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On John Edwards’ Indiscretion & his Poor Judgment

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 1:18 am - August 9, 2008.
Filed under: Democratic Scandals,Media Bias,National Politics

I really didn’t think I would have much to say on former Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee John Edwards’ recent admission that he lied about an extra-marital affair.  But, I decided to weigh in because it seems (to me at least) many who have already written about the story have only gotten half of it.  And upon learning (from my sister-in-law) of a comment he made to ABC News which I relate at the end of the post.

I agree in part with Glenn Reynolds, “the real story is how the mainstream press, despite knowing or strongly suspecting that he was lying, covered for him.” There is, however, more to it than that.

Given that the Edwards told his wife of his indiscretion, admitted he “made a very serious mistake” and asked her and God for forgiveness and apparently ended the affair, the story should be irrelevant to our political discourse, no more than fodder for the tabloids.  It is, after all, primarily a matter between the former Senator and his wife.

What makes this an issue is not just that the North Carolina Democrat lied about it.  It also raises the question of this man’s judgment and the image he created of himself, especially as Democratic nominee Barack Obama is considering him as a potential running mate**–or, should he win election, a member of his cabinet.

First, to the matter of Edwards’ judgment: what does it say about a candidate who, in the era of the Internet and in the wake of Bill Clinton’s indiscretions*, harbors national political ambitions and engages in an extra-marital liaison?  He should knows it could be made public should just one prominent blogger gets wind of it, even if, as in this case, the MSM tries to ignore it.

As Ann Althouse put it:

What a selfish bastard — to run for the nomination while parading his cancerous wife about and knowing that if he won this story could have come out at any time . . .

Second, to the image he created of himself.  As Lee Stranahan of the Huffington Post put it, Edwards and his wife “made a conscious decision to make their relationship a focus throughout the campaign” (via Kaus via Instapundit).  He presented himself as a loving husband, concerned about his wife’s health and committed to their marriage.  He even “made a point of telling [ABC reporter Bob] Woodruff that his wife’s cancer was in remission when he began the affair.

He knew this could compromise the image he was trying to cultivate of a caring spouse.  That he would say this is particularly revealing, as if he’s still trying to preserve the image he created last year.  As if it somehow makes him a better person because he only cheated when his wife was in remission.

Under normal circumstances, a man’s past indiscretions should be a matter for himself and his wife.  And not the news media — or the blogosphere.  

But, when the man in question enters into this relationship while pursuing higher political office, his actions calls into question his judgment, an aspect of his executive abilities.  Not just that, what does he say about a man that he would pursue higher office by holding himself up as a devoted husband while betraying one of the fundamental principles of matrimony?

Related:  Eliot Spitzer, Larry Craig, Sex and Circumstance

An Innocent Game of Footsie?

*UPDATE: Nine years ago, Edwards weighed in on Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky: “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.” That he would say this only confirms my point about his judgment. He was aware of the consequences of infidelity for a political figure.

**UP-UPDATE: Perhaps I should have said Edwards is positioning himself for the vice presidential nod or position in Obama’s cabinet should that Democrat win election this fall.

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78 Comments

  1. #43/44 Im having the same problems with the spam filter and my post was funny dammit! of course, now that ive posted it twice and caled it out, if it ever shows up it wont be funny anymore.

    Comment by American Elephant — August 10, 2008 @ 9:22 pm - August 10, 2008

  2. Wrong, Pat. These issues aren’t nearly as complicated as you and the MSM are trying to pretend they are.

    Sean, if you think that the issue is simple, then we’ll have to disagree. I think it does make a difference if we’re talking about a one-time discretion or an ongoing affair and/or indiscretions, if it happened recently or long ago, and what the spouse has forgiven and/or permitted (which in many cases, we don’t know, because it’s not our business). But also, how has the candidate conducted himself publicly about his marriage and what is he advocating or insisting the rest of us are doing. For example, Edwards touted himself as a devoted husband, while he was cheating on her during her illness. There are many issues involving candidate’s extramarital affairs that I don’t believe it as simple as you make it out to be.

    If it was as simple, then how come the MSM (who you contend is biased against Republicans) has put so much more attention on an affair by a Democrat who left the race months ago, than the Republican nominee’s affair?

