i wanted john edwards to get the Democratic nomination. i was sad when he didn't. not because i thought he was any better, or worse, than any of the other likely choices, but b/c i thought he had a better chance to win. he was white, he was male, he was a good ol' boy.
luckily, i was wrong. the country is racist and it's sexist, but it's also puritanical. very puritanical. we want our presidents to be Pure. murderous is ok. starving out poor kids is ok. adultery is not.
personally i don't care if my president keeps a harem, as long as its inhabitants are adult and free to leave at any time.
so it isn't edwards' adultery that upsets me. i'd be perfectly happy if elizabeth edwards kicked him out of the house after assaulting him in such a way that he never would have sex with anyone, ever again. but that's her business. i have never felt entitled as an american citizen to know about my candidate's sex life.
on the other hand, i am concerned about my candidate's intelligence. edwards talks intelligently. i had mistakenly beleived that meant he was intelligent.
well, he isn't. i could forgive clinton his monumental stupidity in the lewinsky fuss. after all, we have a long history of the press's gentleman's agreement with pols; we see no sex, hear no sex, and print no sex. clinton got caught in a new era, when the press reports everything a prominent pol does.
2006 was well after the lewinsky hearings. a smart pol considering running for president would have looked at the pretty lady, sadly said, 'sorry, babe, maybe after the end of my administration.' a shot at the presidency, or a night of illicit merriment?
so suppose our smart pol had gotten carried away with lust, like a 16-year-old schoolboy. afterwards, what could he do? probably what edwards did do--pretend it never happened and hope she would too and no one would be the wiser. only then the press finds out. wouldn't the dread words, 'i never had sex with that woman," haunt him? wouldn't that be time for either a manly confession or at least a dignified refusal to discuss personal matters in a political campaign?
politicians lie. of course they do. machiavelli knew it 500 years ago, and we know it now, however much we collaborate in the lies by pretending they're not possible. but as machiavelli also knew, they have to be shrewd, they have to know when to stop lying because they're going to be found out anyway, and they need then to appear as if they have integrity in spite of their lapses. they need, that is, to know when to switch to a new and more subtle lie.
i enjoyed the image of the dedicated husband. i'm willing to beleive that in his own way, he has been a dedicated husband. if his wife can deal with his infidelity, i don't see why the press can't or why the american public can't. anyway, i can.
but i'm afraid of a stupid president--after 8 years, i should be. and for all smooth talk and boyish charm, john edwards has revealed himself to be a very stupid man. i hope he has hurt only himself and his family; i very much fear he has hurt the Democratic party, and thus done his own little part to give us four more years of bush-hood.