The Kid Is Not My [Daughter].
August 8, 2008 2:31 PM   Subscribe

John Edwards admits affair with campaign staffer. John Edwards did not father a love-child by Rielle Hunter, a 42 year-old campaign videographer. That was Andrew Young, a married Edwards campaign staffer. Edwards has not taken a paternity test, but he says that the timing of his own affair with Ms. Hunter rules out the possibility that he is the father.

There had been reports about the affair for some time, but Edwards dismissed them as "tabloid trash." With a few exceptions (including the tabloids), the media basically laid off the story.
posted by Slap Factory (219 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Lucky thing he didn't get the nomination or VP slot then, I guess. What a disappointment.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:33 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


During his wife's bout with cancer. Classy guy.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 2:35 PM on August 8, 2008 [8 favorites]


I blame Anne Coulter.
posted by felix betachat at 2:35 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, there it is, then. All out in the open.

I wonder what this will do to his political career? I don't see him running for President again with this admitted scandal under his belt...
posted by MythMaker at 2:36 PM on August 8, 2008


Alison? Alison Poole!
posted by R. Mutt at 2:36 PM on August 8, 2008 [3 favorites]



What makes people who literally live in the public eye think they can get away with ..... ? I wonder when Obama's/McCain's closet is going to start rattling.
posted by notreally at 2:37 PM on August 8, 2008


Well, it's still tabloid trash, isn't it?
posted by naju at 2:38 PM on August 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


Who gives a flying fuck?
posted by docpops at 2:39 PM on August 8, 2008 [16 favorites]


"I think this President has shown a remarkable disrespect for his office, for the moral dimensions of leadership, for his friends, for his wife, for his precious daughter. It is breathtaking to me the level to which that disrespect has risen," - John Edwards, on Bill Clinton, 1999.
posted by billysumday at 2:39 PM on August 8, 2008 [35 favorites]


Saxon Kane. I don't get it...
posted by punkbitch at 2:39 PM on August 8, 2008


What makes people who literally live in the public eye think they can get away with ..... ? I wonder when Obama's/McCain's closet is going to start rattling.

Joking? McCain has had many documented affairs.
posted by billysumday at 2:40 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I saw John Edwards speak when he was running for Senate ten years ago. I wasn't impressed then, and I'm damn sure not impressed now.
posted by infinitewindow at 2:40 PM on August 8, 2008



What makes people who literally live in the public eye think they can get away with ..... ? I wonder when Obama's/McCain's closet is going to start rattling.

Joking? McCain has had many documented affairs.

Yeah. But just wait til them bones start a rattlin.
posted by notreally at 2:42 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


...just wait til them bones start a rattlin.

With this press corps, I'm afraid I'll be waiting for quite some time.
posted by billysumday at 2:44 PM on August 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wow, am I amazed at the reaction this is getting.

This is all over Twitter, now here on Metafilter, and I'm with docpops on this one--so what? This happened two years ago, and now it's big news? Why?

Sure, it seems bad that he slept with this woman when his wife was dealing with cancer. I'd hate to be in her shoes, and it doesn't look good for their marriage, but again, it was two years ago.

And why does this mean he would suck as a VP? If we eliminated all the politicians that had affairs from office, there'd be no one running at all.
posted by misha at 2:45 PM on August 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


So, I wonder if Fox News will use the term "baby mama" now that it's actually somewhat appropriate? I'm guessing not.
posted by naju at 2:46 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I think this President has shown a remarkable disrespect for his office, for the moral dimensions of leadership, for his friends, for his wife, for his precious daughter. It is breathtaking to me the level to which that disrespect has risen," - John Edwards, on Bill Clinton, 1999.
posted by empath at 2:48 PM on August 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Lucky thing he didn't get the nomination or VP slot then, I guess. What a disappointment.

He couldn't even carry his own state in the 2004 presidential election. The guy is a douche.
posted by clearly at 2:49 PM on August 8, 2008


Who gives a flying fuck? Is that what you would say if you found out your wife cheated on you?

Uh, well, there's his wife and family, they give a flying fuck and a rat's ass. You don't do this to the people you love.

This sort of betrayal is a bad indication on one's character and judgement. Character and judgement are very important for a politician's future electability. Plus money and influence.
posted by Daddy-O at 2:49 PM on August 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


And why does this mean he would suck as a VP?

Yeah, I mean, it's not like he shot her in the face during a hunting accident.
posted by XMLicious at 2:50 PM on August 8, 2008 [13 favorites]


I don't believe it isn't his baby. But I sure hope it's not, because to distance yourself from your child like it's just another scandal is low.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:51 PM on August 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Looks like someone very powerful didn't want him to be VP.

I had a feeling that he was not trustworthy in the eyes of the ruling class. He was talking too much about the poor and corporate greed, military spending and healthcare during his campaign.


I wonder when Obama's/McCain's closet is going to start rattling.

They've both made it this far, so you won't hear anything. The fact that both have gotten this far means the powers that be are already certain neither will upset the status quo.
posted by Zambrano at 2:51 PM on August 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


He wasn't gonna be the VP anyway. It looks like Biden (plagarism) is on the short list, though.
posted by fixedgear at 2:52 PM on August 8, 2008


to distance yourself from your child like it's just another scandal is low.

That is exactly what I was thinking.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:53 PM on August 8, 2008


During his wife's bout with cancer. Classy guy.

John Edwards = Newt Gingrich

There. I said it.
posted by three blind mice at 2:57 PM on August 8, 2008


so what?

Presidential candidates, and Presidents, make mistakes all the time. Some big, some small. Some with world changing consequence; some without any at all. But character still means something to voters, and to me. How fucking hard is it to be faithful, really? How hard is it to honor your family, your commitments, and be true to your word? If you can't do it at home, why should anyone trust you to do it at work?

Most jobs don't require a huge amount of integrity and character to execute the job at hand. Most jobs just require you to show up, take care of some mundane tasks, and take home a paycheck. Presidents should have character and integrity out the whazoo, and then some, because they represent the US for the entire world. They should stand up as a testament to the pride, and class, and greatness that is this country. (Or something patriotic as such.)

Edwards can sit there and claim to fight for the poor, and claim to help the middle class, but in the end, he couldn't even fight for his wife in her time of need (though the exact dates of her cancer fight elude me, so don't quote me on the timeline).
posted by SeizeTheDay at 2:57 PM on August 8, 2008 [18 favorites]


Joking? McCain has had many documented affairs.

He gets a pass on these various things. Can't ruin the viewer numbers by having only one viable candidate left.

Somewhat similarly, you don't hear much about the statement, on the record:

McCain: I hated the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live.

Of course as per him that only applies to those specific Vietnamese that imprisoned him, like I could say "I hate the niggers" and it applies only to these two Black kids that (weakly) tried to rob me once.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:57 PM on August 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


Looks like someone very powerful didn't want him to be VP.

I had a feeling that he was not trustworthy in the eyes of the ruling class. He was talking too much about the poor and corporate greed, military spending and healthcare during his campaign.


Um sure. It must have been the ruling class. And corporate greed and such. Not impulse control. Or hubris.

The thing that gets me about this is the selfishness. Senator Edwards obviously knew about this affair. But he still featured his wife and their marriage and her struggles with cancer as part of his campaign.

It's not the hypocrisy. I expect the hypocrisy. It's just that he must have at least suspected that this would become public some day, but he kept campaigning.

What if he had secured the nomination and this came out in October 2008?
posted by Slap Factory at 2:58 PM on August 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


They've both made it this far, so you won't hear anything.

And Obama made it this far against the Clintons, so you know there isn't anything to hear.
posted by three blind mice at 2:58 PM on August 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


Looks like someone very powerful didn't want him to be VP.

You know what's a great way to prevent even the very powerful from exposing you as a man-whore who would jeopardize his career and his party by cheating on his cancer-suffering wife with a woman he didn't love while lying about it to the press? Don't cheat on your cancer-suffering wife with a woman you don't love.
posted by roystgnr at 3:00 PM on August 8, 2008 [8 favorites]


Edwards can sit there and claim to fight for the poor, and claim to help the middle class, but in the end, he couldn't even fight for his wife

And that says all you need to know about John Edwards.
posted by three blind mice at 3:00 PM on August 8, 2008


Son of a bitch. Russia's invading Georgia, and all CNN can talk about is John Edwards's infidelity?
posted by orthogonality at 3:02 PM on August 8, 2008 [36 favorites]


He'd better not throw away his toothbrush or clean his hairbrush any time soon - you know someone'll be going through his garbage to try to do a DNA test whether he wants one or not.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:04 PM on August 8, 2008


McCain: I hated the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live.

Of course as per him that only applies to those specific Vietnamese that imprisoned him, like I could say "I hate the niggers" and it applies only to these two Black kids that (weakly) tried to rob me once.


It's not like he did anything like push for open relations with Vietnam... And you're comparing what McCain went through for 5.5 years in the Hanoi Hilton with being robbed by two kids? WTF
posted by gyc at 3:05 PM on August 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well, it's still tabloid trash, isn't it?

My mum sez the Nat Enq is qualitatively different from the rest.
posted by yort at 3:06 PM on August 8, 2008


Son of a bitch. Russia's invading Georgia, and all CNN can talk about is John Edwards's infidelity?

I'm with you. For some reason, today feels like the day that the latex mask fell off and we get to stare directly into the machine's dead eyes. Every newsroom manager around the country is being obliged to weigh geopolitical tragedy against sports against titillating sexual infidelity. It's like the last ten years distilled into a single news cycle.
posted by felix betachat at 3:06 PM on August 8, 2008 [76 favorites]


This is going to completely ruin his chances of being elected leader of people-who-didn't-have-an-affair club. Other than that, meh.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:07 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Was this the rumor about a year ago concerning a presidential candidate that the clinton camp let slip? The Obama campaign, thinking it was about them, demanded that they lay their cards on the table and the Clinton campaign denied that had anything. Then people were speculating that it was Fred Thompson, because he spent a lot of time in Hollywood and surely he's had plenty of chances to fool around out there.
posted by chillmost at 3:08 PM on August 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Alison Poole = Rielle Hunter
posted by CCBC at 3:10 PM on August 8, 2008


Also, how could any gal resist such a sweet haircut?

kidding
posted by chillmost at 3:10 PM on August 8, 2008


"Character and judgement are very important for a politician's future electability."

well, THAT'S a relief, looks like GWB won't be running for office again!
posted by HuronBob at 3:12 PM on August 8, 2008


"Ma! Ma! Where's my Pa?"

The election of 1884

The mud-slinging began when a Buffalo newspaper broke the story that Cleveland had an illegitimate son, then ten years old, from an affair with a young widow named Maria Halpin. Republicans crowed, "Ma! Ma! Where's my Pa?" [Refer to the cartoon, "Another vote for Cleveland."] But instead of issuing a denial, Cleveland surprised both his allies and opponents alike with a frank admission of responsibility. He instructed his campaign advisers: "Tell the truth." Yes, Cleveland (a bachelor) had been involved with Maria Halpin (as had other men, apparently), and although he could not be sure the child was his, nonetheless he did "the honorable thing" and provided financial support. This took much of the air out of the scandal.
posted by R. Mutt at 3:14 PM on August 8, 2008 [8 favorites]


Presidential candidates, and Presidents, make mistakes all the time. Some big, some small. Some with world changing consequence; some without any at all. But character still means something to voters, and to me. How fucking hard is it to be faithful, really? How hard is it to honor your family, your commitments, and be true to your word? If you can't do it at home, why should anyone trust you to do it at work?

Most jobs don't require a huge amount of integrity and character to execute the job at hand. Most jobs just require you to show up, take care of some mundane tasks, and take home a paycheck. Presidents should have character and integrity out the whazoo, and then some, because they represent the US for the entire world. They should stand up as a testament to the pride, and class, and greatness that is this country. (Or something patriotic as such.)


