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.