Tuesday, August 12, 2008

John Edwards -- Why Did They Find Him Appealing?

Other people are spending enough time on the John Edwards affair that I don't need to cover it. Whoops, that's the mainstream media's attitude from a week ago. What I'm trying to say is... it's amazing that the story only gets coverage after Edwards admitted the affair. Just totally coincidental, I'm sure.

The best source for Edwards-related news has been Mickey Kaus, who reported on the National Enquirer's allegations back in December and has followed the story with a diligence bordering on obsession. I will agree with these statements on the latest developments:

Edwards declares "it's not possible that [Rielle Hunter's] child could be mine," adding that he's "happy" to take a paternity test and "truly hopeful that a test will be done." The next day Rielle Hunter's lawyer says "Rielle will not participate in DNA testing."

Are you buying this? For one thing, if Edwards is really certain he isn't the father of the kid, wouldn't he have demanded a paternity test to clear his name, not just indicated his hope for a test? ... Too late to change the tone now! ...

...P.S.: Hunter's lawyer has
issued a statement saying she will not "participate in DNA testing" of her daughter. Convenient! No doubt some of Edwards' rich friends will now send her tens of thousands of dollars behind his back to try to persuade her to agree to the test and clear John's name (by validating Story #2's central claim that he is not the father). ... Wouldn't Hunter's statement seem a little more authentic if it wasn't PR'ed to an inch of its life to mesh with the Edwards anti-tab talking points? ("Rielle is a private individual. She is not running for public office.")
My personal view on Edwards is the same as it was before the scandal -- he gives a bad name to snake oil salesmen. I've never understood why so many people on the left found him to be a good candidate for higher office -- he's like Bill Clinton, but far lighter on policy specifics and actual executive experience. And now he's even more like Bubba.

Now that the mainstream media is actually reporting on the issue, the Washington Post, via its blog "The Trail" has found evidence of Edwards with his mistress in late December 2006 on the campaign trail, on his presidential announcement trip...

Edwards announced his presidential bid on Dec. 28 in New Orleans. His wife did not accompany him on the trip there.

The wire service photos, below, show Hunter, whom Edwards met in a New York bar in 2006, traveling with Edwards on December 27 and riding with him on his plane to Reno, Nev., on December 29 of that year.
Love the reporting, guys! Seriously, as the Trail noted, Edwards' confession claims the affair was over after a short time in 2006 -- apparently, this short time must have included the holidays. Either that, or he's lying... which he would never do! Perhaps Doug Ross is too skeptical...

Put simply, his so-called "confession" appears as genuine as a Stradivarius air guitar.
It's funny because it's true.

Keep in mind, Edwards creeped out John Kerry. And yet Democrats had this guy as a strong contender for their Presidential nomination adn as the VP nominee on the strength of a trial lawyer resume, one Senate term, populist rhetoric and good hair. Let's not forget, he didn't even mesh well with certain Democratic Party core beliefs, based on Bob Shrum's story...

In his new memoir, "No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner," Shrum recalls asking Edwards at the outset of that campaign, "What is your position, Mr. Edwards, on gay rights?"

"I'm not comfortable around those people," Edwards replied, according to Shrum. He writes that the candidate's wife, Elizabeth, told him: "John, you know that's wrong."

Edwards's pollster, Harrison Hickman, who was in the room during the discussion, says Shrum "is sensationalizing and taking out of context what was an honest discussion about [Edwards's] lack of exposure to these issues and openly gay people. I don't remember anything that expressed any kind of venom or judgment about gay people."
At the end of the day, John Edwards is and was shallow, ambition-filled and willing to say or do anything to attain higher office. Yes, that's true of any number of politicans, but in most cases, we require at least a substantial term in public service before we consider them eligible for the highest office in the land. Reagan was Governor of California for two terms. Bush 41 had a resume that screamed future President. Clinton was Governor of Arkansas for over a decade. Gore had served in the Senate and as VP. Bush 43 had been Governor of Texas for six years. I'm not one to defend either Hillary or Obama's qualifications, but at least Obama spent several years in the state legislature and Hillary spent a lifetime in politics.

And yet Edwards, who served one undistinguished term in the Senate, was considered a top contender for his party's nomination for President, its pick in 2004 for VP and again a top contender for the Presidency in 2008. Yes, it's a good idea to bring outsiders into a process where too many of our politicans have grown comfortable with the corrupt way of doing business. But it would help if those outsiders showed anything other than a screaming desire to be anointed top dog and actually accomplished something while working in the jobs they were elected to. I don't recall Edwards being the impetus behind great legislation in his six years in the Senate. Perhaps he was too busy prepping his campaign for President.

Maybe part of the reason Barack Obama looks so good for the Democrats is that the talent pool is so damn shallow.


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