Why I truly detest John Edwards

A couple of days ago Sarah Palin strolled through the streets of New York City with a Jewish star visibly dangling around her neck. Unlike Ed Koch, Shawn Green, Jerry Seinfeld, Barbra Streisand, DJ White Owl, my Uncle Marty and the United States’ other 5.7 million Jews, Palin is a devout Christian. She calls herself a literal follower of the new testament, which—one can assume—means she believes we wacky Jews either accept Jesus Christ as our savior or burn in hell for eternity.

In other words, Palin—as Jewish as a ham-and-shrimp sandwich (with a bacon milkshake on the side)—wore the sacred symbol to pander. She knows Jews are miffed at the president, she knows an election is approaching, she knows Manhattan is the land of Hebrew National and Dr. Browns.

Hence, as a candidate I loathe Sarah Palin.

A couple of days ago, Mitt Romney officially announced his candidacy for the presidency. Once, not all that long ago, Romney forcefully supported gay rights and abortion rights, and led the charge for universal health coverage. Now, however, he lives and dies by the doctrine of Sean Hannity, spouting off right-wing crazy blather in the name of holding America’s highest office.

Hence, as a candidate I loathe Mitt Romney.

Why stop there? I think Newt Gingrich is a sham. I think Tim Pawlenty is clueless. I think Michele Bachmann is crazy and Rick Santorum even crazier (if that’s possible).

Were you to tell me I have to either vote for one of the GOP’s candidates in 2012 or change my name to Par Djoos while running naked through the streets of Ada, Oklahoma singing B*Witched’s To You I Belong with my hair on fire—well, call me Par and break out the extinguisher.

That said, I would pick any of the above dolts—even (egad!) the Alaskan Sharpshooter—over John Edwards.

In case you weren’t paying attention, on Friday the former Democratic golden boy was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he violated federal campaign finance laws by using more than $900,000 in contributions from wealthy benefactors to conceal his mistress and their baby while he was running for president in 2008. Though he pleaded not guilty to the charges, it doesn’t change the fact that, quite literally, Edwards cheated on his cancer-stricken wife (Elizabeth Edwards, who died in December), impregnated a woman (Rielle Hunter, a campaign videographer), lied about fathering the child and tried to cover the entire thing up. Hell, Edwards’ defense is as pathetic as the charges themselves—his attorneys will argue that the funds were used not for political but personal reasons (to conceal the affair from his wife), and were therefore legal

But while the manipulations were … hmm, what’s the right word here? Pathetic? Sadistic? Evil? Brothel-worthy … what kills me about Edwards is that, frankly, I believed in him. Though I leaned toward John Kerry during the 2004 Democratic primaries, I found Edwards’ man-of-the-people sensibilities to be both practical and inspiring. Here, for a change, was a politician who wanted to do well for the working-class American; who didn’t merely chase after the fat-walleted donors; who believed that this nation was suffering from a Grand Canyon-sized economic gap; who aspired to greatness.

Did it strike me as somewhat odd that he paid $400 for haircuts? Sure. Did his background as a class-action attorney turn me off? A tad. Was I worried about his jarring lack of experience? A smidge. But greatness was greatness, and in Edwards’ words, I heard legitimate greatness.

In 2008, therefore, I supported his campaign from the very first day, telling anyone who’d listen that the right person for the job wasn’t Hillary or Barack, but the former senator from North Carolina; the man with the glint in his eye and the compassion in his heart. Even as the nomination quickly slipped away, I insisted—hell, screamed at the top of my lungs—that John Edwards would alter the downward spiral of America.

He was my man. Our man. The man.

Now, three years later, I look back at John Edwards’ fall and wonder what the hell I was thinking.

I wonder how I could be so naïve.


6 thoughts on “Why I truly detest John Edwards”

  1. I think I understand why you dislike him. You believed in him and it turns out he is a horribly flawed man. you made a mistake. Yes?

