The Harder They Fall
From "The Rant" archives:
-Tom Degan, 27 January 2008
Somebody please shoot me.
I got a brief glimpse into the character of John Edwards very early on during the campaign of 2004. It was on someone's manicured lawn somewhere - possibly John Kerry's. Edwards had just been announced as Kerry's choice for running mate and the two men gathered their respective families together for a short and sweet photo-op. When it was over, everyone involved proceeded up an incline toward the house. Edwards put his arm around the waist of Kerry's daughter, leaving his dying wife Elizabeth just standing there. She stood frozen for a couple of seconds and then awkwardly started up the hill behind the party. The most amazing thing about this scene was that - to the best of my knowledge anyway - none of the major network news outlets picked up on it - not even FOX Noise. When the story of the betrayal of Elizabeth Edwards finally became part of the public domain, I was not quite as shocked as you might have been. My mind kept going back to that scene.
The Cliff Notes:
During his 2008 quest for the presidency, candidate John Edwards gets his mistress Rielle Hunter (photo left) a job as the campaign's official videographer. Hunter becomes pregnant with Edwards' child. When the press gets wind of the story, Edwards persuades his aid and longtime (onetime) friend Andrew Young (not to be confused with Jimmy Carter's UN ambassador) to claim paternity. Young's wife Cheri is also in on the deception. Hunter is spirited away ala Dick Cheney to an undisclosed location. Her "living expenses" are paid for by an elderly, mucho-multi-millionaire named Rachel "Bunny" Mellon. When the truth is finally exposed, Elizabeth Edwards leaves her husband of four decades. She dies on December 7, 2010. The Feds say that the payments to provide for Hunter's comfort are in direct violation of campaign finance laws. The Youngs are cooperating with prosecutors. John Edwards is now being tried on corruption charges and is facing thirty years in federal prison.
I need to take a shower.
This is just too painful to even think about, much less donate an entire column to. One can only imagine the pain and humiliation that poor Elizabeth Edwards went through during the final months of her all-too-short life. Johnny was apparently grooming Rielle to take over as First Lady the moment his wife drew her last breath. Class act!
The fact that this contemptible jackass was number two on their national ticket less than ten years ago is not going to do the Democrats a bit of good in this campaign year. The Republicans are desperate for issues to exploit as the November election rears its nasty head. You can bet the farm that as the magic day approaches, this sad and ugly incident will become a major talking point. Pictures will be resurrected from the photo-morgues of news agencies all across the country that will show the smiling, vice-presidential wannabe John Edwards embracing candidate John Kerry. Rush Limbaugh is going to have a blast with this one. I can hear it now:
"Ladies and gentlemen, THIS is the REAL face of the Democrat party! That they would let a horrible cad like John Edwards be part of the national ticket tells me more than I want to know! This is a party that thrives on shame! I need a fix."
John Edwards is finished as a public person. Richard Nixon was able to slither his way back from Watergate to become a respected (by some) author and foreign policy adviser. A scandal involving prostitutes ended the political career of New York governor Elliot Spitzer. Today he is the host of a program on Al Gore's Current TV and is doing quite well for himself. These guys - and more than a few like them - are proof that (contrary to the old adage) there are indeed second acts in American life. There will be no second act for John Edwards. His carefully scripted play has closed for good. When this public humiliation is all over he will disappear. He will pop up in an occasional "Whatever became of" article but that's about it. You will never see or hear from him again.
Without Barack Obama as part of the equation, Edwards might very well have gotten the Democratic nomination four years ago. Had that happened, the scandal would have broken just after the convention. It would have killed the progressive cause on Election Day - and Sarah Palin would today be a seventy-six-year-old heart beat away from the presidency. That's beyond reckless on the part of John Edwards. That borders on the criminally insane.
The funny thing is that according to those in a position to know, Edwards made his name as a politician for no other reason than the fact that he was a he was a world champion bullshit artist; the trial lawyer supreme. He was absolutely clueless on all matters of foreign and domestic policy. Those close to him say that he never read or studied anything. It was noticed by the press that whenever he traveled he never had any reading or writing material in his possession. It can be said without exaggeration that the guy spent more money per year on haircuts than he did on books. This was an empty suit - shallow, self-absorbed, totally void of substance.
Does he deserve to go to prison for thirty years? I don't think so. It's not clear to me that these were in fact "campaign funds" that were used to keep Rielle Hunter quiet and comfy. I can't see him doing any time in the slammer quite frankly. His punishment has already been imposed. He will be remembered by history as a scoundrel and a fool. His sentence will be political Siberia. It must be the bitterest of pills for him to swallow. Bon appetit, Johnny.
Sleepwalking Through History
by Haynes Johnson
The Best of Times
by Haynes Johnson.
These two books are about, respectively, life in America during the administrations of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Both of them I think will be valuable sources for historians a century from now. It doesn't get much better than Haynes Johnson. I can't wait for his book on the Dubya years.
"Something" by The Beatles
Yesterday Martin Scorsese's documentary on George Harrison, Living in the Material World, was finally released on DVD. I saw it last night for the first time and I can tell you that it's worth the price of the ticket. The above link is to the rarely seen promo film that the Beatles did for his masterpiece, Something.