    Comment by Pat — August 11, 2008 @ 8:53 am - August 11, 2008

  3. Divorce doesn’t bother me, when the people are ill-matched and probably should divorce. Adultery doesn’t bother me, when the preceding applies and it’s a serious passion, ending in a new marriage. Phoniness does bother me. If you can show that McCain is a phony because he has since cheated in Cindy, then do it. Otherwise, cut the crap.

    ILC, I agree with all the points here except your second sentence above. I believe that if a couple does find that they are no longer suited for each other and they want to divorce, that’s fine. But if the condition of the marriage is such that one choose to have an affair, the divorce, or at least the proceedings, should happen first.

    Comment by Pat — August 11, 2008 @ 8:59 am - August 11, 2008

  4. spam filter hates me too, guys.

    Personally, I couldn’t stand Edwards before, so this does little to change my opinion of him. A coward who will hide behind anyone to benefit himself.

    Comment by The Livewire — August 11, 2008 @ 10:51 am - August 11, 2008

  5. But if the condition of the marriage is such that one choose to have an affair, the divorce, or at least the proceedings, should happen first.

    Agree 100%. And you know what else should happen? Women should get married before having a baby. Doesn’t always work out that way, eh?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 11, 2008 @ 11:16 am - August 11, 2008

  6. #51 – Count me in as another victim of the spam filter.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — August 11, 2008 @ 11:21 am - August 11, 2008

  7. Imagine how different the DEM primary would have been if this info had come out before the primaries. Hillary’s primary race and delegate count MAY LOOK A WHOLE LOT DIFFERENT without John John.

    How many folks were previous supporters of Edwards? How many of those folks would have voted for Hillary if Edwards had NOT been in the running for the nomination.

    Hillary is NOT finished yet…..should be interesting.

    Jeb

    Comment by jeb — August 11, 2008 @ 11:43 am - August 11, 2008

  8. Agree 100%. And you know what else should happen? Women should get married before having a baby. Doesn’t always work out that way, eh?

    Yep, getting married before having children is preferable. And since I live in a city adjacent to one of NJ’s illegitimate children capitals (we have about ten of them), I can safely say that all too often it doesn’t work out that way.

    Comment by Pat — August 11, 2008 @ 11:50 am - August 11, 2008

  9. Stop looking at the “affair” and focus on the behavior. Edwards is a cheat and liar. But the public gave Bill a pass and so Edwards thought he could cash in one too.

    I truly believe (this is my cynical side) that ALL men will cheat if they think they will NOT get caught. Oh, except me 🙂

    Who knows why women sleep with married men….SLUTS! Did I say that out loud.

    How do they justify the behavior? Not my area of expertise. You would have to asked the feminists that believe they can behave as badly as men.

    It’s a very very sad world.

    jeb

    Comment by jeb — August 11, 2008 @ 12:32 pm - August 11, 2008

  10. I’m still waiting to hear the smears coming from the Edwards, Clinton or snObama campaigns regarding the unwed mother’s behavior. Remember, Bill Clinton had a whole staff to deal with “bimbo eruptions.”

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — August 11, 2008 @ 1:33 pm - August 11, 2008

  11. I just keep thinking back all of those soft-focus, warm propaganda pieces the MSM put out about Silky Pony and Mrs Silky Pony spending their anniversaries at Wendy’s, and how he was standing by her while she endured her cancer treatment.

    It was all b-llsh-t.

    Comment by V the K — August 11, 2008 @ 1:36 pm - August 11, 2008

  12. #59 – V, the gang on FNC’s “Red-Eye” show last night (with special commentator Ann Coulter!) were dissecting that image and having a field day.

    Greg Gutfield also pointed out that Elizabeth Edwards was no shrinking violet, either – she posted her own screed on DailyKos where she blamed the National Enquirer for poking its nose where it didn’t belong.

    More BS.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — August 11, 2008 @ 1:41 pm - August 11, 2008

  13. Well, I predicted it: the sliming of Rielle Hunter has started. Only this time it is the MSM leading the charge.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — August 11, 2008 @ 1:49 pm - August 11, 2008

  14. Stop looking at the “affair” and focus on the behavior. Edwards is a cheat and liar. But the public gave Bill a pass and so Edwards thought he could cash in one too.

    Jeb, I agree Edwards is a cheat and a liar. I don’t think that Edwards thought he could cash in if he got caught. I believe he thought he wouldn’t get caught, or more likely, thought having the affair, whether he got caught or not, was worth the consequences.

