Edwards, The Enquirer and Cat Food

I’m still standing fast on the idiocy of Tony Pierce’s email, but I have to go on record for a second and ask one question – if the Enquirer has the goods on Edwards from his little Beverly Hills soiree…where are the pictures?

Until they are out, the story will smell quite a bit like cat food to me, because if the Enquirer folks were there, and they saw what they claimed to see … there are pictures … so, Enquirer – where are they?

56 thoughts on “Edwards, The Enquirer and Cat Food”

  1. At this point, if pictures don’t show, I would want to look at the National Enquirers’ books, not to mention those of all relevant stakeholders.

    Follow the money.

  2. I would like to see a copy of the criminal complaint the reporters filed. “Jonathan Turley”:http://jonathanturley.org/2008/07/25/national-enquirer-reporters-filed-criminal-complaint-in-edwards-controversy/ makes it sound like he has reviewed the filing personally, but he might have just as easily made his observations by reading what the “Enquirer reported.”:http://www.nationalenquirer.com/update_john_edwards_affair_criminal_complaint_filed/celebrity/65209 Given that false claims to the police can result in prosecution of the reporters, what exactly was reported to the police would be interesting and IMO particularly corroborative.

    But pictures in the hotel, statements from witnesses, and the complaints against hotel staff, just tell tell us that Edwards was suspiciously sneaking around a hotel late. We don’t necessarily know why.

  3. In general, I just don’t care. I consider affairs to be a private family matter. It sucks to be the wife and kids in these situations, but it should be up to them to decide his retribution. Unfortunately, if the pictures break, this will be chalked up as “investigative journalism” into “corruption”. I agree that in some cases (spitzer) an actual crime has surfaced, or in others (Craig) the crime WAS public indecency. However, I don’t see the political value of this story other than another round of the adultery GOTCHA game; or fodder for those who are tired of brangelina.

    We’re a nation at war right? So let’s act like it. Let’s focus our attention on bribes, money-laundering, tax-payer fraud and all the other events that actually damage our nation, and where corrupt politicians might actually serve time for their offense.

  4. The Turley article says the magic word: ‘discovery’. A complaint against the hotel and its security guards should make any relevant security camera recordings discoverable. Whether as a corroboration of photos the NE already has, or an alternative because they don’t, isn’t clear yet. For the Hilton to destroy any recordings at this point, given the complaint, might make them vulnerable to obstruction charges, which might be the whole point.

  5. > Why is digging into Edward’s personal life of interest to you? Why is it any of your business?

    Good question. If Edwards had issued a somber “mea culpa” and withdrawal into private life to mitigate the anguish he has inflicted on family and friends, I would agree with alchemist #5.

    In this case, Edwards has kept himself in the public eye. V.P. candidate? “Maybe,”:http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1816620,00.html “maybe not.”:http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB121703366266486727.html?mod=special_page_campaign2008_topbox

    Obama’s pick for Attorney General: “more”:http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/01/28/premature_maybe_ag_edwards.html “likely”:http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/usa/2008/05/edwards_obama_endorsement_anot.html

    As a reader of political news, would you prefer to be fed incomplete or misleading explanations as to why Edwards will be passed over for these positions?

    Recall, too, that Edwards came to L.A. to attend “a press event Monday afternoon with L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on the topic of how to combat homelessness.” So Edwards believes that he should play a prominent role in leading the U.S. to solutions to pressing social problems. While his own self-indulgent, impulsive, reckless, pleasure-seeking activities remain discreetly out of the limelight.

    In “The Vison of the Anointed,”:http://books.google.com/books?id=ISTtFtcIkKAC&dq=sowell+vision+of+the+anointed&pg=PP1&ots=e9aI_w9p0i&sig=UKmDE30gEBKDS7rs3S8Ck-Enl7Q&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPP12,M1 (1995) Thomas Sowell described the viewpoint of many leftist elitists. In this instance, Edwards seems to follow that pattern.

  6. homas Sowell described the viewpoint of many leftist elitists. In this instance, Edwards seems to follow that pattern.

    I was with you, until you described it as leftist problem. I’m sorry, we’re Craig, Vitter & Foley “leftists”? Not really, but they considered themselves important for the future of the nation, and vigorously fought for their position, despite their devious habits.

    Let’s be honest; it’s a politician problem in general. If we dug deep enough could find sex scandals on most of the house and senate…. but is would that really help the government function better? 1 in 4 marriages ends in infidelity, does that mean 1 in 8 americans are corrupt and therefore unsuitable to serve our nation?

    I would rather investigate actual illegal uses of power. But that’s just me.