I don't know. I heard all this nonsensical outrage through the second term of the Clinton administration. I'd muster some outrage about Edwards' infidelity if we had Bush and Cheney behind bars for their lies -- which have killed and maimed millions, by the way, and bankrupted the country -- but until then, this is just another extramarital affair that straight, privileged folks get put into the mainstream news feed so they can cut each other down.

It's an affair that, at the end of the day, doesn't really concern anyone but Edwards, his immediate family, and Hunter. Now can we get back to shit that really matters, like jobs, health care, and ending the war?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:14 PM on August 8, 2008 [29 favorites]


At least it wasn't with a guy.
posted by chugg at 3:15 PM on August 8, 2008


It's refreshing to see someone into something traditional. I was afraid animals or vacuum accesories were going to be involved.
posted by docpops at 3:18 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am sure that the news reports will include a musical background of Billy Jean and man, this is disappointing. Not because it is John Edwards, per se, but it is never good to see a relationship take this kind of blow.
posted by jadepearl at 3:19 PM on August 8, 2008


Republican scandals are always about money and power; Democrat scandals are always about sex. I guess sex is the lesser of two evils, but this is still very disappointing.
posted by Daddy-O at 3:20 PM on August 8, 2008


How fucking hard is it to be faithful, really? How hard is it to honor your family, your commitments, and be true to your word? If you can't do it at home, why should anyone trust you to do it at work?

-

You know what's a great way to prevent even the very powerful from exposing you as a man-whore who would jeopardize his career and his party by cheating on his cancer-suffering wife with a woman he didn't love while lying about it to the press? Don't cheat on your cancer-suffering wife with a woman you don't love.

-

Um sure. It must have been the ruling class.

People wonder why Americans are ridiculed. It's full of naifs and boy scouts who don't understand how the real world operates.

The President of France had a mistress- and had kids with her. And yet people there understood it had nothing to do with his job.

As for not understanding who really pulls the strings in D.C., you must be a teenager posting something that naive.
posted by Zambrano at 3:28 PM on August 8, 2008


Republican scandals are always about money and power; Democrat scandals are always about sex.

Since when? Larry Craig's a Republican, isn't he? Isn't David Vitter a Republican?
posted by blucevalo at 3:28 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Remaining to be explained: why did he visit her at two in the morning in a hotel in Hollywood, a couple of weeks ago?

Republican scandals are always about money and power; Democrat scandals are always about sex.

You mean like "Dollar" Bill Jefferson's freezer full of cash in New Orleans? Or Kwame Kilpatrick's current legal problems relating to graft? Lots of Democratic scandals about money, believe me.
posted by Class Goat at 3:28 PM on August 8, 2008


Republican scandals are always about money and power...

Larry Craig, Mark Foley, David Vitter, Jack Ryan, Vito Fossella, Jeff Gannon, Matt Sanchez, Ted Haggard, and Bruce Barclay would like to have a word with you.
posted by MegoSteve at 3:29 PM on August 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


I should have said usually?
posted by Daddy-O at 3:31 PM on August 8, 2008


If he had become president, he'd have had a better chance of getting impeached than Bush does.
posted by homunculus at 3:31 PM on August 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure why I'm supposed to care, besides in a vague "feel bad for his wife" kind of way. It's none of our fucking business.
posted by Flunkie at 3:31 PM on August 8, 2008


John Edwards = Newt Gingrich

Let's see.

Gingrich: Republican

Edwards: Democrat

Gingrich's political philosophy: drown government in bathtub

Edwards' political philosophy: government is here to serve and help people

Gingrich: discussed divorce with his wife while she was in the hospital being treated for cancer; was having extramarital affair while calling for impeachment of Clinton for same

Edwards: Had affair while wife was being treated for cancer - no sign so far of divorce


By god, you're right! They're exactly the same!
posted by rtha at 3:32 PM on August 8, 2008 [11 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon writes "Now can we get back to shit that really matters, like jobs, health care, and ending the war?"

Not so fast. First we have to bash the gays, then we have to re-fight the Vietnam War and establish that we're losing in Iraq because of dirty hippies spitting on our troops. Maybe after that, but we're already going to be really strapped for time fitting in "the war on Christmas". Oh, wait, there's a Missing White Girl....
posted by orthogonality at 3:33 PM on August 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Since when? Larry Craig's a Republican, isn't he? Isn't David Vitter a Republican?

Not on Fox News. Mark Foley (D-Buttsechs)
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:36 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


The chair is not my son.
posted by docpops at 3:36 PM on August 8, 2008 [3 favorites]




As for not understanding who really pulls the strings in D.C., you must be a teenager posting something that naive.

Wait... wait... I've heard this one. It's the Masons, right? The Masons?
posted by Justinian at 3:39 PM on August 8, 2008


The President of France had a mistress- and had kids with her. And yet people there understood it had nothing to do with his job.

What they didn't understand was that it something to do with his lack of character, sense of responsibility, and judgement. I'll bet Elizabeth Edwards wishes her husband was more of a boy scout and less of a Frenchman who didn't have any more control over his dick than a stray dog does.
posted by Daddy-O at 3:40 PM on August 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Wolf Blitzer: "There's a war going on," but first, let's dissect this alleged John Edwards affair for 5 hours!
posted by blucevalo at 3:40 PM on August 8, 2008


Wrong thread, Wolverine!
posted by orthogonality at 3:40 PM on August 8, 2008



I had a feeling that he was not trustworthy in the eyes of the ruling class. He was talking too much about the poor and corporate greed, military spending and healthcare during his campaign.


Spare me. He IS the ruling class. He's a multi-millionaire lawyer turned senator who in his spare time runs for president. If anything he's a living example of why we need tort reform/damage caps.

His rhetoric is nothing special. Its not even the far left of the democratic party. He's a guy who did something stupid, that's all. No need for conspiracy theories.

Although there's some humor in the photos they are finding of this woman. She looks as surprised as anyone.
posted by damn dirty ape at 3:41 PM on August 8, 2008


Leave it to MetaFilter to defend a guy who cheated on his cancer-ridden wife. Democrat or Republican, impeached or not, you want a guy who cheats on his dying wife as your leader? I'm voting for Obama; this isn't politics as usual. It's a former Presidential candidate who actually helps the Republican base tout its perverse set of family values.

And let France have its philandering President. It also has one of the worst performing economies in the EU, and Sarkozy, because the country is in such disarray, is actually in the process of repealing its 35 hour work week because the French lag Europe in productivity.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 3:43 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's the Masons, right? The Masons?

Pfft. Someone hasn't been keeping up up on their Metal Gear Solid.
posted by cortex at 3:43 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


and then there is the Yiddish expression that says that when the dick stands up the brain goes to sleep.
posted by Postroad at 3:44 PM on August 8, 2008


Let's see, Clinton was (is) a sleazebag in his personal life. So now we have Bush, a happily-married family man with no hint of scandal more recent than 20 years ago. And in contrast to the economic and political devastation of the Clinton years, we've been enjoying harmony, peace, and prosperity for the last 8.

Edwards behaved like a dick, but should his unrelated political career be over because of it? I guess we really do get the government we deserve.
posted by Mr Bunnsy at 3:52 PM on August 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


Maons? Try the Trilateral Comission.
posted by fixedgear at 3:56 PM on August 8, 2008


Bloggers seem to be willing to criticize Edwards for putting the Democratic party at risk by running for the nomination, but it seems to me that that criticism can be leveled just as easily at his wife. She knew about the affair when he decided to run too, and she was as willing to put the party, the cause of universal health care, etc. at risk for the sake of his ambition as he was.
posted by gsteff at 3:59 PM on August 8, 2008


Leave it to MetaFilter to defend a guy who cheated on his cancer-ridden wife. Democrat or Republican, impeached or not, you want a guy who cheats on his dying wife as your leader?

You know -- god forbid that I have been suddenly elected to represent the entirety of Metafilter's opinion on the matter, apparently -- but if I had to choose, I'd happily follow the mentally competent, morally empathetic adulterer over the mentally disabled, wholly amoral murderer.

I'm voting for Obama; this isn't politics as usual.

You would vote for someone who used hard drugs, but you won't vote for a cheating husband. I think with these fellows you'll have a very hard time applying any consistent or coherent moral calculus.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:59 PM on August 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


As for not understanding who really pulls the strings in D.C., you must be a teenager posting something that naive.

Get back in the basement, Mulder.
posted by chiababe at 4:00 PM on August 8, 2008


I wonder if she referred to him as Mr. President at certain moments.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:01 PM on August 8, 2008


It's the fact that he jeopardized the presidential election that bothers me the most (not that the rest of it doesn't bother me). If Obama hadn't entered the presidential race, you can be pretty sure Edwards would have been the top anti-Clinton contender and would have had a damn good chance of pulling off the same campaign Obama did.

Had that happened, we would have had an instant John McCain presidency, rather than just a sensational and overblown news cycle.

John Edwards was my favorite candidate by a good margin in the primaries; I had his bumper sticker on my crappy car and gave him a decent chunk of money. And had I gotten my way we would have lost for sure.

I, for one, don't like having to feel that way.
posted by billypilgrim at 4:02 PM on August 8, 2008 [10 favorites]


This happened two years ago, and now it's big news? Why?

Because the baby in question was born in February, and the National Enquirer has been claiming that the affair has been ongoing. And the Enquirer reported in late July (couple weeks ago) that Edwards had a tryst with Hunter at the Beverly Hilton in LA--from something like 10pm to 2:30 am. A meeting that Edwards now admits (presumably because they have photographs) but has not explained. He said that he confessed to his wife in 2006 but that she did not know about the hotel meeting.

It could be that the baby's father is Andrew Young, an Edwards staffer, as Young has claimed. In which case Hunter was having simultaneous affairs with both? Or alternating? Or Edwards does have some reasonable explanation for the midnight hotel meeting? It doesn't really add up.

Also, the fact that Edwards ran for president himself and was angling for a position in an Obama administration (VP? AG? HHS?) or god forbid SC? while knowing that this was out there, shows how much he put his own interest above that of the democratic party. What if he'd got the nomination, and this story broke in October?

Bad judgment. He's an arrogant creep.
posted by torticat at 4:02 PM on August 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


god forbid that I have been suddenly elected to represent the entirety of Metafilter's opinion on the matter, apparently

Please, don't flatter yourself.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 4:03 PM on August 8, 2008


Justinian writes "It's the Masons, right? The Masons?"

The Jackie Masons, if jew know what I mean.
posted by orthogonality at 4:03 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Of course, McCain cheated on the wife who worked tirelessly to get him back from the Hanoi Hilton. Cheated on and dumped for an heiress 20 years younger than him. I see no problems for Edwards a few years down the road if McCain can now run for president.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:04 PM on August 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


Russia has invaded Georgia, and therefore -- what? You and I don't face the choice of invading other countries or not every day. But John Edward's sin is very much like the sin any of us may be tempted by any day. We are interested because it is something we can identify with. We are interested to see the consequences, and whether or not they reinforce or oppose our expectation. There's also the study in the character of the sinner: Edwards was actually willing to accept his party's nomination, knowing that he had this in his immediate past, and could have been outed by the press at any moment, virutally handing the nation over to four more years of Republican rule -- an outcome that may have resulted in hundreds if not thousands of additional deaths in Iraq or in some other military adventure. In other words, he was willing to lie and let others die. All for the pleasure of a non-cancerous woman's company. That is really amazing. But Russia's attack on Georgia is just another barbarous act by the same barbarous country that prosecuted one of the ugliest, dirtiest wars of all time in Chechnya, and no one paid much attention to it. I can't see the scale of value represented by the news coverage is all that skewed. We have no control over Russia. We all have control over our own bodies.
posted by Faze at 4:04 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


La-le-lu-li-lo ??
posted by palidor at 4:06 PM on August 8, 2008


I mean, yes, the Masons.
posted by palidor at 4:08 PM on August 8, 2008


There's an interesting possibility that few, if any, journalists raise during such a scandal - what if it's not infidelity, at least not as it is usually defined?

