Who would have thought just a couple of years ago that the name John Edwards would have “disgraced” in front of it? Well, it does.
His name has become synonymous with cad, cheater, creep, you get the drift…Yet this former senator, presidential candidate and now recluse had managed until recently to keep his name out of the news. As they say in Brooklyn, “not no more”.
John Edwards is back in the public consciousness for two reasons. One, federal prosecutors are looking into whether his attempt to cover up his affair with filmmaker Rielle Hunter violated any laws. Second, and probably worse, his wife Elizabeth is on a publicity tour for her new book “Resilience”, which chronicles the tawdry goings on from her perspective. Certainly no one would argue with a scorned wife’s right to tell her side of the story, especially a wife who is battling cancer.
Still, there are people who worked for Edwards in both the Senate and on his presidential campaign who question her role in supporting his bid when she knew about the affair. She did write in her book, “He should not have run”. But that was a far different message than the one she projected on the campaign trail. And that may beg the central question for political junkies.
How far should a spouse or staff members go to stop the political equivalent of a train wreck?
Make no mistake. Elizabeth Edwards’ role in denying rumors of her husband’s affair kept many in the mainstream media off it until the National Enquirer made it impossible to ignore. Now one wonders if the book isn’t a thinly veiled attempt rationalizing that enabling. She wouldn’t be the first, for sure. One suspects there are many spouses of the political class who hide behind a tight lipped smile with full knowledge that their partners are stepping out on them.
But there aren’t many who would refrain from putting their foot down if their spouse was running for president. The potential for scrutiny and exposure is simply too great. For his part, John Edwards denies any wrongdoing in terms of the focus of the investigation. But didn’t he deny the affair in the first place? That’s the trouble with getting caught in a public lie. People aren’t inclined to believe your declarative statements any more.
There’s also the question of Rielle Hunter’s child. Who’s Baby is it? Edwards has steadfastly denied paternity, and a former aide has claimed he’s the father. But again, questions persist. It’s enough to conjure them all sitting in front of Maury Povich. Never mind, the thought alone is too bizarre. But it does open the question…..
What would you do if you were Elizabeth Edwards? Take my poll…