Friday, August 08, 2008
Some words about disappointment...and John Edwards
The news about Edwards breaks and you all coming looking here, huh?

The issue came up briefly yesterday (in the comments section) and I thought I'd elaborate more in a full post. I haven't been reading much of the coverage so I may overlap with other opinions but the thoughts I have in this, the immediate aftermath, are my own. I suspect they'll continue to grow as I think and read and, hopefully, participate in some discussions but for now this is what I think.

I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed because I respect Elizabeth Edwards and my heart hearts for what she must be going through and what she went through in 2006. I respect John Edwards as well. So it is hard to have to confront these stories after giving money, support and a whole lotta public props to him.

I'm disappointed because this affair suggests that Edwards is both arrogant and a bad decision maker. Arrogant because he knew what he had done, knew that stories were circulating yet still decided to run for president. What if I had gotten my wish and he was our nominee right now? What kind of mess would the party be in now? A big one. To say the least. He knew it was a risk the story would come out and he chose to ignore that risk. Or he was arrogant enough to think it wouldn't happen. He was above the rules. Above the fall from grace. He risked the party--and his wife's humiliation--to run anyway. That's arrogance. I don't think I need to elaborate on the bad decision making. Seems a bit obvious.

I'm disappointed because the affair suggests that Edwards isn't as "pro woman" as he claimed. This is the man that said he was a better advocate for woman than Hillary Clinton. Of course, his wife actually made that claim but that is a blog post in and of itself. To be frank, he isn't even "pro" his own wife. How would he look out for my interests? He couldn't sacrifice his own sexual desires and needs for the good of his vision and a country full of women who were depending on him.

However....there's always a however....I hate judging people on monogamy or other moral grounds. As I've said in reference to Bill Clinton--do I want him as my husband, father, partner, etc...NO. But can he still be a good president? Yes... and no. I know that some would say no. Some would say that the lack of control and his lack of ability to weigh consequences discounts him from a successful presidential tenure. But John Edwards, extramarital affair or not, had (what I believed to be) the best vision for our country. Obviously that vision will not be actualized. He has lost all chance of gaining a spot in this cabinet or having his own administration in the future. But is that his fault or the fault of the American people who are unable to put aside our judgments and follow a leader because he betrayed his wife? People do things we disagree with. They make mistakes. They "sin." Does that mean they are unforgivable? I'd like to think not. I'd like to think that we are able to support someone politically even though we disagree with some of their personal choices. If not, where does the slippery slope end? Can we not elect someone who is a recovering alcoholic and has fallen off the wagon? Can we not elect someone who had an abortion? Don't we need more tolerance and less judgment in all areas of life? Hell, if we weren't so concerned with what goes on in people's bedrooms maybe someday we'll have a President who identifies as gay or lesbian. Imagine!

So, what I can't decide, is it fair to throw stones and forsake his ideas because he turns out to be a pompous ass with no self control?

[EDIT] Edwards' statement:
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. Although I was honest in every painful detail with my family, I did not tell the public. When a supermarket tabloid told a version of the story, I used the fact that the story contained many falsities to deny it. But being 99% honest is no longer enough.

I was and am ashamed of my conduct and choices, and I had hoped that it would never become public. With my family, I took responsibility for my actions in 2006 and today I take full responsibility publicly. But that misconduct took place for a short period in 2006. It ended then. I am and have been willing to take any test necessary to establish the fact that I am not the father of any baby, and I am truly hopeful that a test will be done so this fact can be definitively established. I only know that the apparent father has said publicly that he is the father of the baby. I also have not been engaged in any activity of any description that requested, agreed to or supported payments of any kind to the woman or to the apparent father of the baby.

It is inadequate to say to the people who believed in me that I am sorry, as it is inadequate to say to the people who love me that I am sorry. 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 have given a complete interview on this matter and having done so, will have nothing more to say.

[EDIT 2] Feminist's respond
http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/2008/08/09/john_edwards/index.html

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3 Comments:

Blogger Andi said...

I read about it this morning, and while I was not a big supporter of his from the get-go, I am still deeply disappointed.

Anonymous quakerdave said...

I am disappointed, but not surprised. I started believing it when the rumors first broke.

Mrs. Agitator tells me that if you took all the adulterers out of Washington, you couldn't run the country.

But that still doesn't give him an excuse.

Spouses should not cheat. Period.

Spouses who cheat should then not make a show of being good "family men" (or women).

Spouses who cheat on their partners while their partners are critically ill should burn in h-e-double hockey sticks.

(Paging Mr. Gingrich... paging Mr. McCain...)

BUT BUT BUT

Right NOW, THIS man holds no public office and has no responsibility to the public. He answers to no one but his wife.

So the right-wing media who are beating up on him today should just shut up.

Blogger Blake said...

I agree with every word, Kristen!

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