  7. I care slightly; it tells me something about the commitment of the politician – the fact that Bill C couldn’t keep it zipped and risked his entire political agenda for a BJ tells me something about his level of commitment to that agenda.

    It also tells me something about the competence of the politician; are they discreet? Do the people close to them care enough for them to shield them, or do they gladly sell them out (a la Bush’s team)?

    Look if you told someone – even someone with a complex personal history – that they could get their major political policies enacted, but the cost was that they had to be celibate for four years – their answer might tell you something about how much they cared about those policies.

    And, finally, there is an issue of character. Someone who will betray those closest will also likely betray those further away.

    Having said all that, it’s a minor issue, somewhere alongside “did you ever inhale?”

    A.L.

  8. Alchemist #8 —

    No–sex, drug, booze, corruption, etc. scandals are hardly limited to one piece of the spectrum. Opportunity and the experience of power seem to be a lot more important than whether one’s politics are to the left or right.

    “Vision of the Anointed” was written to describe a certain left-wing arrogance, and as a millionaire celebrity leftist, Edwards does seem to fit that particular bill.

    As a thought experiment, if Edwards was a right-wing celebrity politician social-policy advocate and most media outlets were going out of their way to not report on his duplicitous and sleazy personal conduct, I’d feel the same way about him.

    How many of the people who decry Edwards’ outing by the National Enquirer expressed similar sentiments about coverage of Limbaugh and his drug abuse, or of any of the righty sex scandals you mentioned? A few, I’m sure (commenter AJL is the sort of person who would make a principaled argument). But for most, I suspect it’s an example of “No Enemies To The Left” at work.

  9. “While his own self-indulgent, impulsive, reckless, pleasure-seeking activities remain discreetly out of the limelight.”

    “And, finally, there is an issue of character. Someone who will betray those closest will also likely betray those further away.”

    “his duplicitous and sleazy personal conduct”

    So we’re assuming that Elizabeth and his family don’t know or accept whatever situation he may be in? Or would/have forgiven him?

    Sure seems like a lot of self-righteous moralizing coming from people whose interest in the story reveals them to be sleazy and impulsive themselves.

  10. I have a great idea. Why doesn’t Edwards go live on a compound in Namibia, like the Pitts? Then he can have his Olympic swimming pool and his seventeen tennis courts and his surplus wives and kids, and surround it all with shoot-to-kill guards.

    And he’ll be far away from that scary guy who lives down the road from him, the one who has guns and stuff in his house.

    It’s not like he needs to stick around and be Vice President of the United States, right? And that’s a shame, because a black snob looter-lawyer and a white snob looter-lawyer would have been a perfectly balanced ticket.

  11. AMac_As a thought experiment, if Edwards was a right-wing celebrity politician social-policy advocate and most media outlets were going out of their way to not report on his duplicitous and sleazy personal conduct, I’d feel the same way about him._

    Just as a clarification, does media reporting affect how you feel on the issue? If the media *was* reporting on his sleezy behavior, then would it change how you feel?

    For example, The only reason why I followed Craig is because he has spent so much time deriding ‘homosexual morality’ in the past. I found it… amusing that his true self was so far from his political identity. Ditto in the spitzer & vitter case. But generally, no, I wouldn’t care about republican affairs. If W. had an affair, I would see it as a personal matter unrelated to his political post.

    I could see how Edwards campaigned, you could link his married life to his political life, and that’s a fair critique. Otherwise I’m completely uninterested.

    AL: Yeah, I hear what you’re saying in theory. It’s not exactly a great character trait to be cheating on your spouse… but I don’t really beleive that there’s a lot of *true* character left in politics anyway. Character seems to be used as a rock for all the creepy-crawlies to hide under.

  12. Interestingly, Obama is probably where he is today because of this kind of stuff. First, he won the Democratic primary for Senate:

    bq. _As the 2004 Senate primary neared, it was clear that it was a contest between two people: the millionaire liberal, Hull, who was leading in the polls, and Obama, who had built an impressive grass-roots campaign. About a month before the vote, The Chicago Tribune revealed, near the bottom of a long profile of Hull, that during a divorce proceeding, Hull’s second wife filed for an order of protection. In the following few days, the matter erupted into a full-fledged scandal that ended up destroying the Hull campaign and handing Obama an easy primary victory. The Tribune reporter who wrote the original piece later acknowledged in print that the Obama camp had ‘worked aggressively behind the scenes’ to push the story._

    “Link”:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/01/magazine/01axelrod.t.html?_r=2&ei=5070&en=765f1fc42884f6d3&ex=1177905600&oref=slogin&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin (Personal aside, I don’t think it was a two-man race, but Hull was definitely leading)