Sure, that's the most common, and likely, interpretation: people cheat all the time. But there are many couples that exist under different rules - rules that, if made public, would automatically disqualify the candidate from political office in the United States (whereas, paradoxically, voters are, by and by, able to forgive or overlook straightforward infidelity). There is strong evidence that Hillary Clinton knew of and tolerated her husband's affairs, for example; that the wife of New Jersey governor James McGreevey knew her husband was gay, or at least bi, and experimented sexually with him, before he was forced out of the closet. The same is true of Republicans caught in sex scandals, albeit less likely for a number of reasons.

Heck, on MetaFilter we have out lesbians married to gay men, happily swinging couples, poly arrangements of every hue and shade. Explaining the circumstances of those arrangements - the subject of many an AskMefi post - can be complex, embarrassing and ultimately futile, especially to those who believe that heterosexual monogamy for life is the be-and and end-all of human relationships.

So there is the possibility, albeit remote, that Elizabeth Edwards, being treated for cancer, said to her husband "You know, this is going to take me out of commission for awhile. And I know you're surrounded by attractive women all the time. So if you have sexual relations, I'll understand - just made it safe, discreet, and over by the time I am recuperated."

But even if that was the arrangement, few are strong enough under the glare of public scrutiny to step forward and say so. It's a lot easier to play along with the charade of what the public and media assumes: that it was cheating.

The best answer, under either circumstance: "Yes, I had relations with that woman. My wife has forgiven me. Since you've made it your business to find out, so should you."
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 4:08 PM on August 8, 2008 [29 favorites]


The worst sin any politician can commit. Worse than killing millions in a war started on a lie, worse stealing billions from the treasury and giving it outright to campaign donors, worse than mortgaging the country into debt for generations, worse than rolling back environmental, economic and health regulations so corporations can reap more blood profits. Cheating on one's wife is the worst sin bar none.
posted by any major dude at 4:09 PM on August 8, 2008 [11 favorites]


If John Edwards had been a Republican, he'd have done the right thing. Divorced the sick wife and married the babe he had an affair with. It worked for Gingrich, Dole and McCain.

Well, I guess we've finally heard the last of those malicious "John Edwards is Gay" attacks...

Anyway, it's the kind of assholish behavior that happens when you start your Presidential campaign the day after you lost the Vice-Presidency. I was saying all along that "for Edwards to be credible in '08 he has to do something besides campaign for 4 years"... JUST NOT THAT.
posted by wendell at 4:11 PM on August 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


She knew about the affair when he decided to run too, and she was as willing to put the party, the cause of universal health care, etc. at risk for the sake of his ambition as he was.

I generally fall into the "who cares, it's their private business" camp, but this reads as distasteful to me. Let's not blame the victim.
posted by the_bone at 4:11 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Please, don't flatter yourself.

Oh, I haven't. I was just calling out that rhetorical tactic. Don't worry about it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:11 PM on August 8, 2008


I mean, it's not like we impeached a president for an extramarital affair.

Oh, wait. We. Totally. Did.

It's not like John Edwards knew anything about that.

Oh, wait. He. Totally. Did. Wait, wait, it gets better! In fact, he depositioned Monica Lewinsky and Vernon Jordan as part of the Senate proceedings!

I actually liked John Edwards, too. I'd have voted for him.

I think with these fellows you'll have a very hard time applying any consistent or coherent moral calculus.

Indeed. But I think I'll hold my nose and vote for Obama anyway.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:14 PM on August 8, 2008


You would vote for someone who used hard drugs, but you won't vote for a cheating husband.

And Blazecock Pileon, wtf? Obama used drugs in his teens. A candidate cheating during the campaign (if he did) or after his wife got a terminal diagnosis (he is carefully placing the affair during the time Elizabeth's cancer was in remission, but as I said hasn't explained the hotel meetup last month) has much more serious moral and judgment problems than someone who experimented with drugs in his youth.
posted by torticat at 4:14 PM on August 8, 2008


Go Cocks!
</obvious>
posted by spock at 4:14 PM on August 8, 2008


Wait... wait... I've heard this one. It's the Masons, right? The Masons?

Didn't they also make Steve Guttenberg a star? "Dancing With the Stars" is grateful.
posted by inigo2 at 4:16 PM on August 8, 2008


It's amusing to watch the evolution of responses to this on Daily Kos (where the "Soup D'Jour" is "sour crow"). They kinda went through the Kübler-Ross grief cycle, spending (perhaps) a bit more time on "Denial" than they really should have; shouting down and troll-rating anyone who dared to give it any credence and posting several premature diaries mocking the Enquirer. Most are still lingering on "Depression" instead of moving on to "Acceptance".
posted by RavinDave at 4:16 PM on August 8, 2008


Bora Horza Gobuchul, I suspect that your scenario has a strong possibility of being true... however, Edwards still hired his mistress to work on his campaign and make minimal contributions for huge compensation... Plus, if there's the possibility of a baby, it means there was unprotected sex. So I still think he's an idiot in this particular case. But that doesn't make him a poor politician, or make me admire his work any less. The fact that this type of "scandal" is grounds for disqualification from office in this country, even when the candidate is not running on a "family values" platform depresses me.
posted by Mr Bunnsy at 4:18 PM on August 8, 2008


Indeed. But I think I'll hold my nose and vote for Obama anyway.

I will, too, but I'm under no illusions about the guy, and don't really see him as a better choice than Edwards. If anything, John Edwards actually had clear positions on matters of consequence to the country. On some important matters, it is still not clear what Obama really stands for, and who he will throw under the bus, when the time comes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:23 PM on August 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Who cares? He has been done politically for some time.
posted by caddis at 4:27 PM on August 8, 2008


I don't understand why people don't understand why powerful men think they can get away with this: men seek power to get women. obviously, there are other motives, too-- but getting lots of women is a primary one for many and probably at least a subconscious motivation for most. once you have the power, why *wouldn't* you use it to get "extra pair copulations"? it's only extremely recently that this produced negative political consequences of any sort.

for the vast majority of human history-- up until only a few decades ago here and still virtually everywhere else in the world-- it would have simply gone with the territory. if a powerful man *didn't* have mistresses, that was seen as peculiar. now we sit around and go tsk tsk tsk.

To me, it only matters if someone has gone around crusading against abortion or polygamy or something relevant. If he doesn't want to make laws to prevent other people from doing what he does, why should we care? As far as I know, Edwards didn't moralize about adultery and homosexuality and other "family values" issues, so I don't see this as hypocritical.

Sad, and cruel to his wife-- totally. But McCain left his wife for his mistress (now his wife) when she was ill. How come he's electable?
posted by Maias at 4:32 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Screw you too, Edwards.

I'll never understand why these idiots do this stuff. They are the most watched human beings on Earth. They think they can keep a secret? When dozens of people have to know about it for it to even happen?
posted by DU at 4:32 PM on August 8, 2008


But McCain left his wife for his mistress (now his wife) when she was ill. How come he's electable?

Good question.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:35 PM on August 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


As far as I know, Edwards didn't moralize about adultery and homosexuality and other "family values" issues, so I don't see this as hypocritical.

Ahem.
posted by padraigin at 4:36 PM on August 8, 2008


The best answer, under either circumstance: "Yes, I had relations with that woman. My wife has forgiven me. Since you've made it your business to find out, so should you."

Runner up: "Look, I wanted to shag the meth-addled poolboy, but no crossing party lines in an election year."

Looks like only we libertarians stand without fault or blemish, because nobody elects and/or sleeps with us.
posted by kid ichorous at 4:36 PM on August 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Obama: Well, this is a tragedy, certainly. But I'm happy to be able to say I'm the kind of man who has never cheated on his wife, and never would.

McCain, spluttering: Um...uh...the votes of self-described "moral" people are important to me, and...

um...uh...

/dream sequence
posted by mediareport at 4:36 PM on August 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


But McCain left his wife for his mistress (now his wife) when she was ill. How come he's electable?

Statute of Limitations.
posted by Class Goat at 4:37 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


John, this isn't what I meant when I suggested that you try to appear more Clintonesque.
posted by ColdChef at 4:38 PM on August 8, 2008 [5 favorites]


Hmm. Olympics starting, Russia invading its neighbor, and a penis-related story. Now them are legs! Run, story, run! I guess Edwards finally found out what it would take for him to get headlines over Obama (or Clinton). It's hard to integrate into a primary campaign, though.
posted by Busithoth at 4:41 PM on August 8, 2008


Republican scandals are always about money and power; Democrat scandals are always about sex.

Ahem.
Republican Sex Scandals.

Republican Pedophilia.

Republican Hypocrisy Revealed.
posted by ericb at 4:46 PM on August 8, 2008


Err ... wait (as per Faux News): Mark Foley (D), Larry Craig (D), David Vitter (D), etc.
posted by ericb at 4:48 PM on August 8, 2008


But McCain left his wife for his mistress (now his wife) when she was ill. How come he's electable?

If I could play devil's advocate, it's all about context. McCain's issues came in 1979, following his years of captivity, subsequent physical rehabilitation and continued military service. At no point in this time did he seek public office. His first wife's injuries occurred while he was a prisoner. He divorced his first wife, and Wikipedia indicates he remains on good terms with her and the children from that relationship, and moreover accepts blame for the events.

Edwards, on the other hand, apparently started this relationship after the Clinton scandal, so he can't argue that he didn't know the scope of the potential repercussions, and continued the relationship while actively campaigning, knowing the potential repercussions to his party. His wife's cancer was diagnosed around the same time, and became a newsworthy event during the campaign. Moreover, when confronted by the press, he initially dodged and called the allegations "lies."

So, why is one more palatable than the other? Context. I think Americans don't really care that much about sex, and are likely closer to the French on this than they care to admit. But Americans generally hate this stuff when it's looked at in context with everything else.

Look at the first two comments to this thread -- a comment about the danger this poses to the current Democratic VP search and campaign, and a comment about the timeliness of the relationship in context with his wife's illness. The uproar is the sex in context with everything else.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:50 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is anyone really shocked or indignant about this? Money and power attract lots of people and Edwards had both. Plus, politicians and lawyers aren't, as a group, the most ethical people in the world.
posted by jonmc at 4:51 PM on August 8, 2008


Looks like only we libertarians stand without fault or blemish, because nobody elects and/or sleeps with us.

SNUGGLE RON PAUL
posted by cortex at 4:53 PM on August 8, 2008 [7 favorites]


When a supermarket tabloid told a version of the story, I used the fact that the story contained many falsities to deny it. But being 99% honest is no longer enough.

lawyers. yeesh.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 4:53 PM on August 8, 2008


uh....
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 4:56 PM on August 8, 2008


Rielle Hunter, a 42 year-old campaign videographer.

You thinking what I'm thinking?
posted by jonmc at 4:57 PM on August 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


You thinking what I'm thinking?

Not until just this minute, no. But thanks for that. ;-)
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:03 PM on August 8, 2008


SNUGGLE RON PAUL

For some reason Dalek is the only voice that does this justice internally.
posted by kid ichorous at 5:07 PM on August 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


You thinking what I'm thinking?

Uhuh
posted by ob at 5:08 PM on August 8, 2008


It's full of naifs and boy scouts who don't understand how the real world operates.

Of course we understand that some people's promises are meaningless; that doesn't mean we have to approve of it.

If you and your spouse want an open marriage, that should be your business. But these scandals typically arise from unilateral decisions, and expecting nobody to care that you can share life-altering vows with your fingers crossed is ludicrous.

And yet people there understood it had nothing to do with his job.

Oddly enough, I usually hear that kind of excuse-making from the right, not the left. "Sure, he may have repeatedly lied to his wife, but we can trust him." You're the first to be so bold as to claim that your attitude makes you less naive, though.
posted by roystgnr at 5:08 PM on August 8, 2008


Bora Horza Gobuchul: "So there is the possibility, albeit remote, that Elizabeth Edwards, being treated for cancer, said to her husband 'You know, this is going to take me out of commission for awhile. And I know you're surrounded by attractive women all the time. So if you have sexual relations, I'll understand - just made it safe, discreet, and over by the time I am recuperated'."

That woulda made her like, the best wife on the planet.

