The continuing awfulness of John Edwards

Hey, remember when John Edwards was running for president, and his wife’s cancer returned? And then he was caught having had an affair, and he lied about not having an affair? But then he had to admit that he did have an affair, but he denied that the child of the woman he had an affair with was his, but nobody believed him because he’s a liar who cheated on his wife who had cancer? And then he stopped running for president because nobody wants a president who cheats on his wife who had cancer and lies about it? Remember that? Yeah, this guy:

Mr. Edwards is moving toward an abrupt reversal in his public posture; associates said in interviews that he is considering declaring that he is the father of Ms. Hunter’s 19-month-old daughter, something that he once flatly asserted in a television interview was not possible. Friends and other associates of Mr. Edwards and his wife of 32 years, Elizabeth, say she has resisted the idea of her husband’s claiming paternity. Mrs. Edwards, who is battling cancer, “has yet to be brought around,” said one family friend.

Way to take responsibility after lying to the world, John Edwards! Especially now that nobody in America wants to ever hear your name again! Oh, also there’s this:

[P]eople who know Ms. Hunter said she was planning to move with her daughter, Frances, from New Jersey to North Carolina in coming months.

Those are going to be some fun Christmas dinners with the whole fam!

It’s not really fair to say that one case of adultery is worse than another. But in a recent Atlantic essay, Caitlin Flanagan put what Edwards did in perspective to devastating effect.

Writing about Helen Gurley Brown, Elizabeth Edwards, and infidelity, Flanagan first recounts the funeral of a teenage boy who died in a car crash — the same way the Edwardses’ son Wade died in 1996. Then she pivots to what John Edwards’s infidelity means in such a context:

Things fell apart when they tried to spade in the earth, and there was screaming and titanic grief, and you were in the position of watching someone being forced—physically forced—to bear the unbearable. At last it was done, and the family stumbled back up the hill to the air-conditioned cars with the liveried drivers, and the mother collapsed into one car, and the door was shut solidly behind her, sealing her into her shadowed madness.

“You are so hot,” Rielle Hunter said to John Edwards 10 years after he and his wife buried their first boy, and after they had started a new family, and after they had given their all to a presidential campaign—with the personal losses and long separations that come with it—and after Elizabeth had been diagnosed with cancer and undergone a disfiguring surgery and chemotherapy and lost her hair and been handed a recalculated set of odds about her life expectancy with two very small children who needed their mother.

What a creep.

10 responses to “The continuing awfulness of John Edwards

  1. Great blog about John Edwards. I’m not sure how people can live a double life, and look at themselves in the mirror every day.

  2. Wow. No, I didn’t remember…because I’m from Canada !! The worse (hum) thing Prime Ministers do or other political officials is…drink, do coke, have affairs that we never talk about, have big chins, bad scarves etc. Political life here is a bit stale.

  3. Bad scarves would definitely add a touch of class to any political scandal. American politicians should take note!

  4. Pingback: Short post, double lives « Life on a Screen

  5. He seems pretty despicable. Seriously.

  6. my first visit @your blog..
    nice to meet you

  7. he ran for president, yay!

  8. Visited your blog because of the headline about Edwards. I have thought him to be a total douche for years. Remember when he announced he was running for president by going to New Orleans with a shovel in his hand? It was incredibly transparent, and turned my dislike to complete hatred.

  9. first time reading you. I like your style.

  10. May you never lose a child in your own lifetime

    Cast no stones on those who must go through such a horrific circumstance

    Even the strongest have their lives WRECKED by child death. WRECKED. And first and foremost in this is that the relationship with the spouse gets strained.

    If anything judge Mr Edwards on his ability to persevere as long as he did.