Friday, August 08, 2008

John Edwards: Sanctimonious To the End

Having lived in North Carolina during the late 70's and early 80's, I always thought that John Edwards reminded me of Jim Bakker, the defrocked PTL (Praise the Lord) minister and television host who ended up in jail. There was just something smarmy about Edwards that gave me the creeps and I never considered supporting him even though I agreed with a lot of his "Two Americas" themes.

With the revelation of his affair with Rielle Hunter, it's becoming obvious that I was right to think of Edwards as a sanctimonious creep. It's not so much the affair itself. That's kind of understandable. Top-level married politicians are exposed to a lot of temptation. They travel constantly, spend a great deal of time in hotel rooms, and meet lots of single women who are smart, attractive, and think guys like them are the most interesting people in the world. I know that the affairs of politicians cause tremendous pain for their families, but there's a way in which I don't particularly blame Edwards and other political figures for taking advantage of romantic opportunity, giving into temptation, or whatever it is that gets them into bed with women they're not married to.

What bothers me about Edwards though is that his confession statement about his affair is full of the righteousness that makes him such a questionable character to begin with.

In 2006, I made a serious error in judgment and conducted myself in a way that was disloyal to my family and to my core beliefs. I recognized my mistake, and I told my wife that I had a liaison with another woman, and I asked for her forgiveness . . .

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."

I translate this statement as "if you want to beat me up feel free, but I'm going to be just as smug a jerk tomorrow as I was before my tawdry affair blew up in my face."

Thanks John, but I'm rather hoping that you'll just disappear now.


John Austin personal training said...

Self-centered to the end. Newt, Foley, L. Craig, Livingston, Vitter, Spitzer, McGrevey, Packwood, Clinton – there is a long list of public people with personal failings. I am not put off by the act or the lying (What do they have to lose at that point?), and as a general rule, I don’t think adultery should be a disqualifier for office. What is repellent to me is the hypocrisy, the cravenness that they hold on to power after being caught, and the humiliation their spouses have to endure when used as props when they make public admissions. They are self-absorbed malignant narcissists. Bob Packwood ran for reelection. Bob Livingston did it right; he got caught and resigned in hours. I did notice McCain gave a firm no comment to the Edwards affair.

Ric Caric said...

Curiously enough, the Edwards affair hurts Obama less than McCain even though Edwards is a Democrat.

Anonymous said...

I agree with John Austin's concluding statement about the hypocrisy but I also am put off by the lying when confronted. Wagging his finger at the camera while saying he "did not have sexual relations with that woman..." is about as bad as it gets. Edwards is joining Clinton, Jesse Jackson and the others who do or say stupid things and expect to get away with it Repubs and Dems alike. I also can't stand the type of saying their "sorry" for what they did after they are caught. How can Edwards say he was 99 percent honest? What kind of crap is this?

Anonymous said...

John Edwards is the type of politician that makes people run as far away from them as possible and then still throw up! Want to lock him back in that men's room with that guy from Idaho. Edwards had better not show up at he Dem's convention. Your (Ric's) use of the word creepy is right on but still too mild for this @#$%&#@ idiot.

Ric Caric said...

John Austin personal training's comment about Edwards being a "malignant narcissist" is coming into focus. Several of the people who commented on Elizabeth Edwards' post over at Kos stressed that Edwards started running for president AFTER he had confessed the affair to his family (if he's telling the truth about confessing). Edwards knew, Elizabeth knew, and the rest of his family knew that he was a train wreck waiting for the crash. The whole Edwards campaign now looks like an enormous imposition on the people who believed in him and David Bonior and other Edwards staffers are expressing their disgust at how much they were lied to.