    I truly believe (this is my cynical side) that ALL men will cheat if they think they will NOT get caught. Oh, except me

    Me too. Actually, I would be more concerned about the fact that I would know what I did more so than any others finding out. Combination of having some morals and a guilt complex.

    Who knows why women sleep with married men….SLUTS! Did I say that out loud.

    I’m not sure if you’re making a distinction between men and women’s behavior, but no double standards as far as I’m concerned. I know men and even women who cut the guy some slack, because well, he’s a guy, while women are judged more harshly than men in the same circumstances. At this day and age, I view them the same.

    It’s a very very sad world.

    Too many times it is. A strange one at times as well.

    Comment by Pat — August 11, 2008 @ 2:14 pm - August 11, 2008

  15. Who knows why women sleep with married men….SLUTS! Did I say that out loud.

    Sluts, narcissistic predators. That is why I laugh when women say that women are better human beings than men. They are not, they are just as harmful and hurtful in their own way.

    A very good friend is the wife, her husband strayed for years, but now that he is dying of cancer – who do you think is taking care of him?? If there weren’t children in the picture – he’d be out on his ass.

    On the other hand, I have an acquaintance (not a friend!) who was the other woman for 11 years. At 72, she is alone, living on a very small fixed income and isn’t a very happy person. She speaks proudly of the ‘love of her life’ sees no problem that there were other people sidelined by her love affair.

    As to Elizabeth, no she’s not a nice person, she married and stuck with the cad all these years. I can’t believe this is news to her that he has no morals whatsoever. But even she doesn’t deserve to go through this hell, unfortunately, because of the cancer, I don’t see her leaving and starting over.

    Comment by Leah — August 11, 2008 @ 5:59 pm - August 11, 2008

  16. I’m curious about a couple of things. John Edwards emphasized that his wife’s cancer was in remission when he started the affair. Is that the new Democrat etiquette for adultery? That its okay to cheat on your wife when her cancer is in remission?

    Also, he claims one of his campaign aides is the baby-daddy. Is that also part of Democrat adultery etiquette? It’s just good manners to share your mistress with your employees?

    Comment by V the K — August 11, 2008 @ 6:22 pm - August 11, 2008

  17. #63, V, it appears the Edwardses are victims of selective thought processes. Edwards started seeing Rielle in 2006. Per her own admission, Elizabeth Edwards did not go into remission until 2007. So much for his timeline credibility.

    Also, according to FNC, Hunter met Edwards at a New York City hotel in late February or early March of 2006, and that the affair began shortly thereafter – contrary to Edwards’ claim that the relationship began only after Hunter was hired to film Edwards for a series of documentaries to appear on the Internet. She was already his mistress when she was hired by the campaign.

    “Oh, what a tangled web we weave/when we practice to deceive.”

    It’s 400 years later, and the Bard is still right on the money.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — August 11, 2008 @ 6:45 pm - August 11, 2008

  18. Pat said:

    If it was as simple, then how come the MSM (who you contend is biased against Republicans) has put so much more attention on an affair by a Democrat who left the race months ago, than the Republican nominee’s affair?

    Simple. McCain’s affair took place 30 plus years ago in 1978, a soldier long forgotten by the public, and he was a candidate for nothing (didn’t run for House seat until 1982),. Edwards affair took place a year ago, at a time when he was campaigning for the office of President. As they say in the biz – timing IS everything!!!

    PS. I put the important bits in bold to help you understand.

    Comment by sonicfrog — August 11, 2008 @ 8:44 pm - August 11, 2008

  19. I simply adore about many of you blather on about the hatred of liberals, yet the name-calling against Democrats / Liberals continues unabated. For a few of you, hate pours forth from keyboards on every post. amazing.

    Comment by Kevin — August 12, 2008 @ 1:04 am - August 12, 2008

  20. I guess Kevin is scraping the bottom of his small bag of talking points. You gotta love it. One of his socialist idols reveals himself to be a lying, cheating, sleazebag… but instead of condemning the Democrat who cheated on his wife while she was battling cancer… he attacks us for pointing it out.

    Blind obedience, unquestioning groupthink… that’s why we call ’em the GayLeftBorg.

    Comment by V the K — August 12, 2008 @ 5:48 am - August 12, 2008

  21. #66: “I simply adore about many of you blather on about…”

    Shelby, DRINK THE JUICE.