    And then in the general election, the Chicago Tribune sued for the release of the divorce files of Jack Ryan, his Republican opponent:

    bq. _Barack Obama’s backers emailed reporters about the divorce controversy, but refrained from on-the-record commentary about the divorce files. On March 29, 2004, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Schnider ruled that several of the Ryans’ divorce records should be opened to the public, and ruled that a court-appointed referee would later decide which custody files should remain sealed to protect the interests of Ryan’s young child. The following week, on April 2, 2004, Barack Obama changed his position about the Ryans’ soon-to-be-released divorce records, and called on Democrats to not inject them into the campaign. The Ryan campaign characterized Obama’s shift as hypocritical, because Obama’s backers had been emailing reports about the divorce records prior to Judge Schnider’s decision.

    “Link”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Ryan_%28Senate_candidate%29#cite_note-Fornek-6

    Jack Ryan would withdraw, leaving Obama with no opponent three months before the election.

  13. Broadly speaking, I agree with Alchemist when he wrote

    But generally, no, I wouldn’t care about republican affairs. If W. had an affair, I would see it as a personal matter unrelated to his political post.

    I tend to draw the line at exposure of actual criminal behavior (Spitzer scandal OK by me) and completely egregious hypocrisy (Newt Gingrich and Jesse Jackson Sr on family values, Larry Craig on the homosexual threat OK by me). Knowing that the nuclear button is in the hands of an out-of-control drunk would be important, too, if it were true. (Luckily, it isn’t: the pretzel confessed to being an Al Qaeda agent moments before dissolving under waterboarding.)

    In John Edwards’s case, I’d say the largely ineffective ridicule of his expensive haircuts is the right wing’s attempt to portray him as hypocritical. If I saw National Enquirer reporters trailing me, I’d try to ditch them too.

    One last point in relating this to Bill Clinton: going with Monica when he knew the Republicans were looking for any opening to attack him was profoundly stupid. Wouldn’t you say, though, that his political agenda would be jeopardized by an act of consensual adultery is more a statement about the people who hated his program than about him?

  14. _One last point in relating this to Bill Clinton: going with Monica when he knew the Republicans were looking for any opening to attack him was profoundly stupid._

    There is a certain Gary Hart stupidity to Edwards denying the affair and then getting caught afterward by reporters following him. But Donna Rice was about sex. If the rumors are true, then that’s Edwards’ kid up there. In a way, you would have to respect the guy for going.

  15. AJL:

    Wouldn’t you say, though, that it would have been much more principled for him to say “it’s none of your f*cking business” than to lie under oath? Sorry to not fit your profile, but for me it wasn’t about Bill’s program, it really was about perjury. STUPID perjury.

    I don’t expect you’ll believe that, but that’s a separate matter.

  16. Jack #11, alchemist #13 —

    bq. So we’re assuming that Elizabeth and his family don’t know or accept whatever situation he may be in? Or would/have forgiven him?

    Did he ask his wife before or after he started dating Rielle? Well, after, obviously–heck of a choice she gets to make.

    If Edwards hadn’t campaigned so heavily on the “Devoted Family Man” theme, his conduct would seem more tragic and less creepy. Likewise, if it were possible to work the word “chastened” into a description of the man.

    bq. does media reporting affect how you feel on the issue? If the media was reporting on his sleezy behavior, then would it change how you feel?

    It would change how I feel about the media. I fail to see how this sort of story about a recent Presidential candidate who chooses to stay in the limelight as a potential V.P. and A.G. candidate and as a social-policy advocate can be seen as not news.

    A public figure who makes his private life part of his political package–okay, most of them do it, at least to some extent. But when things go sour, it makes the changed tune of “none of your business” ring hollow.

    I think that the media should generally leave private people’s personal trainwrecks in the shadows. When a public figure’s poor choices impacts his or her performance or candidacy, I (reluctantly) see that as news. The question then becomes, why shouldn’t it be reported? Left and Right alike.

    So, Jack: you’re indignant that a fellow lefty’s misfortunes are the subject of this discussion. Have you ever written blog comments to extend this principle to errant righties in somewhat similar straights? If so, I’ll add the virtue of consistency to the passion that’s on display when you make your argument.

  17. Wouldn’t you say, though, that it would have been much more principled for him to say “it’s none of your f*cking business” than to lie under oath?

    I have little doubt that your answer, while preferable in some ways, would also have been an impeachable offense.

