel across the 15 percent threshold in my precinct.

I agree, though, candidates are a means to the end of pushing the right issues. I don't feel embarrassed to have made the choice I did, but I do wish I hadn't assumed that there wouldn't be any significant new dirt for the Republicans to dig up.

by desmoinesdem 2008-08-11 12:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Ten words I thought I would never write

DMD, I thought of you immediately when I heard the story break.   Damn, it's tough.  As much as I admire Bill Clinton, I still have a sense of betrayal about Monica and wonder if I'd have the guts to chew him out in passing if I ever had five minutes with him alone.

by InigoMontoya 2008-08-10 10:59PM | 0 recs
I try not to judge

but it's hard not to when all Democrats end up paying the price for the politician's screwups.

The Monica affair imposed a huge opportunity cost. But in fairness to Bill, he got elected despite public knowledge of infidelities, so I can see how he would think he would get away with it again.

by desmoinesdem 2008-08-11 12:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Ten words I thought I would never write

Let's see. Edwards cheated  on his wife. BUt he has stuck by her in her time of need. But humans have desires too. Weaknesses. I don't have to get explicit. BUt considering all her cancer treatments, just think to yourself what their intimate life was like in recent years.

COntrast that to McCain. McCain was shocked when his wife's apperance changed because of her car injuries. His wife, while not thrilled with his affairs, preferred to stay married to him. Instead, he just dumped her abruptly despite the fact that she stood by him while he was a POV for all that time.

Which is worse? McCain cheated on his wife with many women AND dumped her unceremoniously. Edwards is trying to work it out with his family.

We need to grow up as a nation. Infidelity is obviously not something to be disregarded in a marriage, but it is given way too undue importance. Many people cheat but are in denial about its prevalence. People break the marriage contract in many ways. Many husbands can be control freaks. They can be aloof in a marriage. They can let themselves go and not care about the wives needs. Who cares if such people are faithful. We never question wives who put up with such husbands. Why would Elizabeth be a fool or calculating woman(as indicated by some) to stand by her husband?

by Pravin 2008-08-10 11:12PM | 0 recs
I don't disagree with what you write

But obviously, there is a double-standard that imposes a greater punishment for cheating-while-being-a-Democrat.

McCain will continue to get a pass, as did Newt.

by desmoinesdem 2008-08-10 11:38PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't disagree with what you write

due respect, your head is still in the sand. edwards' affair and pious denials and hardball coverup is of a piece with his entire political persona: sanctimonious and phony to an extreme, and entirely without a soul. the fact that you mistook his agreeing with you on issues with him being a viable political candidate is on your political judgment -- very few others made that mistake.

there's no double standard here in terms of affairs. affairs happen. but when they happen to people who denounce them in others (per Edwards on Clinton), celebrate and invite personal behavior as relevant to judging a politician (as Edwards did to Kouric), when they happen to people who are a husband to a woman with life-threatening cancer (just how low is that?), when he doesn't fess up but instead tries to blame the messenger, and when he continues to engage in a very obvious cover-up (we know of whom I speak)....then all that is very very different than McCain, Clinton, Barney Frank, Spitzer, et al. I could care less about the affairs all of the above had -- GOP or Dem -- but for Edwards it's just confirmation that the guy is the phoniest, most plastic, most soulless politician of our generation.  

by CalDem 2008-08-11 04:45AM | 0 recs
With all "due respect"

respect is the last thing you usually demonstrate with your "pro-Hillary, screw everyone else" posts.

His biggest sin in your book is that he is not Hillary. In fact, that seems to be everyone's biggest sin. That or they didn't believe that Hillary walks on water.

