I tend to think of myself as fairly cynical on the whole but I have to admit that the John Edwards affair caught me on the back foot. I had him pegged as a regular joe with a nice wife and kids. His message had found a hold with a sizable chunk of Americans despite his rather privileged background. Why? because I think people genuinely thought he cared and had the best interests of Americans at heart. I, like many others, liked John and Elizabeth Edwards especially the way they had battled through all the tragedy that they had faced.
It's hard to now tally that with the man who had an affair with an "actor/film maker" while his wife was in remission, (remission remember, it's not as if she was still battling cancer, so that makes it ok) with the man campaigning for universal health care reform. The only thing I can say is that at least it wasn't with an intern or secretary - that would have been clichéd.
It's a mystery, but not a shock, that men such as Edwards with everything going for them, wife, family, career etc go and hit the self destruct button and throw everything away on a few moments of self gratification. How can such clever men think that such a fling can be worth the humiliation and public exposure of the intimate details of their life, is beyond me. However, the greater mystery is why their wives, often strong, clever, beautiful women, not only stand by them but agree to covering up the incident, which lets be honest, is going to come out anyway into the full glare of the public eye.
What does still shock me is that being caught out, instead of holding their hands up and admitting their faults, they have the arrogance to come across as affronted and hurt by such slanderous rumours, as if a well rehearsed denial will fool anyone. Then being proven guilty they are not only cheats but liars as well. In an town where morals seem to be regarded as campaign rhetoric, you can understand the sudden enthusiasm that greeted a message of change by those who are sick of this kind of smut.
But what makes this case especially disheartening is, as Andy Ostroy writing in the Huffington Post says: "what is it about these extra-special dirtbags -- Edwards, Gingrich, McCain to name a few -- who are not only compelled to betray their wives, but allegedly do so while these poor women are battling some sort of dreaded illness or debilitating physical condition? They reside on the bottom of the philanderers food chain."
By Beth Connor