    One thing Clinton accomplished was delay in which the public got used to the idea he was an adulterer and liar (at least, about adultery). By the time he got caught, there was a strong element of public fatigue. (Bush has accomplished much the same thing with his programs for torture and blanket wiretapping.)

  18. IMO the Paula Jones lawsuit should have been stayed for a few years until the Clinton presidency was over. I know the SCOTUS unamously rejected this as mandatory requirement, but I wonder how many judges facing the same situation today might exercise their discretion to gant the stay.

  19. What galls me as a “man of the right” about this whole “affair” is two things:(1) the perfidious studious disinterest in the Edwards thing by the MSM when we all know they would be salivating like
    Pavlov’s dogs if it were a conservative politician involved, and (2)
    the hypocrisy of the left in general and actions by leftist politicians in particular like like those of Obama that P.D. Shaw describes when they smear their opponents using any available club. Remember, it was Al Gore who first used the image of Willie Horton against Dukakis, but the MSM acted as if it’s use was entirely a Republican original sin. Does anyone remember Sam Nunn’s (D) successful campaign to keep Sen. John Tower (R) from the post of SecDef by alluding to his drinking habits? How about Mary Tillotson of CNN asking Bush 41 at a press conference (with a foreign dignitary at his side ) if he had had an affair (with a certain someone whose name I can’t recall) despite there being almost zero substantive evidence to support such charges? (actually this falls under point#a). The list of such instances is worthy of a PhD Dissertation alone.

    I would add that AMac @#17 pretty much reflects my overall sentiments as applied to both sides of the political equation. AL in #8 probably positions the Edwards kerfuffle best on the scale of outrage when he uses the term “slightly” to characterize the magnitude of importance, although I personally might shade it slightly more “darker” than that. AMac also makes a good point up-post about Limbaugh. Here is a private citizen running for nothing whatsoever in the public domain, who got hooked on pain killers via a legal prescription for a valid medical problem and look at the lynch-mob mentality that ensued. No, no political bias in the MSM, no hypocrisy by left-wing politicians, nothing to see here, move right along…..

  20. I must admit that the sanctimony of people like Laura Schlessinger makes me happy when they are exposed. Neither John Edwards nor Bill Clinton have a radio show where they extol “traditional” morality. “Dr.” Laura did. (I think Jesse Jackson Sr.’s affair newsworthy for the same reason.)

    Plus, I thought she looked hot.

  21. C’mon, Andrew, that’s kinda unfair. “we’re liberals so anything goes, so nothing we do can be held against us” is kind of the logical endpoint of that line, isn’t it?

    I didn’t see the pictures so I’ll reserve my automatic reaction that you seem like someone with better judgment than that…<g>

    A.L.

  22. Kausfiles has put up the following story, suggesting the photos might be available on something called paper:

    bq. _I asked [Enquirer editor David] Perel about photos or eyewitness accounts. He wouldn’t talk about that._

    bq. _”Well, stay tuned, that’s all I can say,” he said. “Everything’s done incrementally. So I’m not going to tell you exactly what our process is. Perhaps my time frame is different than your time frame. I’m not worried about the rest of the media. I’m worried about us.”_

    “Link”:http://www.slate.com/id/2196224/

  23. “we’re liberals so anything goes, so nothing we do can be held against us” is kind of the logical endpoint of that line, isn’t it?

    That is not the logical endpoint, it’s the argument itself. I’ve heard it explicitly stated a thousand times.

    Since the only sin left is “hypocrisy”, if you’re down with anything you can’t be a hypocrite. Of course, a feckless liberal who pretends to be a happily married husband looks like a hypocrite to a non-liberal – which is why we must never speak of such things.

    The argument is based on a number of bogus (but very old) assumptions:

    1. Sex is good, therefore pretty much everything associated with sex is good. (A great deal of effort is made to disassociate crimes like rape from sex, by insisting that they are purely motivated by violence or mental illness.)

    2. Any objections to sex are authoritarian and unhealthy. (Many liberals never noticed that Freud has been debunked and abandoned.)

    3. Associating sex with marriage and family – and possibly even with love – is right-wing. Oh, and homophobic.

    4. Sexual liberation is equally idyllic for men and women. Abortion addresses any inequity. Broken-hearted women who can’t handle their husbands running out on them when they lose their looks need to grow up and be cold-blooded feminists.

  24. Virgil xenophon: “Remember, it was Al Gore who first used the image of Willie Horton against Dukakis . . .”

    Actually, no. Gore did question Dukakis during a Democratic debate about the Massachusetts furlough program, but never mentioned Horton by name, never showed an image of Horton nor even drew attention, directly or indirectly, to his race.