I am just as disappointed in Edwards, As I was with Pres Clinton. Your sanctimonious ranting only saddens me that you have more passion against fellow dems than you do with McSame.

by IowaMike 2008-08-11 06:38AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't disagree with what you write

The fact that Elizabeth Edwards has cancer is all the more reason why he probably had an affair to have a sexual outlet. People may find it selfish of a spouse to have an affair when the other spouse is suffering. But isn't it selfish of the other spouse to mandate that the other spouse remain celibate or nearly sexless while they are undergoing treatment over a long period opf time? Sexual desire has little to do with love. The thing is you do not know for sure. I will grant you that the other criticisms of Edwards are valid.

by Pravin 2008-08-11 04:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Ten words I thought I would never write

You can justify anything - please don't try in this case you sound like a righty. I do agree nothing is black and white however this one is pretty clear. The very thing you list is what makes this appalling, he had a sick wife who even through all that got out and tried to make his dream happen.

For him to cheat on his sick wife of 30 years and then be arrogant enough to run for President and expect no one to find out is mind boggling.

Do I think this makes John an awful person with the worst intentions being described at every corner - no but when you hold yourself to a higher standard and then completely undercut said standard the is a steep price to pay. I expect more from my party - If I wanted this kind of nonsense I would be a GOP fool and move to LA to vote for Vitter.

I should have listened to the Obama people and sent my 600 bucks to them vs Edwards.

by jeremylreed 2008-08-11 08:24AM | 0 recs
...just think about what Obama is hiding

(NOT that  i know anything, myself).

but I do know what Clinton was hiding... and can extrapolate...

to wit:
Child Molester volunteers for Obama. [don't quote me on that one. but it could happen]

by BlogSurrogate57 2008-08-11 09:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Ten words I thought I would never write

This whole "affair is worse because of his sick wife" thing is actually upside down.

I wonder if your wife became sick and chemotherapy drained her, she let herself go, and for some reason your sexual desire for her goes down, would you remain sexless for the rest of your life? Maybe an occasional affair will help save a marriage so the couple can focus on real love rather than be frustrated by changes in the sexual dynamic. You can't force someone to keep being attracted to someone who gets really fat over time. Now if Elizabeth doesnt want to handle it, that is her prerogative. Not yours. if she feels like she is better off staying with John despite an affair over divorcing and starting all over again, that is her life. She probably has more support in her life than what happened to McCain's first wife whbo was dumped abruptly.

If I have prostate cancer, and viagra can't help me, trust me. If I still love my wife, I would ask her to have an occasional affair rather than spoil our marriage with a declining sex life.

by Pravin 2008-08-11 04:22PM | 0 recs
I don' t want you near my family.

by joliepoint 2008-08-11 10:42AM | 0 recs
Re: I don' t want you near my family.

Real mature. I don't think I would want someone like you on a blog where people actually like to discuss ideas. For the record, I am no Edwards supporter though I was impressed by his improvement regarding the Iraq war during this campaign cycle.

It is easy to go all moralistic on people when you do not have the same circumstances. I only judge Edwards on straightforward things like campaign misuse of funds.  He should have used his own money to pay off that lady instead of hiding behind campaign stuff.

by Pravin 2008-08-11 04:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Ten words I thought I would never write

I will tell you what does bother me. I saw an article on his friend who paid off the stupid twit(no, i am not being sexist here. Take a look at her profile by a newsweek writer who interacted a lot with her).

THis friend made a fortune with asbestos claims and seemed to be in it for the money part. His lifestyle indicated that too. Do we really believe Edwards had no idea this lady was getting paid off? And now this lady is saying she wont get a paternity test? I am sorry. BUt what a bitch. No kid should have to go through life wondering who his or her parent is. SHe is clearly doing it to cover for Edwards. Shame on Edwards for this charade of submitting to a paternity test. I wish there was a law forcing a mother to name the father unless there are extenuating circumstances(like an assault by an unknown person).

I find that more offensive. But I am sick of DEmocrats having to feel they have to lose out on weakneeses displayed by our candidates when the other candidate displays the same and to a greater degree(mCcain's cheating).

by Pravin 2008-08-10 11:17PM | 0 recs
I am keeping an eye on the money angle

as well. I also find it hard to believe that Edwards would not have known his friend was paying her off.