I don't have any problem with John Edwards personally. Professionally I never woulda voted for him because I'm not looking for a religious zealot to run this country. We've had more than enough of those. I disagreed with a lot of his opinions about our country. I've grown very chagrined and sceptical of anyone who wraps themselves in The Written Word. I learned from Swaggart and countless others, that it means they have something to hide.

As for the role of president being someone of character? We've had utter boobs in office since Andrew Jackson. On rare occasion we get a Lincoln or a ...uhm...

My problem at this point with Edwards isn't his infidelity. That's between he, his wife, and his Maker. Why do we make it our business what a man in such a powerful position does in private? These guys (and gals) are only human. I'd be very surprised if there's a single individual in congress who hasn't had some infidelity in his or her lifetime. When you are in a position of power, people throw themselves at you. I don't want someone completely immune to that - it'd mean they had a heart of water and a robot brain.

I would rather Edwards do that in private than what Bush has been doing in private, which 'officially' is nothing and we're powerless to stop it why? Cuz he's doing it behind closed doors. There's no conclusive evidence. There's just the aftermath: a country that's owned by corporate interests with a thinly veiled resemblance of freedom and choice to appease the ignorant masses.

My problem at this point with Edwards is his hypocrisy. He dissed Clinton for the same thing, and distanced himself, and now he's been caught. Oh, but I'm sure for him this is different. I'm sure he has all kinds of excuses, under his unique circumstances and blah blah blah blah bull.

Frankly I'm shocked by some of the reactions in here. As if you are all a bunch of saints and angels and would never commit a sin. Let he who is without sin cast open their mouth and put a foot in it.

You are not going to find a saint or an angel to put in public office. Stop looking. It's the ones who successfully convince you they are angels, who are the greatest wolves of them all.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:09 PM on August 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


You thinking what I'm thinking?

Actually wait a sec -does it involve lobsters, a whole roll of Duck tape, Prussian Army Helmets and a smattering of Dijonaise?
posted by ob at 5:12 PM on August 8, 2008


The late-night hotel visit, I'm guessing, was because Edwards knew the shit was about to hit the fan, and he probably wanted to meet with the woman to prepare her for the media onslaught that was about to begin.

Or maybe they just had some sex.
posted by emelenjr at 5:15 PM on August 8, 2008


Son of a bitch. Russia's invading Georgia, and all CNN can talk about is John Edwards's infidelity?

I was watching CNN earlier today the talking head was going on and on about how he could no longer personally trust Edwards. He stopped ranting to say that he had a statement from Obama on the subject and started reading...
“I strongly condemn the outbreak of violence in..."
He then apologized saying he must have had the wrong paper.
No just the wrong priorities.
posted by Tenuki at 5:15 PM on August 8, 2008 [17 favorites]


Looks like only we libertarians stand without fault or blemish, because nobody elects and/or sleeps with us.

Haven't examined the Libertarian Party's current Presidential candidate too closely yet, have you?

Of course, he was a reactionary Republican Congressman during his affair/divorce, back before the Libertarian Party ran TV ads that helped thwart his reelection campaign. But he totally swears that he's a libertarian now, who bears no ill will toward the people who got him kicked out of Congress and who doesn't believe in any of that police state stuff he used to vote for. And we can trust him, right? I've recently been assured that lying to your wife has nothing to do with whether or not you would lie for personal gain on the job.
posted by roystgnr at 5:23 PM on August 8, 2008


What makes people who literally live in the public eye think they can get away with ..... ? I wonder when Obama's/McCain's closet is going to start rattling.
posted by notreally at 2:37 PM on August 8


Obama's been under the microscope for a long time, anything he has to hide is already out there. McCain is a Republican who divorced his wife and married a younger, wealthier woman when his wife was still undergoing additional surgeries to recover from a life-threatening car crash...if that's any more classy than Edwards, well, so be it.

You have the impression that this will be treated fairly by the "liberal" media - Edwards is a Democrat, so this is going to somehow have everything to do with Obama, and McCain is going to get a free pass. IOKIYAR.

Just sayin'
posted by Chuffy at 5:28 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


They've both made it this far, so you won't hear anything. The fact that both have gotten this far means the powers that be are already certain neither will upset the status quo.
posted by Zambrano


Don't underestimate the power of the Clintons. Hillary still thinks she can get the nod if something like this comes out on Obama. I wonder if he bowed out so early because Hillary knew and was gonna use it against him?
posted by Chuffy at 5:31 PM on August 8, 2008


His first wife's injuries occurred while he was a prisoner.

She was still on crutches when he returned, nearly four years after the accident.

He divorced his first wife

9 months after he had begun the affair. He got a marriage license while he was still married, and wed five weeks after the divorce was final.

I think the only reason this is "palatable" now is that it happened before he was really in the public eye (though he was certainly in "politics", as the Navy liaison to the Senate). Though for anyone saying that Edwards' cheating means he can't be trusted at all (and there are people saying that), then it follows that that's got to be true of McCain as well. Particularly since McCain cheated with more than the one person he ultimately married.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:39 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


And let's not forget the sex parties in the White House with the young boys that George HW Bush threw...

or Jeff Gannon

or Newt Gingrich

or Ted Haggard

or Jack Ryan

Hell, let's just get a list.
posted by Chuffy at 5:41 PM on August 8, 2008


"I think this President has shown a remarkable disrespect for his office, for the moral dimensions of leadership, for his friends, for his wife, for his precious daughter. It is breathtaking to me the level to which that disrespect has risen," - John Edwards, on Bill Clinton, 1999.

That's only because we take these personal affairs so seriously here in the US. In many other countries, affairs make the tabloids but don't get much further than that. We've made marital fidelity a prerequisite for running for any high political office, which has nothing to do with the duties of said offices, but does have a lot to do with our cultural issues.

Not that people should be proud of their indiscretions, but we really do focus far too much on this. Still, like Clinton, he should have known this is a deal-breaker in American politics, and it's really not considered professional, even though a lot of people get away with it. His relationship with his wife is his business, though.

And, like others have mentioned, McCain shouldn't get a pass, either. If we're to have such ridiculous unspoken rules to politics, they should apply equally to everyone.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:41 PM on August 8, 2008


Barr's no more than an odious castaway from a sinking ship, as are many of the neocons-in-libertarian-clothing that take public shelter under the big-L rubric rather than own up to their disastrous policies. Something that will have to be rectified in the long term, but in the shorter term: guess who he's going to be taking votes away from come November?
posted by kid ichorous at 5:46 PM on August 8, 2008


My problem at this point with Edwards is his hypocrisy. He dissed Clinton for the same thing, and distanced himself, and now he's been caught. Oh, but I'm sure for him this is different. I'm sure he has all kinds of excuses, under his unique circumstances and blah blah blah blah bull.

Yeah, but this is the game, and this is how it's played. I imagine it's not personal but rather more like CYA. I don't like it, either, but I see this as going through the motions. Edwards was much younger then but probably imagining a presidential run in the future and did not want this to stick to him. Remember the 2000 campaign, and how everyone was trying to avoid ol' Bill? Clinton killed the Dems' chances in 2000 far more than Nader ever did. And, true, this shouldn't be public stuff, but he should have known better, and so should Edwards. They know the game. They aren't stupid. Just incredibly foolish. For Elizabeth Edwards' sake and for the sake of their causes I hope this can be yesterday's news tomorrow.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:52 PM on August 8, 2008


Rielle Hunter=Lisa Druck. What was Monica Lewinsky's real name?
posted by Xurando at 5:53 PM on August 8, 2008


ericb: Republican Sex Scandals.
Republican Pedophilia.
Republican Hypocrisy Revealed.


Let's not forget the other side of the story, eh?

Top 10 Democratic sex scandals
Democratic scandals

Everybody up there is dirty. Neither party is a paragon of virtue, though they both pretend to be.
posted by Class Goat at 5:56 PM on August 8, 2008


I think the only reason this is "palatable" now is that it happened before he was really in the public eye (though he was certainly in "politics", as the Navy liaison to the Senate). Though for anyone saying that Edwards' cheating means he can't be trusted at all (and there are people saying that), then it follows that that's got to be true of McCain as well. Particularly since McCain cheated with more than the one person he ultimately married.

The subtext to the McCain story can never be used as campaign fodder by Obama, and it's that he married Cindy to provide himself a springboard to political office, not to mention a nice little nest egg. Of course, this can never really be proven, although it's definitely been discussed by those who knew McCain at the time, but it's all speculation about someone's motives during a very personal situation, and that won't really work for Obama. But flogging Edwards certainly would work by any opponent, so he's done running for the executive for at least the next eight years or so.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:59 PM on August 8, 2008


Wikipedia indicates [McCain] remains on good terms with her and the children from that relationship

Oh, please. I remember reading that the kids from McCain's first marriage still don't talk to the woman he married in his second (yeah, that's just rumor since I'm not bothering to find the cite, but it sure fits). And many pieces have noted that Carol's acquiescence to the divorce came after McCain told her he'd pay for her medical bills for the rest of her life, and give her their beach home in Florida and rights to their DC town house. Ailing Carol was hardly in much of a position to refuse, since, as oneirodynia pointed out, her husband was already fucking someone else, a position Carol once described as being married to someone who was "turning 40 and wanting to be 25 again."

Bottom line is there's NO FUCKING WAY McCain can be excused for his bullshit behavior at the time. And, you know, that behavior started long before he went off to Vietnam; he was known as a jackass from early on. Check Matt Welch's eye-opening book for more.
posted by mediareport at 6:06 PM on August 8, 2008 [8 favorites]


If you didn't read CCBC's link up there, you ought to. Not only is Alison Poole the "protagonist" of Jay McInerney's best book, Story of My Life, she's also a major character in the first half of Bret Easton Ellis's Glamorama. While the book as a whole is uneven, that first half is as good a satire of America's celebrity culture as I've ever read, and Poole might be the least sympathetic character out of a loathsome bunch. Interesting, to say the least.
posted by Bookhouse at 6:19 PM on August 8, 2008


Looks like only we libertarians stand without fault or blemish, because nobody elects and/or sleeps with us.
I totally thought that read Librarians. I've been reading a different thread in my mind.
posted by device55 at 6:23 PM on August 8, 2008


I think Americans don't really care that much about sex, and are likely closer to the French on this than they care to admit.

If you mean the Louisiana French, perhaps that's true. But if you mean the French people who live in France, then I think you're having a laugh.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:29 PM on August 8, 2008


If you didn't read CCBC's link up there, you ought to.

Wow, that's true. Thanks. Jay McInerney dated John Edwards' mistress back in the 80s? When she was known as "Lisa Druck"?

Jesus, that's good stuff.
posted by mediareport at 6:31 PM on August 8, 2008


*sigh* A typical Democrat sex scandal: a heterosexual affair between consenting human adults. Seems like only Republicans know how to be really, really filthy.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:37 PM on August 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


I could give a flying fuck if John Edwards had an affair. If took a chance on his marriage, that's between him and his wife. (And it is possible that there were arrangements between the Edwards' prior to this).

But to gamble on the Democratic party, and effectively half the country is so fucking stupid it makes my head spin. Edwards came this close (ok, maybe not so close, but still, in the top 3) to getting the nomination. Before all this people were still talking about a VP slot. And if he were in either position right now, McCain would be cruising to the presidency.

In a way, it's not Edwards' fault. We're the ones in our armchairs judging the man for his act. Were we French, or Japanese, or any number of other cultures that don't see infidelity as a good thing, to be sure, but see it as separate from the job someone is doing.

Here's a hypothetical: you're a PR manager and you've interviewed two men for a job. One man is highly qualified but cheats on his wife. The other is pretty unimpressive but is faithful to his wife. Who do you hire?
posted by zardoz at 6:42 PM on August 8, 2008


a heterosexual affair between consenting human adults. Seems like only Republicans know how to be really, really filthy.

So a heterosexual affair between consenting adults is less "filthy" than a homosexual one?

Way to think that one through.