    Try finding a video or transcript of Al Gore doing this (having Hannity or Kristol saying it doesn’t make it so).

  25. Sots:

    (having Hannity or Kristol saying it doesn’t make it so).

    It wasn’t Hannity or Kristol who said so, it was Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley.

    Kristol? I swear to God, if some you guys got hemorrhoids, the first thing that would pop into your head is that a “neocon” had crawled up your ass and sabotaged it.

  26. One reason this is a news story, for all the folks who are dismissing it as irrelevant, a private affair, etc., is that this rumor came up first while Edwards was still actually running for the Presidency. At that time, he dismissed it as sleaze, and one of his aides, Andrew Young, and the woman, Hunter both came out and said that the baby she was pregnant with was Young’s. If it turns out that that baby was not Young’s at all, but was Edwards’, it shows not only a personal foible or lack of ethics, it also shows Edwards’ willingness to engage in an elaborate cover-up, his aide’s willingness to lie for him in a VERY awkward situation as Young is married with several kids, and the press’s willingness to just believe Edwards and not try to really dig in and find out if they were being lied to. In addition, in response to some who have mentioned that the interest in stories like Craig’s is that he was a hypocrite about gay issues, etc.,– if this story is true, is not Edwards a hypocrite after he gushed over his devotion to his possibly dying wife while he was off getting some with his mistress? Please. This is a real news story, and people denying that are likely doing it for their own political reasons. I wish we didn’t have to delve into the personal lives of candidates as well, but that cat is long, long, out of the bag, politicians should be well aware of this, and at the very least we should expect equal treatment of this missteps in the press. The voters and public can then decide for themselves whether the incident is one they should care about or not, but the press shouldn’t be deciding to self-censor to protect one of their darlings.

  27. Considering Edward’s occupation I am really surprised that he has refrained from suing this publication for such a reckless action and such libel.

    Unless of course there is a reason he hasn’t the stomach to sue. And we all know what charitable and humble folks lawyers are.

    Anyone think Edwards will sue? That OJ was innocent?

  28. Just dialing in after vacation in Rome.

    I hear two sides to the arguments here and neither have anything to do with the matter at hand, Edward’s supposed infidelity:

    1. How dare *you* point fingers, *your* side is just as bad.

    2. Aw shucks, it’s just sex and a private matter.

    How far down the slippery slope have we slid as a nation? Should we not expect moral behavior in _all_ parts of life of our leaders? In marriage? In work life? In family matters?

    It seems not, to me. Pretty much there is nothing to see here because the US body politic may have slide halfway to Sodom on the way to Gomorrah.

    And the person who chided Limbaugh for his “addiction” to pain killers just displays ignorance of what it is like to live your life in permanent, debilitating pain due to injury. As one who has to moderate this same situation for myself, it ain’t fun and it hurts, all the time. [You have an ID 10T error between the headsets]

    Back to Edwards – Naw, AL, I really don’t care, I knew what kind of bottom feeder he was a long time ago. He got rich on other peoples pain. I do feel for his wife. She is looking at the end of her life soon due to cancer. She is the one I am concerned about.

  29. “SOTS”@26: I was thinking of a MENTAL “image” that was the resultant picture that Gore painted for the American public, i.e., the “pictures in their heads” to borrow from V.O. Key.

    Glen Wishard@25: Boy are you right on target! I would only add that you cut liberals too much slack when you write that they “have never noticed” that Freud (AND Kinsey, I would add) has been debunked. You must realize that they CANNOT take notice, else their entire edifice of libertine sexual license and moral relativism will collapse–thus a display of studied indifference to the facts and outright denial of alternate, more recent, better designed and more wide-ranging studies proving human sexuality and associated social constructs to be almost the polar opposite of those naval-
    gazing pictures drawn by the fevered, tortured minds of Freud and Kinsey.

  30. “Wouldn’t you say, though, that it would have been much more principled for him to say “it’s none of your f*cking business” than to lie under oath?”

    Problem with that is that Clinton signed the law, with some fanfare, that made it their “f*cking business”. Leaving him one of a few hundred people, nation-wide, with no right to say that.

    “IMO the Paula Jones lawsuit should have been stayed for a few years until the Clinton presidency was over.”

    And the problem with that, as we saw, is that justice delayed really IS justice denied: All the criminal matters we were told could be followed up after he was out of office were simply dropped. “Let it wait until he’s out of office” was simply a diplomatic way of saying, “Let’s forget the whole thing.”

    For my part, I find the notion of somebody being radically dishonest in one part of their life, and scrupulous in another part, rather absurd. People’s traits aren’t compartmentalized that way, and Clinton was a textbook example: Violated his marriage oath, violated his oath while testifying, violated his oath of office… There’s no evidence he ever took an oath seriously in his life.