When the story broke I assumed that the affair started when she was filming the documentaries. If it turns out that she was hired to film the documentaries because they were already having an affair, that introduces a whole new set of problems.

by desmoinesdem 2008-08-10 11:34PM | 0 recs
she don't know ducky about the father

I'm fucking sorry, but where do you fucking get off FORCING women to talk about how many people they were boinking -- and FORCING them to take a paternity test.

What would you have said had Quayle said something like that about Murphy Brown?

by BlogSurrogate57 2008-08-11 09:54AM | 0 recs
Re: she don't know ducky about the father

A woman has every right to boink how many people she wants. But the kid has a fucking right to know who his or her dad is. Dan Quayle's point was not exactly that.

Let's see. The government can prevent us from taking pot or coke. But then they can't force us to divulge who our kids other parent is? Seriously, that is the height of selfishness. There are responsibilities with having a kid. THis is one of them.

Anyway, it is obvious the lady and Edwards are playing a game with the press. Do you seriously think she would refuse a paternity test if Edwards hasn't made some kind of arrangements to take care of her? Look at her history. She is not exactly a simple living within her means kind of woman.

by Pravin 2008-08-11 04:12PM | 0 recs
yeah, that is totally a press game

but if -- to take a hypothetical -- that woman was the type to have one night stands with many different guys... Should she have to track down them all for a paternity test?

I understand that isn't exactly the case here, but...

BTW, edwards if he was using protection, could quite truthfully say that he didn't get her pregnant.

She could be protecting someone else.

by BlogSurrogate57 2008-08-12 04:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Ten words I thought I would never write

Edwards voted in the Senate to send uncounted thousands to their deaths and untold billions down the drain -- but it took a sex lie to cause disillusionment with him?

Whatever.

But his cynical political career ended in an appropriately manipulative fashion -- a Friday afternoon news dump on the day the Olympics started.

by Glaurung 2008-08-10 11:29PM | 0 recs
he admitted he was wrong

to vote for the AUMF and was one of only 12 senators to vote against the first Iraq War supplemental funding bill (the $87 billion) in March 2004.

Many other senators continued to sign blank checks for Bush's war.

That said, I think most politicians are cynical in some ways. No candidate is perfect.

by desmoinesdem 2008-08-10 11:36PM | 0 recs
Re: he admitted he was wrong

After advising Kerry NOT to.

You can stop apologizing for him -- and the others -- now.

by Glaurung 2008-08-10 11:43PM | 0 recs
he's an asshole

you expected him to give different advice than he was taking?

I'm pretty sure he was prowar in 2004. or have you forgotten?

by BlogSurrogate57 2008-08-11 09:55AM | 0 recs
Re: he's an asshole

I remember ever cynical ploy and bushevik vote by Edwards.

by Glaurung 2008-08-11 10:34AM | 0 recs
I can only assume

that you don't apologize for Barack Obama, who campaigned for the Senate saying he wouldn't have voted for the $87 billion, then turned around and voted for several Iraq War supplemental funding bills.

We all have our own deal-breakers.

by desmoinesdem 2008-08-11 12:12AM | 0 recs
Re: I can only assume

I'll take the guy who doesn't cheat on his wife.

by parahammer 2008-08-11 12:15AM | 0 recs
watch what you say

Clinton, Hart, Kennedy, there is a long line there....

by IowaMike 2008-08-11 06:43AM | 0 recs
Re: I can only assume

So, you are fighting hard against McSame, right?

by IowaMike 2008-08-11 06:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Ten words I thought I would never write

Look, in fairness, he'd have never gotten caught if he'd never visited her. He'd have not visited her if he hadn't lost the nomination (and probably was sure he wasn't getting VP). So I don't think it's all that fair to assume that they couldn't have kept this hidden.

by vcalzone 2008-08-11 12:47AM | 0 recs
The republicans already knew about this

hell, I know a little birdy who had the inside scoop on this one.

this is politics. it was just waiting for October.

by BlogSurrogate57 2008-08-11 09:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Ten words I thought I would never write

I don't think anyone that supported Edwards should feel even a whiff of responsibility for his irresponsible behavior. Politicians are humans, and they fail like others, but not usually in this high of a profile with this terrible of an action.

