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Those New John and Elizabeth Edwards Revelations

Last night I read the New York Magazine article which excerpts portions of the new book, Game Change, about John and Elizabeth Edwards. If you have heard the hype about it, trust me, the story is every bit as sensational (in a tabloid sort of way) as what you have heard. It is a sad, strange tale, but also fascinating.

You really have to read it to believe it. Or to not believe it. A lot of the story sounds plausible and jibes with bits and pieces that have been reported elsewhere over the past couple of years, but since I question the truthfulness of some of the excerpts from the book regarding Sarah Palin, I have to likewise consider that everything in the Edwards story might not be true. But geez, if only a tiny fraction of the story is true, this country came close to having someone in the White House with a bigger ego than Bill Clinton and Barack Obama combined. Not just the "I feel pretty" John Edwards ego we saw on public display in the campaign, but something much more "cuckoo pants" (as Lori Ziganto put it) than anyone could have known. Anyone outside of his campaign that is.

If the accounts are anywhere close to accurate, Edwards was delusional and reckless when it came to the affair he was having,and the effect it was having on his family and his campaign. What I found really interesting were the behind the scenes stories about how the staff reacted to the behavior they saw from Edwards. They saw this recklessness. They knew that if he did get the nomination he would likely have this big Rielle Hunter bomb explode in the general election. So they had to struggle not only with the decision of whether or not they would alert the public that this man had no business anywhere near the White House, but also whether or not they would warn the Democratic Party that if this man won the nomination they would be handing the GOP a victory.

Stories about staffers and consultants thinking Edwards was crazy and a lightweight empty suit and an ego maniac have been heard before from people like Bob Shrum, but this book deals with the affair and its aftermath and goes into detail that has never before been revealed. Getting a lot of attention is the depiction of Elizabeth Edwards in the article. The difference between the stories in the book about Elizabeth Edwards are in stark contrast to her public image. Actually "stark" does not quite cover it. Here is one excerpt.No one in the Edwardses' political circle felt anything less than complete sympathy for Elizabeth's plight. And yet the romance between her and the electorate struck them as ironic nonetheless--because their own relationships with her were so unpleasant that they felt like battered spouses. The nearly universal assessment among them was that there was no one on the national stage for whom the disparity between public image and private reality was vaster or more disturbing.

With her husband, she could be intensely affectionate or brutally dismissive. At times subtly, at times blatantly, she was forever letting John know that she regarded him as her intellectual inferior. She called her spouse a "hick" in front of other people and derided his parents as rednecks. One time, when a friend asked if John had read a certain book, Elizabeth burst out laughing. "Oh, he doesn't read books," she said. "I'm the one who reads books."
That was one of the nicer things said about Elizabeth Edwards in this piece. Seriously, it was. Some other passages, though, made me feel sorry for her as she was humiliated by the stupid behavior of her self-obsessed husband and the mistress he insisted accompany him on so many campaign events.

This is really nasty stuff, but it is absolutely fascinating to see that difference between what the public sees and what staffers see and it is interesting to see what those supporting horribly flawed candidates do to protect them.

If you think these new revelations are interesting, there is more to come. Andrew Young, the man who first claimed Rielle Hunter's baby was his, has a tell all book coming out soon. I didn't say it because I thought it was beyond obvious, but just in case anyone still has any doubt, John Edwards will not recover from this. I thought he was toast a long time before the affair stuff came out anyway. That 28,000 square foot mansion, the multi-million dollar beach house, and the $400 plus haircuts do not sit well with voters, especially when coming from a candidate basing his campaign on the issue of poverty. Affairs are something candidates can recover from, but all the stuff swirling around this affair, the treatment of those around him, and all the other stuff that was there before the affair is just too much. John Edwards is now officially in the OJ category. There is no PR machine that can rehabilitate this guy now.


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Comments (15)

Kinda makes you wonder what... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Kinda makes you wonder what kind of dirt the Obama campaign was hiding. Other than their illegal sources of money.

Never like John Edwards, I ... (Below threshold)
mag:

Never like John Edwards, I don't care for the pretty boy types, never mind his beliefs. He is another empty suit. Though, I sure a very expensive suit.
And in marriages who knows what is reality. Looks one way to outsiders and it could be completely different behind closed doors.
However, whatever type of person Elizabeth is, I still feel sorry for her, she lost a son, her husband betrayed her, she has cancer, has gone thru treatments she made die sooner than she thought she would. I'll leave her to heaven to judge.

During the 04 campaign, a l... (Below threshold)
Wright:

During the 04 campaign, a liberal friend of mine got all dewy-eyed when John and Liz reprised their 'we met at Wendy's' schtick, taking the bemused Kerrys in for whatever it is that Wendy's sells before going back out to their motorhome for the real meal. I didn't say so, but I thought at the time it was all hokum bilge cooked up for the consumption by the credulous, and it is even more apparent now that that was so.

I would ask how anyone was ... (Below threshold)
ster:

I would ask how anyone was fooled by this creep. Then again, Obama was elected.

They say hindsight is 20/20... (Below threshold)
Kathy:

They say hindsight is 20/20 but at least John Edwards only screwed his mistress and denied it. Obama is screwing us all, denying it, and denying that our bastard economy belongs to him, saying it was fathered by another man, GWB.

Kinda makes John Edwards look better, doesn't it?