    We’ve come to accept a remarkably degraded level of morality on the part of our public officials, and we’re loons if we think it’s not reflected in their official behavior.

  31. _How far down the slippery slope have we slid as a nation? Should we not expect moral behavior in all parts of life of our leaders? In marriage? In work life? In family matters?_

    Shouldn’t we know everything about our politicians? Why not have cameras placed in their homes and satellite trackers placed in their arms? Why not have them take a lie-detector test before they serve, so we can dig up every ounce of dirt they ever have? Did they have sex before marriage? What are their fantasies? Have you ever been to a concert where people took drugs (& why didn’t you report them to authorities)? I predict this information will lead to a hot new fall line-up on VH1 called “Scandelous”

    Or better yet, why don’t we extend this program to the greater public. If you have an affair, if you were ever an alcoholic, if you tried drugs as a youth… you are now barred from citizenship. Reform is just a dirty word for people who weren’t moral in the first place. You can’t serve, you can’t volunteer, we don’t even want you at PTA meetings, you damned dirty psychopath.

  32. RE: #33 from Alchemist at 3:45 pm on Jul 29, 2008

    bq. Shouldn’t we know everything about our politicians? Why not have cameras placed in their homes and satellite trackers placed in their arms?

    Oh, come on. You know that is a specious argument. Of course not and I *NEVER* advocated _big brother_ type tactics. But when caught out we have to bring back some of that old timey moral outrage. I know it is just so…. fossilized to the libertarian mindset but maybe it would not hurt. I will have much more respect for someone who says “Yeah, I inhaled and I liked it.” than the “…but I _never_ inhaled! [wink, wink, nudge, nudge]”. We can forgive transgressions when properly addressed – openly – but the weasel dodges we see these says become wearying.

    I have publicly said here that I would have more respect for The Obama if he had stuck by Wright than what he did. Not that I like or condone his views but at least the rabid bigot you know is better than the one you don’t.

  33. How else can we be assured of politicians morality? If an affair is such a huge deal, then shouldn’t we know of every affair? Of every moral infraction?

    OR

    we can assume that some people have different public and private lives. As long as their private life doesn’t affect their public life (and it’s legal), I’m willing to let it go. I think you would find that MANY publicly succesful people have very damaged private lives, and engage in “immoral” behaviors.

    It doesn’t make it right, but it doesn’t make it my business either, as long as it doesn’t infringe on the law.

  34. “…1 in 4 marriages ends in infidelity, does that mean 1 in 8 americans are corrupt and therefore unsuitable to serve our nation?”

    Well, if you put it that way, “Yes.” In fact, probably a good deal more than 1 in 8 Americans are unsuitable to serve our nation in a public leadership role.

    I generally want my leadership to be in the top 1/8th of people when it comes to integrity, not the bottom 1/8th. How in the world would you expect your leader to be faithful to you or to any sort of principles, if you can’t expect them to be faithful to their beloved, their partner, and their spouse? Likewise, how someones handles being caught tells you alot about thier honesty, integrity, courage, and forthrightness.

    This idea that integrity is somehow a completely separate issue than competance wasn’t nearly so popular amongst some when the Enron scandal was in the news.

    ‘Obeying the law’ is a pretty low standard of integrity, if you ask me. Are you really trying to suggest that say breaking the speed limit shows a lower standard of moral integrity than cheating on your spouse? I’m not sure I’d trust myself to have sufficient integrity to serve our country, and these ‘small transgressions’ of I don’t know… using cocaine, cheating on your spouse, etc. don’t seem at all to me to be ‘small’.

  35. alchemist:

    Shouldn’t we know everything about our politicians? Why not have cameras placed in their homes and satellite trackers placed in their arms?

    What we should do is remember that we are supposed to be a republic of free and equal people, and stop holding up politicians as celebrities, superstars, and saviors.

    If they are going to be celebrities, then they are going to get celebrity treatment, and there is absolutely nothing that anyone can do to stop it. We can lecture and denounce until we’re blue in the face, and it won’t make the slightest difference. The people who make celebrities rich and famous are the same people who invade their privacy. You can’t have one without the other.

    Since we’ve had superstar politicians, we’ve had three of them shot dead in one five-year period. They now go around with ridiculous levels of security. In the irrational Cult of Personality, there is a very thin line between loving a celebrity and stalking them. They draw would-be assassins like bug lights.