    Comment by Sean A — August 12, 2008 @ 7:23 am - August 12, 2008

  22. Simple. McCain’s affair took place 30 plus years ago in 1978, a soldier long forgotten by the public, and he was a candidate for nothing (didn’t run for House seat until 1982),. Edwards affair took place a year ago, at a time when he was campaigning for the office of President. As they say in the biz – timing IS everything!!!

    Actually, sonicfrog, I agree totally with your point here. My comment in #49 was responding to Sean A, who responded to my comments in #9. My comment in #9 pretty much says what your point above is. I took (perhaps incorrectly) Sean’s comment to mean that adultery is cut and dry, that there are little or no factors to be considered in distinguishing them. IF that was the case, I was just questioning if that would mean that McCain’s adultery 30 years ago was the same as Edwards’ recent affair. And if that was the case, then the MSM is focusing on the affair of someone who is no longer a candidate for president, while virtually ignoring an affair of a major party nominee for president.

    Again, for clarity, I understand exactly why the focus is on Edwards and not McCain regarding extramarital affairs, and believe when these occurred ARE relevant.

    Comment by Pat — August 12, 2008 @ 8:43 am - August 12, 2008

  23. #69 – Pat, to address what you had mentioned in #49, the MSM seems to have an anti-GOP bias in terms of what it considers “news.” For example:

    1. Both the LA Times and New York Times knew about the Enquirer stories on Edwards, but refused to assign reporters to look into them. In fact, the LA Times told its bloggers that even MENTIONING the Edwards story was verboten.

    But when then-candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) was said to have sexually harassed several women prior to his gubernatorial campaign (based upon pure HEARSAY), the LA Times assigned up to half a dozen reporters to investigate.

    2. In a simiar vein, the LA Times had the story about Arkansas state troopers allegedly procuring women for Bill Clinton while he was governor, but didn’t publish it until after the 1992 election.

    But when you allege that you heard someone say that McCain may have had an affair 30 years ago, then the NY Times makes it a hard-hitting piece on page 1.

    The MSM has a reticence to covering any Democrat indiscretion, but if you are a Republican like Larry Craig, Mark Foley or David Vitter, it immediately becomes front-page news.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — August 12, 2008 @ 11:34 am - August 12, 2008

  24. Peter, while I concur there are biases in the media, I tend to think that things balance out in the long run. For example, I’ve heard that a Washington Post reporter had evidence that a former Republican candidate for president (and to keep things cryptic, I won’t mention whether he won his election(s) or not) had a long term extramarital affair. I lived near Washington at the time, and I knew a couple of people who were in some of the political circles who were certain that it was true and even knew the other woman. Yet Katherine Graham squelched it. Obviously, you have no reason to trust that this information is true, as I wouldn’t if the situation were reversed. But this is just an example of my perspective of what I have seen and what I know, when I make a determination as to the bias of MSM.

    But I’ll concede the point to you that the MSM has an anti-GOP bias. The good news is that today, MSM’s influence has been lessened with the Internet and various bloggers to get the story out there. And Fox News (whether one regards it as fair and balanced, or biased toward Republicans), also helps counter any advantage the Democrats has with the MSM.

    Comment by Pat — August 12, 2008 @ 12:38 pm - August 12, 2008

  25. #71 – Point well taken. Actually, it is sites like this one, Drudge, LGF and Townhall which have broken the old MSM monopoly of being the only ones to deliver “news” and slant it any which way. People can’t get away with fooling the public anymore (remember the “fake but accurate” Bush records that CBS tried to foist on us?) – thanks to the web.

    It used to be that it wasn’t news until Walter Cronkite reported it. In 2008, it isn’t news unless Matt Drudge says it is. And for that I am eternally grateful.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — August 12, 2008 @ 12:51 pm - August 12, 2008

  26. For a few of you, hate pours forth from keyboards on every post. amazing.

    Ain’t it a b*tch when folks dish it right back to you instead of grabbing their ankles and letting you get away with it?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — August 12, 2008 @ 11:28 pm - August 12, 2008

  27. And, Edwards is STILL lying:
    http://www.nationalenquirer.com/john_edwards_sex_more_lies_videotape_/celebrity/65288

    I never thought I’d link the Enquirer. But: What party to this “affair” has been basically honest with the public, up to this point? (Hint: If you guessed ‘Edwards’, you guessed wrong.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 13, 2008 @ 9:41 am - August 13, 2008

  28. #74 – Ouch, that’s gonna leave a mark.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — August 13, 2008 @ 12:42 pm - August 13, 2008

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