*golf clap*
posted by mediareport at 6:43 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I also think there's a difference between making a boilerplate political statement about the Clinton situation and going on a moral crusade to change laws to demonize people who engage in the practices that you do, a la Mr. Wide Stance.

I guess there's a good evolutionary reason for our hypocrisy on this issue. it is the ideal evolutionary situation for both genders to have a partner who doesn't cheat while you can cheat and get away with it when it is to your reproductive advantage. Our cortexes twist themselves in horrendous knots trying to rationalize this, however.
posted by Maias at 6:45 PM on August 8, 2008


If you mean the Louisiana French, perhaps that's true.

we geh-rawn-tee it!
posted by jonmc at 6:45 PM on August 8, 2008


mediareport: bear in mind that the Repubs in question seemingly invariably have made loud public stands -- of not actual legislation -- opposing homosexuality or some aspect of it. I speak in terms of hypocrisy on that particular detail. (And it was at least in part for humorous effect.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:45 PM on August 8, 2008


Our cortexes twist themselves in horrendous knots trying to rationalize this, however.

Hey now.
posted by cortex at 6:54 PM on August 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


I wonder if he bowed out so early because Hillary knew and was gonna use it against him?

This is a really interesting question. Imagine if both the Obama and Clinton campaigns knew. They both let him stay in the race, thinking he would draw votes from the other. After Iowa and New Hampshire, it becomes clear that Edwards is stealing Clinton's new-found base, the "white working-class voter," and she forces him out. Oh, the many things we'll never know...
posted by one_bean at 7:02 PM on August 8, 2008


> This happened two years ago, and now it's big news? Why?

It's news today because the mass-market media (with the exception of the tabloid National Enquirer and Mickey Kaus at Slate--scroll on down, he's been at it for quite a long time) sat on the story as long as they possibly could. The blackout even applied to some blogs: the L.A. Times directed its in-house bloggers not to mention the matter. If newspaper bloggers don't seem like real bloggers to you, Lee Stranahan was banned from dailykos for mentioning it. But all the media channels have become increasingly embarrassed by the silence. The dam burst today--Edwards admitted the affair to ABC and the rest couldn't avoid reporting that.


> Democrat scandals are always about sex.

This one isn't. Just as in the case of the erstwhile President Clinton, it is about lying--indeed, about oathbreaking. The Enquirer broke this story in October of last year and Edwards roundly denied it. He has kept right on denying it since: both while he was an active candidate for the Democratic nomination and more recently while he was a short-list candidate to become Obama's vice-president. Any of you who have indulged in outragefilter over eight years of Republican lies (that will include most of you) will not be wanting to cut any other politician any slack for sustained brassy lying merely because you may have liked or supported that pol in the recent past. Because if you do, that will likely make you aware of some, uh, convolutions in your own characters, awareness of which might dilute the pure, clean pleasure of internet judgmentalism for you.

As for why is it about oathbreaking: Edwards got married in church, where marriage promises are given upon oath, with God and all your friends and family standing witness (you'll at least grant the friends and family part.) Indeed, he and Elizabeth Edwards recently renewed their vows on their 30th anniversary (WaPo, second item down; story also mirrored by democraticunderground.) A man who finds he can't keep his marriage oath is a man who can't trust himself to keep any oath, e.g. an oath of office.

A man takes an oath only when he wants to commit himself quite exceptionally to the statement, when he wants to make an identity between the truth of it and his own virtue; he offers himself as a guarantee. And it works. There is a special kind of shrug for a perjurer; we feel that the man has no self to commit, no guarantee to offer. - Robert Bolt, introduction to A Man For All Seasons.

Oh, and here's Thomas More himself, in the play, speaking to the same point (from Act II):

When a man takes an oath, Meg, he's holding his own self in his own hands. Like water. And if he opens his fingers then — he needn't hope to find himself again.
posted by jfuller at 7:05 PM on August 8, 2008 [7 favorites]


zardoz writes "Here's a hypothetical: you're a PR manager and you've interviewed two men for a job. One man is highly qualified but cheats on his wife. The other is pretty unimpressive but is faithful to his wife. Who do you hire?"

I know this one! The white guy! The white Christian Republican guy!
posted by orthogonality at 7:06 PM on August 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


Here's a hypothetical: you're a PR manager and you've interviewed two men for a job...

Considering your options, you should probably interview more people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:36 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here's a hypothetical: you're a PR manager and you've interviewed two men for a job. One man is highly qualified but cheats on his wife. The other is pretty unimpressive but is faithful to his wife. Who do you hire?

How did you come to learn this about their private lives?

Probably, if you're in PR, you hire the squeaky clean one. But I'm wondering how this information would come to be known. Hypothetically.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:44 PM on August 8, 2008


A man who finds he can't keep his marriage oath is a man who can't trust himself to keep any oath, e.g. an oath of office.

Sometimes a person loves something more than marriage, so it's entirely possible for them break the oath of marriage and still remain faithful to that something else.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:48 PM on August 8, 2008


You were making a good point, up until you said this:

Because if you do, that will likely make you aware of some, uh, convolutions in your own characters, awareness of which might dilute the pure, clean pleasure of internet judgmentalism for you.

As far as oathbreaking, anyone who is not faithful to their spouse is guilty of this, and that's a lot of people, probably a lot of people you know. Human romantic relationships are complicated, intimate and messy. I can't get really angry about someone I don't know who cheats on their spouse. You shouldn't concern yourself with the motivations of people posting to a message board on the Internet. Who cares? I certainly didn't elect any of them, and they aren't accountable to me at all. Our elected officials are supposed to be accountable to us, however.

It makes me a bit ticked off to see those purported paragons of virtue and self-appointed arbiters of personal morality fall to the basest of desires, but it doesn't surprise me. It does make me angry when those people try to restrict people's legal rights according to their moral code which they can't seem to live by, themselves. That is rank hypocrisy. This is pretty bad, because Edwards betrayed his party and his wife, but it's not the same as a social conservative who legislates against personal sexuality getting caught violating his own principles he claims to live by as a politician. But the fact that Edwards made such a point of nailing Clinton doesn't look good, though that really is all about political games, not a political platform in itself.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:56 PM on August 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


According to CNN, Elisabeth Edwards made a post on Daily Kos about this and wrote:
"The fact that it is a mistake that many others have made before him did not make it any easier for me to hear when he told me what he had done. But he did tell me. And we began a long and painful process in 2006, a process oddly made somewhat easier with my [cancer] diagnosis in March of 2007. This was our private matter, and I frankly wanted it to be private because as painful as it was I did not want to have to play it out on a public stage as well."
Hell, he did something awful, told her and the family and they worked through it privately. It actually sounds a bit honorable, shame that it's on public stage now.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:06 PM on August 8, 2008




Probably, if you're in PR, you hire the squeaky clean one. But I'm wondering how this information would come to be known. Hypothetically.

You used the Google, of course. Because that's what all douchebag human resource people do nowadays. I don't know why they don't just friggin' drive to the people's houses and knock on neighbor's doors, asking about the characters of their job applicants, because that's about the same level of unnecessary intrusiveness. Just because you can google someone doesn't mean you should.
posted by electrasteph at 8:11 PM on August 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


You used the Google, of course. Because that's what all douchebag human resource people do nowadays. I don't know why they don't just friggin' drive to the people's houses and knock on neighbor's doors, asking about the characters of their job applicants, because that's about the same level of unnecessary intrusiveness. Just because you can google someone doesn't mean you should.

Uh, that is exactly what they do - knock on your neighbor's door - if you apply for secret or top secret clearance. Might have caught a guy like Bruce Ivins before he killed people.
posted by fixedgear at 8:25 PM on August 8, 2008


You used the Google, of course. Because that's what all douchebag human resource people do nowadays. I don't know why they don't just friggin' drive to the people's houses and knock on neighbor's doors, asking about the characters of their job applicants, because that's about the same level of unnecessary intrusiveness. Just because you can google someone doesn't mean you should.

I suppose you're right, although I can also see how that would seem like the most logical, easy step to take to size someone up. Still sort of the lazy way, and would probably be more professional to call references instead. But certain professions do have standards which require a level of public behavior that could be ascertained by a Google search, although we're talking about things like PR, as in the example, or professional positions in the public trust, like attorneys. Also if you're getting any sort of government clearance. In certain cases your non-professional life is not considered to be entirely private, and it's not so awful if it's part of the understood standards, that someone hiring you would be looking at your public behavior. But it shouldn't be done in a sneaky way, though I'm sure it is a good deal of the time.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:26 PM on August 8, 2008


The ability to effectively lead and the propensity to fuck around seem to go hand in hand.
posted by Camofrog at 10:18 PM on August 8, 2008


It's news today because the mass-market media (with the exception of the tabloid National Enquirer and Mickey Kaus at Slate--scroll on down, he's been at it for quite a long time) sat on the story as long as they possibly could. The blackout even applied to some blogs: the L.A. Times directed its in-house bloggers not to mention the matter. If newspaper bloggers don't seem like real bloggers to you, Lee Stranahan was banned from dailykos for mentioning it. But all the media channels have become increasingly embarrassed by the silence. The dam burst today--Edwards admitted the affair to ABC and the rest couldn't avoid reporting that.

I could really care less about the scandal, but the Cone of Silence treatment from the press I find pretty odd — I don't believe for a second it was really out of respect for Edwards and his family. What was their motivation for sitting on the story, especially after Slate and the Enquirer ran with it? That's not the filthy, loathsome press I've come to know and love.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:20 PM on August 8, 2008


And let France have its philandering President. It also has one of the worst performing economies in the EU...

SeizeTheDay: What? You seem to be knowledgeable about the subject so I hesitate to think your comment is simply ignorant, but I was under the impression that France had one of the strongest economies in the world (let alone the EU.)
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:22 PM on August 8, 2008


It could be that the baby's father is Andrew Young, an Edwards staffer, as Young has claimed. In which case Hunter was having simultaneous affairs with both? Or alternating? Or Edwards does have some reasonable explanation for the midnight hotel meeting? It doesn't really add up.

"Paging Povitch, Maury Povitch, to the front desk, please..."

The ability to effectively lead and the propensity to fuck around seem to go hand in hand.

It certainly answers the question of who leads the leaders.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:52 PM on August 8, 2008


KrinklyFig: "Yeah, but this is the game, and this is how it's played."

Screw the game.

Hate the players.

They make the game.

Besides, players only love you when they're playing.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:55 AM on August 9, 2008


"Here's a hypothetical: you're a PR manager and you've interviewed two men for a job. One man is highly qualified but cheats on his wife. The other is pretty unimpressive but is faithful to his wife. Who do you hire?"

Standard MeFi answer: Any man who is so low down and base enough to put that piece of his flesh into the flesh of a woman that he hath not pledged lifelong devotion to, yea, let him be struck down as a thief or a killer, for just as that man would place his flesh into the flesh of your wife, soeth would he always place his hand into your pocket and avail himself of your money.

Sex is kind of like a photograph or an mp3 -- I can give it to you one night, and then go away and give it to twenty different people the following night and I haven't deprived you of the original great sex you had the night before.

But not everyone sees it as that sort of zero sum game. Some people here embrace a kind of SteamPunk set of values. They're kinda shiny and *look* well engineered, but when you start using them you notice that the brass is just plastic sprayed to look like brass. And of course, as soon as they start getting in the way of your own enjoyment or satisfaction -- off they come and straight into the garbage they go.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:58 AM on August 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Did the current president of the US do hard drugs when he was young?

He sure did.

Is the U.S. now in the most precarious state, on the verge of the worst depression in a hundred years.

Yep.

You'd be blind not to see a connection there.

Also, wasn't the US attacked by terrorists shortly after being governed by an adultering president for two terms? There you have it, what more proof do you need that a president with a history of drugs or extramarital affairs is the worst possible thing that can happen to America.
posted by sour cream at 2:14 AM on August 9, 2008


jfuller: "A man who finds he can't keep his marriage oath is a man who can't trust himself to keep any oath, e.g. an oath of office."