  36. _Are you really trying to suggest that say breaking the speed limit shows a lower standard of moral integrity than cheating on your spouse?_

    Nope. Because different laws have different punishments. Getting a speeding ticket is (usually) a minor offense. Getting a nasty divorce can legally cost you:
    1)your family
    2)everything you own
    3)Alimony.
    4)All of your private life on display in a public goverment courtroom

    All of these things will hurt your political career more than just “a speeding ticket”. A divorce is a preety bad political move, definately. However, if this story breaks, which did you think will get more news coverage… a “torrid, speculative”:http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,391426,00.html affair, or “corruption”:http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a4U6k9fZABc0&refer=home.

    Sure, the stevens thing is big for now, but wait until the media can really sink it’s teech into some affair allegations. Then we’ll see headlines at their worst.

  37. _And the problem with that, as we saw, is that justice delayed really IS justice denied: All the criminal matters we were told could be followed up after he was out of office were simply dropped._

    First of all, Paula Jones brought a civil lawsuit, it was not a criminal lawsuit. Second, Jones brought the lawsuit a few days short of the three-year statute limitations. Delay works both ways. Jones’ attorneys did not file a complaint that could withstand dismissal until Dec. of 97. Third, Paula Jones did not have a case. The court threw out the case for want of evidence of damages (i.e. unrelated to Clinton and Lewinski’s lying). “Opinion”:http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1998/04/03/jones.opinion/

    Delaying discovery for three years doesn’t strike me as justice denied. Jones was free to speak out about what happened to her. The media could run the stories. I dont’ see why the courts should be obligated to give her the right to conduct a fishing expedition into the sex life of a sitting president.

  38. celebrim,

    I’m not sure if you have high standards or an unrealistic view of humanity. I think it should be pointed out that because 1 in 4 marriages ends in infidelity (no idea if that is true or not) it doesn’t follow that 1 in 4 marriages endures infidelity. Many people cheat and don’t get caught; many people cheat and work through it with their spouses. I’m going to guess that the rate of infidelity is much much higher and that if we were to exclude people from public service because of marital infidelity we’d have to start putting penguins on our money.

  39. alchemist, do you really care whether Craig’s conduct was a misdemeanor? Take the same circumstances: Craig is the subject of homosexual rumors that he repeatedly denies, he comes down against homosexual rights in a number of issues, and then add that on one day the National Enquirer’s telescopic lense catches Craig at a homosexual beach resort holding hands with Charlie Crist. Nothing criminal. Just hypocricy, infidelity and stupidity. Are you outraged at the press coverage?

  40. PD, speaking for myself, Yes. though that is conditional. I’d feel better about excoriating the press for its sleazy interests in your hypothetical scenario if it didn’t include _he comes down against homosexual rights in a number of issues_, or, if we wanted the hypothetical to more closely match reality, _as a US Lawmaker he votes against homosexual rights._ The point being that it is something more than hypocrisy when a person doesn’t merely fail to practice what he preaches but actively seeks to punish those who practice what he secretly practices. We are all guilty of hypocrisy on a daily basis. We don’t all try to punish those for that which we get away with. This, to me, was the evil of Spitzer here in NY. He sent people to prison _while_ doing what they were caught doing. If Craig were just a guy who talked–but didn’t vote–against gay rights, the story would different. And it would be even more different, and I would be totally outraged at the press coverage in your scenario if he were a Senator that lived a secret gay life but didn’t speak out against gays or vote against gay rights. Absolutely.

  41. _Nothing criminal. Just hypocricy, infidelity and stupidity. Are you outraged at the press coverage?_

    Not really. I find it amusing; but in the end of the day not super important. Craig did plead guilty to public indecency, so there’s a legal issue thrown in there too, but not a big legal issue. It also supports my current thoery:

    Those who claim to be “morally superior” in their public life often make toy with very “immoral” decisions in their private life

    But my media example earlier was not quite up to snuff. Let’s compare media coverage of Craig’s sexual events to Stevens… I would argue that Stevens corruption charges are really much more important in preventing govermental decay. Craig’s, were more sensational, and likely recieved mroe media coverage. And I have been arguing that this is intrinsically a bad thing.

    This seem fair PD?

  42. The media’s role is to report the news. Inevitably news that is more interesting will be reported with more intensity than the mundane. Thus, Stevens’ story might be reported less than a story about a Congressmen that stuffs money in a freezer or a Congressman that extorts gilded toilet seats.

    While its true that sex sells, the stories that really sell aren’t simply infidelity, but the former prosecutor that pays an unbelievable fortune for an hour with a call girl, or the aged Senator using strange foot-stomping codes in airport bathrooms.