See Liberals, Conservatives can do relativism, too.

So, we basically knew nothi... (Below threshold)
Brook:

So, we basically knew nothing about these people that could very easily be in the White House right now, because the free press has collapsed in this country.

Now, let's ask what we don't know about Barry Hussein. Here's a president that immediatly had all his past records sealed upon moving into the White House and the press corps ridicules anyone who wants to ask questions about who our President really is and what kind of associations he has had in his life.

I think it was parenthetica... (Below threshold)
Ben:

I think it was parenthetical, but I OJ comparison is kind of ridiculous. For all that Edwards' jackassery has, and probably should, made him a political pariah, he didn't take the lives of two of his fellow human beings, did he?

Cue "two Americas" joke her... (Below threshold)
trump:

Cue "two Americas" joke here.

Elizabeth Edwards is a daily Kos poster.

That's all I needed to know what a worthless piece of trash she is.

Hey Lizzie? You're the one who reads the books? Enjoy this one then!

I think it was parenthet... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

I think it was parenthetical, but I OJ comparison is kind of ridiculous. For all that Edwards' jackassery has, and probably should, made him a political pariah, he didn't take the lives of two of his fellow human beings, did he?

No, he didn't, but that was the only other person in public life I could think of that I believe will never be able to rehabilitate his image. Okay, add Osama bin Laden, Hitler, and any other serial killer or mass murderer to the list as well.

Most political figures and celebrities these days find a way to win back the good graces of the public if they apologize and ask for forgiveness, do good deeds, etc. I don't think Edwards can do that because his insincerity has been revealed so no matter what he does no one will believe it.

I remember Democrat friends in the early days of the Lewinsky scandal saying if Clinton really did disgrace the Oval office by diddling an intern they were done with him. No more apologizing for him. If he was that stupid they were done. That all changed though. They bought the "everyone lies about sex" defense and forgave the tawdry circumstances. I just don't think Edwards will be that lucky, partially because he is not nearly as good as Clinton, but also because I don't think people can identify with Edwards as they did Clinton.

This story reminds me of ho... (Below threshold)

This story reminds me of how Rose Kennedy treated Joseph Kennedy during most of the duration of their marriage together. In public she was a devoted mother and a charming, graceful wife and member of high society. In private she was irritable, nasty, and very condescending toward her husband. And really, who could blame her? Only the very ignorant would believe that a woman married to a philandering husband just grins and bears it all. No - those women have their own ways of evening the score.

Of course it's also possible that John's eventual affair with Rielle Hunter was the unfortunate result of years of nasty treatment by Elizabeth. Really, who knows?

One more thing, if this had been the family of a Republican politician, the movie rights would have already been signed, the screenplay would already be in development, and rumors about casting would be swirling through Hollywood. Right now, though, I guess those of us who want to see a movie expose about John and Elizabeth a-la "The Reagans" will have to wait for a while, at least until after the A-list, potential "Best Picture" movie expose about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky is released.

Wait, is that crickets I'm hearing? No, I'm not holding my breath either.

To those who bad mouth Pres... (Below threshold)
j:

To those who bad mouth Pres. Obama...what are you afraid of? What is he hiding? What do you think he wants to do to the American people?
What do you think he wants to happen to our country?

come on people, get over your paranoid ways...he wants the best for the country, end of story as I see it.

"Of course it's also pos... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"Of course it's also possible that John's eventual affair with Rielle Hunter was the unfortunate result of years of nasty treatment by Elizabeth. Really, who knows?"

This was the argument I presented here when the long knives came out about McCain's divorce from his first wife. The problem is we don't know what went on behind closed doors. Unless I've missed something blatant, so far (unlike Clinton) there's been no indication that Rielle was just one in a long string of affairs/one-nighters, which leads me to believe Edwards was looking for comfort.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending him. He's a turd of the first order. But for FAR more reasons than just succumbing to an affair.

"To those who bad mouth ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"To those who bad mouth Pres. Obama...what are you afraid of?"

I don't know about others, but I'm not afraid. I'm pissed off.

"What is he hiding?"

Um, anything documenting his past that he hasn't already let slip in his books or past interviews.

"What do you think he wants to do to the American people?"

See more of us dependent on the government for subsistence.

"What do you think he wants to happen to our country?"

He wants a socialistic style of redistribution of wealth.

Is the above what you're referring to as "badmouthing"?

So much is not known about ... (Below threshold)
LOOKING IN:

So much is not known about Obama it scares me. On one hand it seems like the press is not doing their job (dah) yet it seems like some parts of their lives should be off limits? But so many bums like Edwards are getting to Washington. What to do...What to do?

I bet that there is not a d... (Below threshold)
vswilson:

I bet that there is not a day that goes by that John Edwards wish that he had never laid eyes on Rielle Hunter, videographer or the mother of his youngest child.I would easily believe that everyday he wakes up wishing he still had the respectable relationship that he had with "the love of his life"Elizabeth. Two years ago, they renewed their vows, and now this, the seperation that he did not want after 34 years.As far as Andrew Young writing a book about Mr. Edwards,what married man claim a child that is not his child, and his wife goes along with this charade.What man moves a pregnant woman into your family, claiming to be the child's father and your wife goes along with it? Never mind don't bother to answer.This story is just as ragged as a bowl of sauerkraut,and the author's story is just as bizarre as "The Politician".




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