Holy fucking shit. You honestly believe that? Really? You rubbed two brain cells together and that pooped out? Are you yanking my chain? You gotta be blowing smoke up my hairy ass!

We're led to believe that our current national governor is squeaky clean in the fidelity department. He allegedly has never two-timed on his wife. There may be evidence to the contrary, but I've yet to hear any come to light: he loves his wife and wouldn't fuck around behind her back.

I won't question that. I'll grant him that much.

George W. Bush has also repeatedly committed moves that have caused greater jeopardy to this country and besmirched the name of America in the eyes of the rest of the world. REPEATEDLY. With the Patriot Act, George W. Bush has treated our constitution like toilet paper. REPEATEDLY. He refuses to invest in stem cell research due to atrociously insipid and misguided interpretations of scripture, which means he's left countless Americans to die, who could have been saved by that research. REPEATEDLY he's chosen to side with large corporations at the expense of Joe Taxpayer. He refuses tax reform. He refuses to reform our healthcare system. He tried to privatize social security - which was a promise and an oath that FDR made to the American people. REPEATEDLY, in the name of fighting a war over an irrational emotion, GW has unnecessarily put American men and women at risk as Commander In Chief for reasons that are not in the best interests of the American people. He's spent billions of our tax dollars on a war that is impossible to win. He lied to us when he said Mission Accomplished. He's lied to us again and again. REPEATEDLY.

GWB, your little angel savior who'd never break his oath with his wife, has REPEATEDLY BROKEN HIS OATH OF OFFICE and the only reason he hasn't been impeached is because PELOSI HAS NO FUCKING BALLS.

And you have the gaul to tell me a man who sleeps around a little can't keep ANY oath? Like a marriage oath and the oath of a president have anything remotely to do with each other?

Why don't you try making applesauce with a bucket of oranges, and then ram that down your own throat? I swear, the stank of bullshit in this thread is worse than the Trinity River.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:17 AM on August 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'd *expect* you to use the French spelling of "gall".

/I keed.
posted by RavinDave at 2:48 AM on August 9, 2008


I think Americans don't really care that much about sex, and are likely closer to the French on this than they care to admit. But Americans generally hate this stuff when it's looked at in context with everything else.

ah, context. yes, context.

the context of a news cycle with Putin sending tanks to invade Georgia, and a book coming out revealing that Bush ordered the Director of Central Intelligence to forge a backdated letter to create a fake link between Al Qaeda and Baghdad. This news cycle is obviously dominated by the story of a private citizen and also-ran who has had an affair.

That's the all-important context.

But then, the "Putin invades Georgia" story involves bad PR for Bush's best Russki friend, and involves people knowing that it's not the Georgia where the fine city of Atlanta is that we're talking about -- so it requires effort. The "Bush ordered the CIA to write a fake letter full of lies to bait America into war with Iraq" makes the blame for the lies leading to the Iraq war -- its body count, its trillion-dollar price tag, the chaos in the Middle East, the shamefully weak dollar, the out of control gas prices -- land squarely on Bush and Cheney's desk. Impeachable offense if there ever was one.

But then, Presidents get impeached over blowjobs and semen stains, not over lies to drag America into war.

re: the hilarious "Americans ... are likely closer to the French on this than they care to admit", are you aware of the fact that Mitterrand not only had a longtime mistress but also a daughter with his mistress, something everybody in the French media and Parisian political circle knew about and that was quietly ignore for something like 18 years? When in America, only a couple years later, Clinton got impeached and almost removed from office for having a woman of legal age willingly suck his cock? Are you aware of this and are simply spinning the truth or are you not aware of this? Ignorance or bad faith? The same French who quietly watched their President, only months ago, dump his wife for a supermodel/pop singer with no political consequence? Are you really comparing them to America? Are you an ignorant or a liar, really?

Anyway, on to more interesting topics than Cool papa Bell. when Obama loses in November -- and I really think he's going to lose, probably there won't be any need of the Supreme Court's or Diebold's intervention either -- please come back to this thread, to this news cycle, and you'll understand why he lost.

It's just silly to blame the media -- the US media, for all its bad faith and reflexive worship of big corporate power, after all it is owned by big corporations -- is ignoring the news that happen abroad (unless it's sports, ie the Olympics) because they're hard to understand for much of the TV-watching (ie, ad-watching) public who don't even have a passport and couldn't probably locate Russia, much less Georgia (not the one where Atlanta is), on a map. The media is also ignoring the news about Bush and the CIA director writing fake letters because the only possible consequence of heavy, in-depth coverage (such as the coverage they gave to, say, Clinton's cock and Gary Condit's cock) would be impeachment, and removal from office, and nobody wants that (not even the spineless Democrats, so badly led by Ms. Pelosi and that silly little man from Nevada).

You have the media you deserve -- and the President you deserve.

President McCain will make a splendid addition to this tableau vivant.
posted by matteo at 3:12 AM on August 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


PS I won't even comment on our slobbering Bush supporter jfuller having the gall to attack Edwards for lying. I mean, really. an ode to truthfulness from a Bush/Cheney man.
posted by matteo at 3:15 AM on August 9, 2008


hee!
posted by ZachsMind at 3:52 AM on August 9, 2008


MetaFilter: You blowin' smoke up my ass with that shit?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:58 AM on August 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think it was 'hairy ass.'
posted by fixedgear at 5:47 AM on August 9, 2008


jfuller: "A man who finds he can't keep his marriage oath is a man who can't trust himself to keep any oath, e.g. an oath of office."

zachsmind: We're led to believe that our current national governor is squeaky clean in the fidelity department. He allegedly has never two-timed on his wife. [...] [But] George W. Bush has also repeatedly committed moves that have caused greater jeopardy to this country and besmirched the name of America in the eyes of the rest of the world. REPEATEDLY.

Sure, but B does not imply A is no contradiction of the original statement, which was A implies B - infidelity implies breaking your oath of office.

posted by kid ichorous at 6:37 AM on August 9, 2008


Now, why did we have to drag the Gauls into this?
posted by dirigibleman at 6:41 AM on August 9, 2008


Caesar: I have the gaul...
posted by kid ichorous at 6:42 AM on August 9, 2008


> And you have the gaul to tell me a man who sleeps around a little can't keep ANY oath?
> Like a marriage oath and the oath of a president have anything remotely to do with each
> other?

I didn't say that, Zach. I said he can't be trusted to keep any oath. Different thing.

If he makes and than breaks oath X, that shows he is able to work his mind around to the point where breaking an oath is excusable to him. If he's got that trick down, he may apply it to any oath that becomes inconvenient. When he takes an oath he may keep it, he may not, I don't know. His stating upon oath that X is true no longer influences me to believe X, as it would if I knew he took his oath so seriously that he had never broken it in any instance. No trust, get it?

It's like a pink-furred Bigfoot, Zach. As long as I've never seen one I'm pretty confident there aren't any. But as soon as I see one example, just one, that makes it entirely possible that there may be others.


> PS I won't even comment on our slobbering Bush supporter jfuller having the gall to
> attack Edwards for lying. I mean, really. an ode to truthfulness from a Bush/Cheney man.

matteo, the reason the names you call me never make me mad is that stuff doesn't hurt unless it's at least a little bit true. Calling me a Bush/Cheney man is like calling me a pink-furred Bigfoot. I just go "Huh? What on earth is this nutball on about?" and then my happy butterfly mind flutters on to the next flower. Have a nice sabato, hope you don't have to work.
posted by jfuller at 8:23 AM on August 9, 2008


Russia's invading Georgia, and all CNN can talk about is John Edwards's infidelity?

The NBC Nightly News last night had the following stories in the opening summary, in the following order: John Edwards had an affair; the Olympics are beginning; Russia invaded Georgia; hey, the guy carrying the flag in the opening ceremonies is a Lost Boy of Darfur; eight sure is a lucky number!
posted by oaf at 8:36 AM on August 9, 2008


Oh boy, another politician had an affair. Wake me up when this blows over.
posted by ChickenringNYC at 8:37 AM on August 9, 2008


God, a lot of you people, get off your high horses! Is this comparable to the death of even one human being? It is not! Do people's private lives reflect their public lives? Very often, not!

About the cancer: my friend's sister was dying of cancer. One day, my friend was in the kitchen with her brother-in-law, and he grabbed her breast. It was very distressing for her, but she concluded that he'd temporarily lost his marbles due to the stress of years of dealing with this slowly-winning cancer.

The sister died, the brother-in-law and my friend have remained family and he never did anything inappropriate again - ever. He's remained the most decent human being (and also a fine actor).

People do weird inappropriate things when confronted with the death of someone they care about. The real question is not, "Did Edwards go off and get a blow-job(*) and some comfort, while strung out because his wife was very likely dying?" but, "Did he support his critically-ill wife? Was he there for her when she needed him?"

The sickening thing about the Gingrich issue isn't that he put his penis into another woman; it's that he deserted someone who depended on him at the moment she needed him the most.

(* - or whatever....)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:40 AM on August 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I am and have been willing to take any test necessary to establish the fact that I am not the father of any baby, and I am truly hopeful that a test will be done so this fact can be definitively established," Edwards said.... A former Edwards campaign staff member professes to be the father.

So basically, Rielle Hunter was the campaign cum-catcher. Classy woman.

In this article, Rielle Hunter praises John Edwards for being "open and willing to try new things and do things in new ways." The news of their affair kind of puts a new spin on that statement. So just how kinky is John Edwards?
posted by jayder at 8:46 AM on August 9, 2008


To everyone who's wringing their hands about how marital infidelity == weak character, I'd like to point out an underlying assumption that I have a problem with. You assume that all marriages are functionally similar, that there are no open marriages, troubled marriages, or marriages of convenience or money or power.

I feel that you can never look into another marriage or family and understand it. The wealthy and powerful will always have mistresses (and misters?) It's not my concern; the issue is entirely between the married couple and the third person.
posted by workerant at 8:51 AM on August 9, 2008


I feel that you can never look into another marriage or family and understand it.

And I suppose you also feel that we can never look into another life and understand it. The logical extension of this view is that we can never criticize other people's behavior, because, not being them, and not understanding completely what the motives and contexts of their actions are, we are in no position to judge them.

It's a rather weak argument, in my view.
posted by jayder at 9:35 AM on August 9, 2008


The logical extension of this view is that we can never criticize other people's behavior, because, not being them, and not understanding completely what the motives and contexts of their actions are, we are in no position to judge them.

You know how sometimes you catch a bus you've never caught before, and you're going in the general direction you want to be going, and then out of nowhere the bus turns, and now you're going in a different direction, and you're looking out of the window intently, but it's useless, because nothing looks familiar, and just when you decide you should get off and head back whence you came, the bus turns again and you're headed in the right direction, so you settle back down, check the bus map, and just when you feel like you're almost there...

it's a rather weak argument, in my view.

The bus turns again...
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:21 AM on August 9, 2008


Edwards on marital fidelity, 8 mos ago, to CBS:



Katie Couric: Harry Truman said, "A man not honorable in his marital relations is not usually honorable in any other." Some people don't feel comfortable supporting a candidate who has not remained faithful to his or her spouse. Can you understand their position?

John Edwards: Of course. I mean, for a lot of Americans, including the family that I grew up with ... it's fundamental to how you judge people and human character: Whether you keep your word, whether you keep what is your ultimate word, which is that you love your spouse, and you'll stay with them...

Couric: So you think it's an appropriate way to judge a candidate?

Edwards: Yeah. But I don't think it's controlling. I mean, I think that, as you point out, there have been American presidents that at least according to the ... stories we've all heard, that were not faithful, that were in fact good presidents. So I don't think it controls the issue. But I think it's certain ... something reasonable for people to consider.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:32 AM on August 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Calling me a Bush/Cheney man is like calling me a pink-furred Bigfoot

even pink-furred Bigfoots flee sinking ships, nowadays.

it's pretty sad that you're dumping your guys now that nobody really likes them anymore. I liked you better in the good old days when you called the UN and their fans a bunch of rapists, you certainly had more verve. backing that big BUSH/CHENEY 04 truck up is a bit beneath you (or maybe not, thinking about it)

anyway, a Pinko Bigfoot favorite moment thanks to Google (20 seconds):

Oh for ghod's sake. Hitler offered Britain a deal, too, right before WWII. And Britain accepted it. Headline: PEACE IN OUR TIME!. Neville Chaimberlain: "I have here, from herr Hitler, a piece of paper."

