Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Feeling deceived: The scam of John Edwards

In the May 6, 2002, issue of The New Yorker, John Edwards, then a senator from North Carolina, was touted as the great hope of the Democrats, the second coming, if not of JFK, then of Bill Clinton.


Six years later, how true that has been. But in ways that are just awful for those who thought he was destined for great things but will probably end up a question on “Jeopardy”: “I’ll take faded and unsuccessful vice presidential candidates for $200, Alex.”


He was the man who, in a nation still reeling from 9/11 but not yet caught in the Iraq trap, could bring us all together and make life better.


Maybe it was the populist talk from the man who made much of humble roots and took on corporations for the “little people” as a trial lawyer, and won big cases, that caught my eye. He got rich in the process, but Americans are used to people becoming elites while vowing to make life better for those left behind, if we’d just give them a chance to serve.


The story was full of John Edwards, his wife Elizabeth, their children, and the usual volume of talk about poverty and misfortune, and how Washington just doesn’t get it, but John Edwards does.


As is said of every politician, whether it’s true or not, John Edwards had the looks, the charisma, the stories, the family tragedy, the past, the future and so on to take him to the heights.


Well, he ended up the No. 2 on a ticket that went down to defeat in 2004, and his attempt to make it to the top in the race for the Democratic nomination in 2008 got short circuited in the Democratic battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. There was talk that Edwards could play second banana on a presidential ticket, or maybe a Cabinet post, but that’s about as possible as me fielding grounders for the Mets.


It’s only fair to note that people were angry on hearing that Newt Gingrich, a Republican, served his wife divorce papers in her hospital bed after she had surgery for breast cancer. But John Edwards’ behavior is just as bad. As his wife is battling cancer, he’s jetting around the country and having an affair with a campaign staffer. I’m sorry, but they don’t make them much lower than that, folks.


JFK’s dalliances are pretty much common knowledge now, and we know more about the goings-on in the White House between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky than we probably needed to know about, but for me, Edwards was the last straw.


I never thought he had a shot at the big seat in the Oval, but that there was a place for him. Maybe I also thought the compassion and the understanding were real, and not an act to gain sympathy and votes.


If I were Elizabeth Edwards, John would have a rolling pin-shaped dent in his $400 haircut and head right now. For the rest of us, in which physical assault is illegal, impractical and a waste of time and energy that can be used to more productive purpose, the only thing left to do – save for writing about John Edwards and his downfall – is to consider him a political nonentity.


That’s what seems to be happening. The Democratic National Committee would rather have Karl Rove show up to speak than John Edwards. (OK, I’m exaggerating, but you get the idea). Edwards is damaged goods, and offers the Republicans ammunition to use against the Democrats in abundance, that they’re the party of free love, if it feels good do it libertinism that has no respect for morals, values or marital vows.


Face it, poverty in America was just a way for Edwards to make himself look good. We were the suckers, and we fell for it.


It’s interesting that the same news media that got oh-so-sanctimonious about not reporting rumors and innuendoes (let alone stories that were in the National Enquirer), had few qualms about The New York Times’ story about John McCain and a campaign aide of his, and tales of an alleged affair.


It’s all too easy for the media to fall in love with a candidate, regardless of party, especially if the candidate has a toothy grin, nice hair, a compelling personal story and the appearance of compassion. What’s lost, though, is the need to be analytical and critical. Those who run for high office need to realize that there are standards of morals, ethics, behavior and values that have to be a part of their lives. If they can’t take the media scrutiny or have something in their past that needs to stay hidden, maybe they should not try for the office.


August 13, 2008 - Posted by | Politics | , , , , ,


  1. It’s not hard to figure out that the child is his. What a scum bag. I have to laugh at anyone who donated money to that superficial playboy.

    Comment by Mick | August 13, 2008 | Reply

  2. Edwards is the biggest phony I’ve ever seen in politics.

    Comment by Mick | August 14, 2008 | Reply

  3. Thanks for your link — good story, this! I’m almost sorry that I stayed up late to watch that interview – his insincerity was too obvious.

    Keep up the writing – I love reading it. I’m spending a few days in Saratoga to watch the ponies run. Speak to you soon.

    Comment by Diana-NYC | August 18, 2008 | Reply

  4. I am willing to bet that Hillary had something to do with Edwards’ untimely exposure. And I am willing to bet The Messiah is next on her list.

    Batten down the hatches for the storm, Vinny! (Faye). I can’t say I miss storm-track watching all that much since I left …

    Comment by Alec | August 18, 2008 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: