Scenes From a Political Marriage

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Posted January 12, 2010 by Kristian Lin in Blotch

Harry Reid has found trouble recently from Game Change, the upcoming book on the 2008 election. The real dirt, though, is on John and Elizabeth Edwards, as detailed in this excerpt in New York magazine. I just got through reading it, and my overriding thought was, “My. God.”

I never invested much in Edwards’ candidacy; the guy always struck me as a phony. That’s why I was so amused when the stories about his mistress came out. However, I didn’t suspect the layers of pathology at work behind his doomed run for the presidency. The article paints a toxic picture of a narcissistic, megalomaniacal politician and his passive-aggressive wife with a martyrdom complex. This is a political partnership that makes the Clintons’ marriage look healthy. The 2008 election was a piece of gripping historical drama, but this is one hell of a juicy subplot that’s just now coming to light.

Elizabeth Edwards’ defenders are once again out in force, with Lee Siegel penning this hysteria-tinged piece on The Daily Beast. He does make a good point comparing this to an HBO drama; the Elizabeth in the excerpt comes across like fictional cheated-on wife Carmela Soprano, swinging back and forth between rage, denial, and naked pleas for attention. Indeed, the article treats us to Elizabeth baring her surgical scars in an airport terminal and screaming “Look at me!” at her husband.

But Siegel’s dead wrong when he says the Edwardses only hurt themselves. What about the voters who believed John Edwards was the best man to run the country? What about the campaign workers who gave their time and hard work? What about the campaign contributors who wrote checks to the Edwards campaign, digging into their wallets with the country on the brink of recession?

And what about Hillary Clinton? She put up a tough primary fight, and there’s a pretty fair chance that Edwards’ candidacy pulled more voters away from her than from Obama. I’m not pining for a Hillary Clinton presidency, but if I were her, I’d read that and wonder if I’d be president today if that clown Edwards had stayed on the sideline. All in all, the article is so appalling, it almost makes me think Sarah Palin would have been a better presence in the White House than the Edwardses. Almost, that is.


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