If you're in favor of negotiating with torturers then, as they say of the net, I consider you damage and will route around you.
posted by jfuller at 2:42 PM on November 6, 2003 [+] [!]


Back then we were all a bunch of appeasers to the Nazis -- but feel free to tell us again how bad it is to torture people -- you know, in hindsight.
posted by matteo at 11:52 AM on August 9, 2008


What is the world coming to when a man of position and wealth is caught boning a woman who looks like THAT? Shakes my faith in the power of power. You can do much much better Johnny.
posted by refrigerateafteropening at 12:25 PM on August 9, 2008


My being against Saddam's torturing people means I must be in favor of Bush and co. torturing people? My being against Edwards lying means I must be in favor of Bushco lying? Old friend, the logic that got you there must have been complex. I'm afraid you're still stuck in the twisty little passages section. Remember, the trick is to leave recognizable objects behind--think Hansel und Gretel and you'll be out in a jiffy.
posted by jfuller at 12:27 PM on August 9, 2008


The bus turns again...

You're either on the bus, or you're off the bus.
posted by fixedgear at 12:31 PM on August 9, 2008


The bus is a traitor.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:40 PM on August 9, 2008


Joe Klein: It's none of our business.


Taegan Goddard: Yes it is.



also:

a woman who looks like THAT?

Nice. No doubt from a real paragon of pulchritude, too.
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:11 PM on August 9, 2008


JFuller: "I didn't say that, Zach. I said he can't be trusted to keep any oath. Different thing."

Again, your correlation is false.

GWB has not broken his oath of marriage (so far as we know) but he HAS broken his oath with us.

There is no rational argument that confirms Edwards would break an oath of office because he broke his oath with his wife. Maybe he would maybe he wouldn't, but the fact he had sex outside of marriage does NOT confirm that one way or the other. They are arbitrary.

Zero correlation. Your attempts to fabricate such correlations are why this thread smells like elephants are sitting on it.

By the way JFuller, I made a video just for you. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 2:27 PM on August 9, 2008


AAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHH! George W. Bush subverted the constitution. He overrides Congress with no more authority than his sweet smile! Dick Cheney SHOT someone. George Tennant fabricated intelligence! Don't even get me started on Monica Goodling, John Yoo, and Alberto Gonzales. Why do we care who John Edwards, who is not even an elected official, fucks? Please please please can we do something about the ACTUAL CRIMINALS WHO RUN OUR GOVERNMENT.

sorry. better now. kinda.
posted by nax at 2:27 PM on August 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I adore Elizabeth Edwards. I think she is one of the classiest, smartest, and most liberal people who speaks up frequently in American politics today. She is also a devoted feminist. As another devoted feminist, I ask that people refrain from the extremely offensive sexist insults against the woman involved in this relationship. There's nothing feminist, progressive, liberal, or classy about insulting her.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:03 PM on August 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


If there is a correlation between marital infidelity and leadership ability, I would bet serious money that it would be inverse: ie, the ones that keep it in their pants probably don't govern too well. The correlation between *getting caught* at it these days, OTOH...

Given the link throughout the mammalian world between dominance and sexual success long before you even get to humans, to think that human leaders wouldn't be prone to this is absurd.

I'm kind of amazed that there aren't any studies of this though..
posted by Maias at 3:27 PM on August 9, 2008


Anyone who doesn't think this episode reveals something important about John Edwards' character is a lunatic.
posted by mediareport at 3:40 PM on August 9, 2008


Maybe so, mediareport, but who gives a flying fuck about John Edwards' character?

There are just too many important things going on in the world right now to devote any airtime to this.

Otoh, the more coverage this gets, the less time you will spend thinking about important issues, such as ... let's see ... oil prices, the coming implosion of the economy, war in Russia, the housing crisis, etc. etc. I wonder who might have an interest in diverting attention from these issues.
posted by sour cream at 4:36 PM on August 9, 2008


Anyone who doesn't think this episode reveals something important about John Edwards' character is a lunatic.

Well, I'll give you that it reveals something about John Edward's character. Something important? Possibly. Something that would relate to his ability to govern or the effectiveness in which he advocates for the issues he does? That's a stretch.
posted by Weebot at 4:37 PM on August 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is a really interesting question. Imagine if both the Obama and Clinton campaigns knew. They both let him stay in the race, thinking he would draw votes from the other. After Iowa and New Hampshire, it becomes clear that Edwards is stealing Clinton's new-found base, the "white working-class voter," and she forces him out. Oh, the many things we'll never know...
posted by one_bean at 10:02 PM on August 8 [+] [!]


Hmm, some magazine is coming out next week with dozens of memos filched from the Clinton campaign. Her aides are supposed to be going nuts. I wonder if there's something in there about the Edwards' affair.
posted by etaoin at 4:46 PM on August 9, 2008


war in Russia

Georgia (well, Ossetia).
posted by dirigibleman at 5:31 PM on August 9, 2008


Barack Obama would never do anything like that.
posted by EarBucket at 6:02 PM on August 9, 2008


Rielle Hunter, the former presidential campaign aide who had an affair with John Edwards, said yesterday that she will not pursue DNA testing to establish the paternity of her 5-month-old daughter, despite the former senator's offer to participate in such a test.

Of course the $15,000 per month that she is being paid by John Edwards' "associates," and the $3 million home that was purchased for her, has nothing to do with this.
posted by jayder at 6:15 PM on August 9, 2008


who gives a flying fuck about John Edwards' character?

Well, um, he was my senator for a while there, buying his way to the Democratic nomination in 1998 over a longtime - and decent - party regular, beating a weak, ailing Jesse Helms clone but then almost immediately kicking us constituents to the curb to run for president in a ridiculously premature and disgustingly ambitious way, in the process handing his seat to the Republicans, and *then* voting to start bombing civilian children in an obviously trumped-up war just so he could portray himself as a centrist good-ol'-boy war-supportin' NASCAR Democrat (I can still get a good laugh at his official campaign stock car and bluegrass band back in '02), and *then* moralizing to hell and back about family and hometown values before stupidly fucking some slut on the side and having a damn out-of-wedlock baby AS HE WAS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.......Jesus Christ, you think anyone actually has to justify giving a flying fuck about *that* guy's character?

I've earned the right to give a flying fuck about John Edwards' character, thank you very much. Watching the flaming arc of his late-blooming public career has been fascinating, depressing and just generally revealing as hell about a certain kind of smiling political operative. This latest piece of ego-driven horseshit he's pulled fits very well into the pattern - which I think right now is starting to spell out [*squints*] "MASSIVE SHIT OF A PERSON." Come to Raleigh sometime and I'll introduce you to some of us rank-and-file past Edwards supporters who've been talking this week. Believe me, there are a hell of a lot of people who give flying fucks about John Edwards' character.
posted by mediareport at 8:28 PM on August 9, 2008 [4 favorites]


There are just too many important things going on in the world right now to devote any airtime to this.

I wouldn't say "any airtime." John Edwards was a fairly major public figure; a vice-presidential candidate in 2004; a guy who finished second in the 2008 Iowa caucuses and put up a presidential campaign that got a lot of people's attention; and a major contender for a potential high-profile cabinet position if Obama were to become president (possibly Attorney General, if reports are to be believed). But the amount of airtime that has been given over? Off the charts.

Believe me, there are a hell of a lot of people who give flying fucks about John Edwards' character.

But there also seems to be a vested interest in the mass media in paying obsessive, unrelenting, prurient, disturbingly fine-grained attention to this man's peccadilloes. The attention isn't to his "character," no matter what the media insists; the attention is to the mainstream media's own sense of outrage at having been pwned by the freaking National Enquirer, of all rags. That's the source of their vitriol.
posted by blucevalo at 8:49 PM on August 9, 2008


Christ, there are a lot of moralizers on this thread.
posted by pwedza at 12:15 AM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


some magazine is coming out next week with dozens of memos filched from the Clinton campaign.


It's the Atlantic. Here's a preview. Nothing about Edwards, but everything else is political junkie catnip.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:48 AM on August 10, 2008


> By the way JFuller, I made a video just for you. =)

Viewed. Hey, if you were going to do that you might have tagged your earlier mefi post with a spoiler alert. I had a bit of deja vu.


Once again, you're ranting against something I have NOT said and DON'T believe. One day down the road you'll have an OH! moment and then you'll be all embarrassed.

> There is no rational argument that confirms Edwards would break
> an oath of office because he broke his oath with his wife.

Never said the connection was "would...because."

> Maybe he would maybe he wouldn't.

Duh. My position exactly. I'll try to put the distinction I drew more clearly: it was between A. those with a personal investment in being truthful individuals, and B. those who are known not to have any such investment in being truthful individuals, because they have been caught out in large untruths. Oaths given by the A's of the world have predictive value ("chances are, he will.") Oaths given by the B's don't ("maybe he will, maybe he won't.)

> And you have the gaul to tell me a man who sleeps around a little can't
> keep ANY oath? Like a marriage oath and the oath of a president have
> anything remotely to do with each other?

I didn't say "can't." I said "can't be trusted." That expands to You can't trust because you just don't know. You could reasonably have taken his stating something upon oath as having predictive value before he got outed, but now you know it doesn't. That's been wiped out.

There's a famous thought experiment with three cups containing colorless liquid, and one cup is poisoned, and that cup is always labeled "Poison." You'll be willing to go by the label as long as it has never failed; people will be pretty confident drinking from the unlabeled cups. But if the label fails *just once*, that destroys its information value for good. No one will ever look at any of the unlabeled cups again without wondering "Is it poisoned?" They just won't know, and now the label doesn't help them know. For exactly the same reason, if a person is known to have sworn that A was true, and you find out it wasn't true, and now he swears that B is true, the second oath has no information value. He *may* be telling the truth, he may not, you don't know. And his having sworn again doesn't help you know.


Let's take GWB. Maybe working the other way 'round, from oath of office back to marriage oath, will make this easier on you--of course it works both ways. Knowing what you know about the man's record of truthfulness as President, would you take his word as a private individual? About anything? What if he offered to sell you a used car, and told you "This car has never had an accident, it's absolutely not a wreck/rebuild"? Would you believe just on his say-so? What if he swore? Would you care? Would you say "Oh, this is a completely different context, there's zero correlation, nothing I know about him as President gives me any useful clues about his truthfulness as a car seller. He swears it's not a wreck/rebuild, and I have no reason to think he might break his sworn word (about a car, anyway)"? If you would think that way then you're with you. If you would go "Waitadamnminute, I'm hearing "not a wreck/rebuild" from the "Mission Accomplished" guy, I think I'll wait to see the mechanic's report," then you're with me. An individual's rep does carry over from one occasion and subject to another--deservedly, because past performance of individuals does have predictive value for future performance.

> He lied to us when he said Mission Accomplished. He's lied to us again and again. REPEATEDLY.

And because of exactly that disregard of his oath of office (supporting the Constitution etc. etc.,) I don't believe his having taken a marriage oath would be of any consequence to him either. By that I mean I don't believe it has any influence over his remaining faithful to his wife or not. Supposing that he is, I expect it's a case of fear of the consequences, or of his just not being particularly tempted in that direction, or both. But if he were tempted, his marriage oath would not be among the obstacles he would notice standing between him and satisfaction. He might worry about getting caught, he might worry about STDs. But he would not wrestle with this problem: "I have always told myself I was a truthful individual; I have always said my word was my bond. If I break my word now, what a Hell of self-reunderstanding and self-reevaluation (downward) I will have to go through. My idea of my self will be proved false. I thought I knew myself; breaking my word now will prove I was just feeding myself a line of flattering BS. Who am I really? What am I?" Nope, based on his record in keeping his oath of office, none of that would be a problem for him. I doubt it would even occur to him.