Anyway, this seemed like a really bad slippery slope. When the initial story broke, I got strong denials from the campaign and Hunter's lawyers that it was John Edwards child. I never thought to ask the follow-up, "ok then, but did he have sex with her regardless?" Ha!

Well, he's not the nominee, so no harm, as far as I'm concerned.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-08-11 01:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Ten words I thought I would never write

Read that statement again that they sent you:

"The innuendoes and lies that have appeared on the internet and in the National Enquirer concerning John Edwards are not true, completely unfounded and ridiculous.

My video production company was hired by the Edwards camp on a 6 month contract, which we completed December 31, 2006.

When working for the Edwards camp, my conduct as well as the conduct of my entire team was completely professional.

This concocted story is just dirty politics and I want no part of it."

Every word of it could be true, depending on how you parse "when working".

by Adam B 2008-08-11 06:58AM | 0 recs
maybe no harm for you

but in a few weeks, I'll be door-knocking for Jerry Sullivan, candidate for Iowa House district 59. I'll be contacting many of the same people I contacted several times on behalf of Edwards.

I can only hope that my past advocacy doesn't discredit me with the people Sullivan needs this November.

by desmoinesdem 2008-08-11 07:17AM | 0 recs
Defenders

of Edwards seem completely unaware of the effect it has on those who supported him.

A friend of mine is a delegate from New Hampshire: he found out when the Boston Globe called him for a quote on Friday.  He is in politics - he holds elected office - and there is no doubt he is ashamed of the connection.

by fladem 2008-08-11 10:30AM | 0 recs
No Kidding!!!

Just think if had ended up being the nominee.  We'd be so screwed right now.  I think it says alot about who this man is that he continued to run for President after this.

I wasn't for him this year, but respected him.  Now, he's no better than Newt Gingrich in my eyes.

by chewie5656 2008-08-11 03:33AM | 0 recs
Re: No Kidding!!!

or CLinton, Hart, Kennedy?

Any dem that was an asswad that cheated on his wife is still better than newt.

by IowaMike 2008-08-11 06:46AM | 0 recs
I could not agree more<nt>

by fladem 2008-08-11 05:05AM | 0 recs
all had flaws, all were dishonest

Lets examine the rest of the nominees this year.

Obama- Close friend with Rezko for over ten years. Obama has never been honest and has lied about his relationship with Rezko. Rezko is friends with Iraqi Banker Auchi who was close to Saddam Hussein. The Sun Times reporterd numerous times that both Barack and Michelle attended a party at Rezko's house honering Auchi. Michelle even toasted him. So far this has not come up in the media. I'm guessing that after Obama officially gets the nomination, the MSM will bring it up.  Will it destroy Obama's chances in November? Definetly. Of course, it could be innoncent but why have Obama avoided talking about it?

Clinton- Bill has close ties to Colombian trade deals. Bill's donors to his library include several Saudi Arabians who also supporterd terroism.

Edwards- Lied repeatedly about an affair. Who hasn't lied about sex.

Dodd- Deal with Country Wide.

Biden- Plagerism scandal of '88

Richardson - cheats on his wife.

Any of these scandals, could destroy the democratic party in November?

by harmony590 2008-08-11 05:08AM | 0 recs
Re: all had flaws, all were dishonest

I am sorry but you go too far here.  This sounds troll-o-licious trying to promote all sorts of smears of ever major Democratic candidate (many of which are irrelevant, pointless, and/or dated) and ignores the fact that the Repubs this cycle were not even approaching clean.

Not only are they wrong on the issues there are a plethora of scandals and immoralities to point to of each and every one of them.  And you feel the need to point out minor or insignificat rightwing smear jobs.