  2. Agree with you for the most part on all of your opinions on these ‘candidates’.

    However, there is no way in hell I buy you voting for Sarah Palin over John Edwards. Too much history here that proves otherwise 🙂

    Not that I didn’t know this before, but the book ‘Game Change’ really showed me even more the type of traits you need to possess to succeed in most political arenas. Sadly, a lot of those traits expose some pretty flawed characters, regardless of party.

  3. All Politicians Suck

    You should really detest….yourself. All politicians are shams and you happened to fall in love with one of them who turned out to me MORE horrible than any of the Republicans you mentions. I know you lean to the left, but you chide these Republicans for their WORDS, not their ACTIONS. You fell in love with John Edwards WORDS and his ACTIONS are far worse than anything the Republicans have done.

    By the way, Palin is most likely pandering to the Florida Jewish vote by wearing the Star of David, but she did visit Israel and probably bought the necklace there. She is not the MOST offensive person wearing a Star of David in Times Square…you ever see the Black Israelites of Times Square?????

  4. You shouldn’t feel too bad, Jeff.

    John Edwards was one of the most charismatic liberal politicians in your lifetime.

    He was anointed the golden boy when he came to Washington in 1998. Edwards won a state-wide race in the Bible Belt during a year where Republicans made Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky a center-piece of their campaign.

    He was anointed a rising star when he got to Capitol Hill in 2008. John Kerry picked him as his VP nominee in 2004, after Edward finished his first term in office. The Southerner provided a friendly face and cheerful personality compared to the haughty New Englander.

    Edwards offered great hope for Democrats in 2008. He was arguably the party’s most attractive candidate since John Kennedy. He could win over Southerners, a region the party feared it could no longer contend in. And like Bill Clinton, his working class background prevented Republicans from tarring him as another limousine liberal.

    Early on in Iowa, Edwards carved out a niche as the populist candidate attuned to the needs of the poor and working class, a distinct alternative to the Left of Hillary Clinton (and Clinton centrism in general).

    But He had the misfortune of running against Barack Obama, who captured America’s imagination after his win in the Iowa Caucuses, and who enchanted the Left because he, unlike Edwards, had not cast a vote in favor of the Iraq War.

    So it’s perfectly natural that he’d be your guy in 2008 and understandable that you feel betrayed now that his indiscretions have come to light.

    All I can say is this: Never fall in love with a politician; they will always break your heart.

  5. Potential GOP candidates, who are disliked by most mainstream GOP’ers, Ron Paul and Gary Johnson might be your type of candidates. They are principled anti-war, anti-government waste, pro-civil liberties, socially liberal candidates — but you don’t hear about them in the mainstream media for various reasons. Either of these two would get this country back on the right track.

  6. As for Palin, I find your reaction to her Star of David necklace revealing.

    Israel has no bigger supporter in the United States than Christian evangelicals, as several Jewish conservative pundits have pointed out (notably Norman Podhoretz and Charles Krauthammer). But many Jews recoil from this support because of the criticism you raise of Palin: New Testament literalists believe Jews will go to hell unless they proclaim Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior.

    The conservative quarterly City Journal tackled the subject a few years ago. I’d encourage you to look at the article “Why Don’t Jews Like the Christians Who Like Them?”

    I think there’s something else that explains Palin’s support of Israel. I’d point you to a recent blog post from Walter Russell Mead:
    Being pro-Israel matters in American mass politics because the public mind believes at a deep level that to be pro-Israel is to be pro-America and pro-faith. Substantial numbers of voters believe that politicians who don’t ‘get’ Israel also don’t ‘get’ America and don’t ‘get’ God.
    We know Palin, if nothing else, sees herself as the champion of all things that are pro-America and pro-faith.

    As a libertarian, I find the GOP’s attachment to Israel fascinating. Sarah Palin is hardly alone in Republican circles with her steadfast support of the Jewish state.

    This hasn’t helped Republicans at the ballot box. A large majority (usually between 60-90%) of Jews have favored Democrats in presidential elections over the last century. President Obama won 78% of the Jewish vote in 2008.

    That’s not to say that your assertion—she’s pandering to the Jewish vote in Florida— is without merit. But I don’t think it should be a concern for Democrats: as Milton Himmelfarb once quipped: “Jews earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans.”

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