    Edwards’ alleged infidelity isn’t the story. The story is about his wife’s heroic struggle with cancer, highlighted and used by his campaign. The story is about a campaign assistant and his wife and family taking the fall for Edwards. The story is about a man who could have been President hiding in the basement bathroom from reporters at three in the morning.

    And the details are what tell us about character. I’m not particularly interested in the moral issues that this thread has drifted into. It’s not my position to judge other people’s morality, but I do need to judge the character of the politicians I choose to support to represent me.

  43. bq. It’s not my position to judge other people’s morality, but I do need to judge the character of the politicians I choose to support to represent me.

    But are the two not interlocked? To my thinking they are.

  44. The AP just reported (click on my name for the link) that per ABC News, Edwards copped to the affair but denies paternity of the child:

    Edwards told ABC News that he lied repeatedly about the affair with 42-year-old Rielle Hunter but said that he didn’t love her. He said he has not taken a paternity test but knows he isn’t the father because of the timing of the affair and the birth.

  45. I owe the National Enquirer an apology.

    I preferred Edwards to Obama (and Dodd to both), but if this had come out with Edwards the nominee I would have been very upset with him.

  46. Yeah that little girl’s daddy is Andrew Young (who happens to be African American…)

    Edwards must be pretty sure he has Rielle thoroughly bought-and-paid-for. Then again, he must have been pretty sure he wouldn’t get caught.

    Speaking of bought-and-paid-for, how are y’all who sold out for Edwards’ good name feeling right around now? Anyone? Bueller?

  47. AJL, you imply you aren’t upset with Edwards. Why not? He was, after all, trying to win the nomination, and had been reportedly angling for a second shot in the Veep spot. Imagine if he had gotten the nod for number 2 and this had blown open in the first week in October.

    Or better, imagine a situation where Edwards became President and this blew up. It would make the whole Lewinsky circus look like a sidewalk puppet show.

    Edwards needs to be beaten like a pinata, and good Democrats should get first swings.

  48. Something is still wrong here. None of this explains why Edwards was sneaking around to see the baby in the middle of the night when its rumored to be his lovechild. Especially if he is claiming he doesnt love the woman. And that baby doesnt look half african american. I never believe a liars first confession, its like a first offer from a used car salesmen. Keep haggling.

    I’m not sure why but seeing the Enquirer blurred a baby’s face made me giggle. Its good they did it I guess, but it still seems wacky: ‘Hey, arent you that baby from the tabloids?!’

  49. I haven’t found any photos of the Andrew Young who worked on the Edwards campaign (not the former Ambassador). How do you know he’s African American?

  50. Oh, I am upset with Edwards. His jeopardizing the Democratic Party was despicable. But he just isn’t important enough to American politics today for me to get worked up about it. If he were the presumptive nominee, I’d be agitating for his withdrawal.

  51. Edwards told ABC News that he lied repeatedly about the affair with 42-year-old Rielle Hunter …

    I don’t know about this. Is this a reliable source? Does he have pictures of himself?

    I can’t believe that Edwards, at the bottom of this hole, has found room to dig deeper. In his statement he says that his earlier denials were 99% accurate. “But being 99% honest is no longer enough.”

    Besides keeping his 1% in his pants, John Edwards should just keep his mouth shut for the rest of his life. Well, right after the Democratic Convention, anyway …

  52. The story is still weird. There is the Edwards benefactor paying Hunter off, (supposedly) without Edwards knowledge, because he thinks Edwards is the father. And Elizabeth apparantly knew about it and ran the smiling spouse campaign for her husband. Ugh.

    I take that last part a little personal. I felt for Elizabeth and indirectly for Edwards when the cancer diagnosis came out. The campaign didn’t seem likely to prevail; I thought better the two spend their time together. That was a strong pull and now I feel pretty disgusted with both of them. Did she have cancer? Another smiling spouse escorted on her husband’s walk of shame.

    Edwards is over, the weirdness means the story is not.

  53. PD Shaw –

    And Elizabeth apparantly knew about it and ran the smiling spouse campaign for her husband. Ugh.

    Did she have a choice? That’s not a Coach Woodcock question – I really don’t know the answer.

    Consider the magnitude of Edwards’ selfishness here – he did this during a campaign, surrounded by people who were investing a great deal of money and emotion in a project that he was cynically jeopardizing behind the scenes.

    If she knew about it, as he says she did, that means she went along with it, and the lies that followed it. If it was a choice between doing that and spending the last years of her life alone, then she’s the victim of a triple tragedy. And Edwards is a triple scoundrel.

    The tragedy is ruining the schadenfreude.

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