Sickening.

oh and btw, if we are going to make this election a guilt by association reference look at their man John McBush, and his legion of lobbyists who are linked to all sorts of trash.

If I hear the name Rezko come out of your comments or blog again I will summarily hide rate you and call you out.

by Why Not 2008-08-11 06:23AM | 0 recs
trollrated for smearing dodd

... that was unnecessary.

by BlogSurrogate57 2008-08-11 09:59AM | 0 recs
You have a right to be mad at him.

He let his supporters down.

by Bush Bites 2008-08-11 05:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Ten words I thought I would never write

What a letdown, especially after all the media made of his relationship with Elizabeth when she was diagnosed. He just stood by and let them paint him as a devoted family man. I'm so disappointed.

by chaosrob 2008-08-11 07:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Ten words I thought I would never write

Rather than focus on hypothetical outcomes (if he were the nominee), why not focus on the actual outcome? Edwards lost, but he was a great issue advocate and his presence put pressure on the frontrunners to go on the record with more progressive stances than they would have if he hadn't been in the race. These issues remain even if Edwards' political future is toast.

http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank /archive/2008/01/30/why-john-edwards-won .aspx

As for loss of credibility in campaigning, I hope that the people you come in contact with aren't going to hold you to an impossible standard. You did the best you could with the information you had.

by Mobar 2008-08-11 08:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Ten words I thought I would never write

Man I had to scrape the Edwards bumper stickers off my car this weekend it bloody sucked. It was much worse than taking the Kerry / Edwards sticker off. So disappointed I thought my wife was going to be sick.

by jeremylreed 2008-08-11 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Ten words I thought I would never write

Just put up your Obama sticker and it will be all right.  There is no sense in beating yourself up for supporting him when the truth was hidden.  And, there is no sense in leaving behind the important issues of the campaign just because Edwards and co did not come clean.

There are more important things facing the people of this country than whether a former candidate had an affair and lied about it.  It is probably best not to lose sight of this.

by Why Not 2008-08-11 09:03AM | 0 recs
I've been putting that off

but it will have to happen soon. I liked keeping the Edwards sticker on, because I felt it communicated the kind of Democrat I am.

I don't care to put an Obama sticker on my car, and the Iowa House candidate I'm supporting isn't going to print bumper stickers. So I've got some space on my Prius for a new sticker, if anyone has any bright ideas.

by desmoinesdem 2008-08-11 09:27AM | 0 recs
Re: I've been putting that off

You could go retro and put up a Modale bumper sticker, or at least try to stay relevant and put some McCain = Bush, or a "McCain older than God" sticker.

by Why Not 2008-08-11 10:33AM | 0 recs
Mondale sticker on a Prius

I like it.

Right now I have a "Buy organic, fair trade and local" sticker on there. Maybe I'll replace the Edwards sticker with some other non-election advocacy thing.

by desmoinesdem 2008-08-11 03:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Ten words I thought I would never write

DMD,
        I was angry when I first heard the news, but kept quiet, I didn't want to respond out of anger.
        JE ran the campaign we liberals wanted as he lied to us all. There are human failings amongst us all; but as a candidate for president he tried to inspire us knowing he did so with a secret.
       We know republicans turn aside the poor moral behavior of their candidates with so much as blinking. I'm glad we're different.
       I do feel betrayed. I expect more from a candidate for the  nomination of president than I do of others. I expected better of JE.

     

by bmelz 2008-08-11 04:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Ten words I thought I would never write

You were among the most cogent, dedicated voices in Edwards' cause throughout the primary and your response is appropriate.  As you said, supporting Edwards indicated what 'kind of Democrat you are,' and that is a very admirable one indeed.  At the end of the day the worst criticism of the man as politician is that what he did, irrespective of personal privacy and character, was very bad politics.  And he let his supporters down as a consequence.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-08-12 02:23AM | 0 recs

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