The connection between Mr. Edwards' (or anyone's) marriage oath and any further oaths he might take is exactly the same. If someone breaks the first, we very reasonably judge that he has no particular personal investment in being a truthful individual who is bound by his given word. He might keep the second oath or he might not. But that outcome would depend only on the pressures, conveniences, and rewards of the moment. His personal investment in being a truthful individual who is bound by his given word would have no particular influence on the outcome--since it, y'know, doesn't exist--hence his second oath lacks any predictive value.


P.S. from ZachsMind's profile

> Where I stand on the Political Compass: I'm a Leftwing Libertarian.
> Economic Left/Right: -4.88
> Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.26

jfuller:
Economic Left/Right: -1.25
Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.03

We share a quadrant. Ah there, fellow leftwing libertarian.
posted by jfuller at 11:27 AM on August 10, 2008


I am going to go from a different angle on why Edwards' being unfaithful having impact for those not directly involved in the oath breaking. If his excuse of being on the campaign trail leads to narcissism and being isolated then Edwards choosing to risk everything for immediate pleasure has impact in the following ways:

* He judged poorly thinking that people would not gossip nor notice;
** He has made himself blackmailable. He and his friends are paying not a small amount of funds for maintenance and contingency and he is not even the main candidate;
*** If he can't handle the pressure of the campaign trail and makes poor decisions of this magnitude then he is, quite frankly, a rookie for the highest office in the land;
**** He knew that this situation would be damaging to his candidacy and placed his personal ego before the good of the nation. If you believe that the Republican power ascension needs to be stopped at all costs then John Edwards risked that by being a vulnerable, blackmailable candidate

The argument that this is between him and his wife definitely merits value. He broke his word to her and not to me or you personally. I am, in theory, involved in selecting someone for an important job. A job that lives ride on in multiple ways. Now my judgement on whether someone has the self discipline, will, intelligence and tendency on follow through is part of that accessment and Edwards' poor discipline has impact on that assessment.

I point out that more than a few Mefites have circular filed resumes, applications and CVs for misspellings and grammar errors for positions that are a lot less responsible then the Presidency of the United States. So it does indeed have impact if someone has proven that they maybe less than reliable.

So Edwards breaking his word to his wife -- yeah, that sucks for Mrs. Edwards. John Edwards display of poor self discipline and duplicity -- sucks to be him.
posted by jadepearl at 1:00 PM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


For real though, the fact that he hooked up with a none too attractive woman in his own age group suggests that unlike Christie Brinkley's ex-husband Edwards is not an expert adulterer scheming his way into top shelf panties but rather a successful man who has found himself alone at the top and was just looking for a little companionship.
posted by refrigerateafteropening at 2:30 PM on August 10, 2008


That kind of makes it sound like you're saying if he's bad at it, it's more forgivable.

I hope that's true, it would make the US invading Iraq more forgivable because we've done it so badly.
posted by XMLicious at 3:04 PM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can think of several Presidents who I endorsed who cheated on their wives. I wouldn't want to marry one of them, but I still endorse what they did as Presidents.

Also, I find I automatically take the opponent's side when someone dredges up the past and puts up the opponent's post history, but maybe that's just me.
posted by misha at 4:32 PM on August 10, 2008


Christ, there are a lot of moralizers on this thread.

This thread?

This site.

So count me on the bandwagon. Edwards is turd. Screw him and the rest of the dickhead pols. And kudos to the Enquirer for scooping the 'real' media that ignored this one. Character does matter, and he's finally revealed his, but how about some compassion for the only victims here -- his wife and young kids.

Now, can we get back to Georgia/Russia?
posted by VicNebulous at 5:57 PM on August 10, 2008


Now, can we get back to Georgia/Russia?

Sure. The Devil Comes Back to Georgia.
posted by ericb at 7:00 PM on August 10, 2008


Christ, there are a lot of moralizers on this thread.

This thread?

This site.


I'm stunned, just stunned, whenever anyone makes any claim that MeFi isn't super-duper lefty. It's like, how left do you have to get in order to think this place is on the right?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:34 PM on August 10, 2008


how about some compassion for the only victims here -- his wife and young kids.

Don't forget he has an older daughter, too- 26 year old Cate. I think that would suck worse than being little, at least little kids can be relatively sheltered.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:39 PM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


MediaReport: "Anyone who doesn't think this episode reveals something important about John Edwards' character is a lunatic."

Well, it doesn't reveal anything that we didn't already know: he's a human being with a dick between his legs and sometimes he thinks with it instead of his brain.

Welcome to the fucking human race, Mr. Edwards.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:02 PM on August 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


JFuller: "Viewed. Hey, if you were going to do that you might have tagged your earlier mefi post with a spoiler alert. I had a bit of deja vu."

Yeah I didn't know I was gonna YouTube that until after I did it. I recorded it, then watched it, and it still made me laugh. So I posted it. That's my criteria for my crappy YouTube channel.

"Duh. My position exactly."

Not from what I read before, but go ahead and try to explain yourself again.

"I'll try to put the distinction I drew more clearly: it was between A. those with a personal investment in being truthful individuals, and B. those who are known not to have any such investment in being truthful individuals, because they have been caught out in large untruths. Oaths given by the A's of the world have predictive value ("chances are, he will.") Oaths given by the B's don't ("maybe he will, maybe he won't.)"

Yeah no I've read this three times now, and I can't make heads or tails out of what you're trying to say. I think I just felt another grey hair pop out of my head. Reads to me like double talk and back pedaling. I'm sure if I'd finished college I'd be smart enough to understand you. That must be it. I'm just old and dumb. I forfeit whatever argument we were having, basically cuz I'm old and dumb and I don't care.

Moving on.

ZachsMind:
Economic Left/Right: -4.88
Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.26

jfuller:
Economic Left/Right: -1.25
Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.03

"We share a quadrant. Ah there, fellow leftwing libertarian."


Okay now you're just creeping me the fuck out.

There must be a universe in that 3 point difference between us. You're the kinda person that both Republicans and Democrats cater to cuz they think you're a swing voter, which is why all politicians lie. They want to sound more moderate, so they can cater to people like you.

You're not in my quadrant, dude. You're practically middle of the road. I'm definitely left of center.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:22 PM on August 10, 2008


Oh. And just for clarification. I'm not a libertarian. That's just where that political compass crappy thing pegged me. I think most libertarian politicians I've heard talk are just as whacko as the rest of them. I don't trust any complete stranger who thinks he knows what's good for me.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:26 PM on August 10, 2008


This one doesn't go to JFuller, but to anyone still reading this thread.

Not that I'm much of a fan of Keith Olbermann or MSNBC, but his diatribe On the Death of Habeas Corpus illustrates far better than I can, just how much of a liar, a traitor, and a breaker of oaths GWB is.

Did I vote for him? No. I voted against him twice, and in a roundabout way it can be argued that by voting, I helped in an insignificant way to get him into office. If you voted, whether you voted for him or not, you too are also party responsible that he is in there.

Those of you who did vote him in there? Twice? Congratulations. Your horse is a liar and a cheat and a scumbag of a president. I hope you sprain your wrist patting yourselves on the back.

Did GWB lie to us? Unmistakable. The evidence is cut and dried and in the public record.

Did John Edwards lie to his wife? To his lover? To us? Yes. Sure. Why not?

Politicians lie. That's their job.

They have to lie in order to get stuff done and they have to lie in order to do it.

The fact so many American voters insist that their chosen candidate at least pretends to take the Christian God's Ten Commandments seriously?

It's laughable really. Cuz they don't. They can't.

Lying to foreign countries.

Disobeying ancestors.

Putting this nation ahead of its god.

Wanting the good things that another country has already.

Theft.

Murder.

Do you honestly want a president that is not capable of these things, or incapable of ordering others to do these things for him? If you say no, you're lying to yourself. So if a politician is able to easily break over half the commandments in the book on almost a daily basis, adultery's just another commandment. Just another rule to break for any politician.

You don't want a clean president.

You want a dirty president that can appear clean for the cameras.

You want a president you think is clean, who gets the dirty shit done for you.

You are not a part of the solution.

I want you to stop voting.

You are part of the problem.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:58 PM on August 10, 2008


Christ, there are a lot of moralizers on this thread.

This thread?

This site.

I'm stunned, just stunned, whenever anyone makes any claim that MeFi isn't super-duper lefty. It's like, how left do you have to get in order to think this place is on the right?


Just for the record, being super-duper lefty is in no way incompatible with moralizing. IMO super-duper lefty people are the worst kind of moralizers - it seems like they, much more frequently these days, are the ones who believe they're indisputably right with no tolerance of anyone else's opinion and without even realizing that they're moralizing. It's contradictory to liberal principles and often quite childish and I blame that sort of attitude in large part for the FOX-News-type conservative backlash of the past couple of decades which is just as blameworthy for being an intolerant, inflexible political orthodoxy.
posted by XMLicious at 12:50 AM on August 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


As I see it, many left and right-wingers tend to moralize, or judge, because they are alike in a wholehearted pursuit of justice, which can be completely independent of social good.

Perfect justice does not want to see criminals rehabilitated; it wants an eye for an eye. Perfect justice doesn't want to see a world where any economic inequalities exist; it would rather see everyone equal, even if equally poor. Sure, that's a bad world, but it is perfectly just.

Of course, justice can be an excellent metric for achieving good things, so it's not that pursuing injustice is somehow noble. But to be perfectly just you must be blind, unable to see any end other than justice itself, even if that other end is the better world.
posted by kid ichorous at 3:20 AM on August 11, 2008


But also, XML, leftists do have more cause to be righteous and judgmental given the last eight deplorable years. Even the Stoics had their limits.
posted by kid ichorous at 3:23 AM on August 11, 2008


Labeling your own political position as "justice" and refusing to respect the fact that those disagreeing with you may also be pursuing justice - that is intolerant and unreasonable and is not something that should be excused by political events.

But I'm talking about people being intolerant and unreasonable and self-righteous over far more humble issues than justice for all. Something that really got to me was this AskMe thread about smoking from earlier this year. I was genuinely kind of shocked by the degree of blistering intolerance and moral disgust that was leveled against smokers in that thread.

It's genuine moralizing - it's not people talking about the dangers of smoking the way they might talk about the dangers of base jumping or something - many of the people in that thread regarded smoking as a real transgression of right and wrong. I think that many of them would have difficulty realizing that they're being moralistic and judgmental in that regard, because it doesn't fit with many people's self-image... but that doesn't change the fact that they're acting like Puritans damning drinking and dancing.
posted by XMLicious at 7:24 AM on August 11, 2008


Sarkozy, because the country is in such disarray, is actually in the process of repealing its 35 hour work week because the French lag Europe in productivity.

Sarkozy was elected with this as part of his manifesto. He was specifically elected by many to do hard fixes to the French economy and working laws. Mitterand, the longest serving President of France at 14 years, was a war hero, a widely regarded and renowned politician. Although I disagree with the result, he was one of the achitects of the modern EU, and France, and lead to a huge improvement in franco-german relations. In all respects, he was a highly influential and effective politican according to his beliefs and goals, even if those goals have proved controversial.

He also published false health reports hiding that he had cancer, and had an illegitimate daughter as a result of a long-running affair, a daughter than wasn't spoken about in the press until after his death - despite it being an open secret. What he did in his private life was indeed, private.

What Edwards does in his private life is between himself and his wife. This american obsession with 'character', specifically sexual fidelity, is what made you end up with George W Bush. The man might be a guy you can have a beer with, but his policies have directly caused massive damage to the US economy, world relations and military strength. His polictical actions are far more important than who's bed he ends up sleeping in to us, the voting public.

What I do in my private life has absolutely no effect on my working career, and is nobodies business but mine and those people directly affected. Judge people by results and actions, not calvanistic moralistic judgements that make sexual infidelity a worse crime than pretty much anything else.
posted by ArkhanJG at 6:06 AM on August 17, 2008


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