Benny's World

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

John Edwards Emerges from the Shadows

As noted on my blogroll, John Edwards was slated to speak at Hoosierville, and indeed he did. About 1000 students attended the talk which was about the general election.

(photo courtesy of the IDS)

IU's student newspaper, the Indiana Daily Student, has more on this talk, but to add from what I read on the Daily Kos, it sounds like JRE kind of stayed on message about Barack Obama. He also acknowledged the 200,000 homeless veterans.

I want to make a special comment here.

I've been very appalled at what I read by fellow Dems about John Edwards at the DU , Open Left, the Daily Kos, and to a certain extent, by one of the editorial board members at Progressive Blue. Most have treated Edwards as though he were a pariah in the party, even though someone like Joe Lieberman (an independent who caucused most of the time with the Dems) who is fighting to keep his chairmanship, was worse by campaigning for John McCain, and questioned Barack Obama's leadership. I don't know why all of the sudden we have purity trolls out there when we know that the lure of any politician is power, and their misgiving about it can end up on the tabloids of the National Enquirer.

Martin Luther King Jr was a great leader, but he was sinner like Edwards. He had his share of womanizing during his time. One of the differences of course, is that the sentiment of John Edwards is more of disdain because his sin was revealed after it became known that Elizabeth had permanent cancer.

I remind readers of what Elizabeth wrote at the Daily Kos back in August:

Our family has been through a lot. Some caused by nature, some caused by human weakness, and some – most recently – caused by the desire for sensationalism and profit without any regard for the human consequences. None of these has been easy. But we have stood with one another through them all. Although John believes he should stand alone and take the consequences of his action now, when the door closes behind him, he has his family waiting for him.

John made a terrible mistake in 2006. 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 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. Because of a recent string of hurtful and absurd lies in a tabloid publication, because of a picture falsely suggesting that John was spending time with a child it wrongly alleged he had fathered outside our marriage, our private matter could no longer be wholly private.

The pain of the long journey since 2006 was about to be renewed.

John has spoken in a long on-camera interview I hope you watch. Admitting one’s mistakes is a hard thing for anyone to do, and I am proud of the courage John showed by his honesty in the face of shame. The toll on our family of news helicopters over our house and reporters in our driveway is yet unknown. But now the truth is out, and the repair work that began in 2006 will continue. I ask that the public, who expressed concern about the harm John’s conduct has done to us, think also about the real harm that the present voyeurism does and give me and my family the privacy we need at this time.

There are many who wish John Edwards would disappear, go home to Elizabeth, Emma Claire and Jack, and not crawl out of the hole. I disagree. The issue of poverty has not disappeared. Poverty is going to be in the forefront, more than ever, because people are losing their homes. Banks are doing what they want with the $700B bailout and our taxpayer dollars will never be recooped. I seriously doubt they will try to renegotiate with foreclosed owners because their losses have been covered and no need to sell the assets back to the government.

As much as I like Obama and Biden, poverty disappeared from their rhetoric most of the general election cycle. It was good that they talked about the middle class, but frequently, they didn't say that many of them were one bankruptcy away from sliding into the ditch.

There are too many uninsured people, and too many in poverty or undernourished.

To those of you who wish John Edwards gone, I say to you: you owe a lot to this man for pushing the progressive envelope. You owe him for a victory to the WH and you owe him some graciousness for admitting his sin when he did, and for dropping out when he did. Yes, his hubris has cost him political capital, but I for one am better off for knowing him, and his progressive agenda is likely to make it in many forms in Congress and Obama's cabinet. David Bonior is on the senior economic advisory team and likely to be the Labor Secretary. Many staffers who went over to Obama will have jobs on the Hill or in an Obama West Wing. And today, Max Baucus has decided to take up the populist cause of mandated health insurance.

John, you screwed up dude. But I never felt you betrayed me. You didn't betray your supporters either. You betrayed your family and put them in a horrible spotlight that no one wanted. However, I cannot judge you by your indiscretion. I can judge you for your ideas, and most of them were right.

Come out of the shadows, John. Continue to wear your ring. When the door seems to be closing, your family is waiting for you but so are your hardcore supporters. I'm ready to hear more about what you propose to do about poverty and push the others to take action too.

UPDATE: Bonior has told the press he is not interested in the Labor Secretary's job

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  • John Edwards, like many things and people better left in the past, appears to be poised for a comeback next year.

    By Blogger Bob W., at 8:53 PM  

  • Very funny, BobW, in leading a reader to a 404 page w/that link. BW readers, BobW is a conservative who has a quaint sense of humor, to put it politely.

    Welcome BobW. Hope you have some good stuff to debunk my positions or JRE/EE's positions.

    By Blogger benny06, at 8:59 PM  

  • Thanks, Benny06, for this post. It's good to see supporters of John Edwards coming out. We have to show him the respect and courtesy and most of all compassion that he would show any other human being.

    Let's hope that Bonior gets the Labor appointment and we make some progressive changes over the next 8 years, with or without an Edwards comeback.

    By Blogger Michelle L. O'Brien, at 6:29 AM  

  • I was/am and Edwards supporter, more her than him. She said he was ok and I believed her. I still believe her. Him not so much.

    You are right in that he did drive the policy of the Dems this election and I am grateful for that.

    I donated money to him. In the end I knew he wasn't going to win, but I thought he would go thru the super Tues. primaries. If he got 15% of the vote, which I think he would have in Ok., I had a chance to go to the convention. Still when he quit in Jan. I understood and felt he would go into the new administration or continue his work in Poverty. I was looking forward to being involved with that work. I'm a Social Worker and see a lot that needs to be done.

    Then the Affair. John Edwards knew he could get caught. He knew he could hurt the Democratic Party and in one night on a street corner in NYC he made a very bad judgment call. He picked himself over his family, supporters, and the cause of his life "poverty". While that shouldn't make a difference it does. He says poverty is the cause of his life, just like he told us Elizabeth was the love of his life. What are we suppose to think?

    There is a lot of anger among former supporters. Most of the negative comments come from people who supported him, gave him money and worked for him. He needs to address this anger. If he doesn't it will only fester and create more problems. It will be hard because we aren't an easy crowd.

    When you attempt to comment on a blog and try to work through this anger the responses you get are the type you have mention in your comments. So we are left to deal on our own. It would be eaiser to just forget him and move on. That's what will happen if he doesn't fight to regain our confidence. He's too old to wait 10 years for us to forget.

    He needs to be accountable to his supporters. He asked us to help him, he asked us to connect with him and his causes and then he betrayed us. Not because of his affair, but because he put himself before all of us and his causes. Of course the most harm was done to family. But he does owe his supporters some accountability. He needs to come clean with all and get it over with. If we become involved with him again we need to know he will tell us the truth and he will have to earn our respect and trust again. This time he will have to do it on his own. Elizabeth can't help him.

    I truly hope he will respect and trust us enough to be open and honest the next time around.

    By Blogger oklahomagirl, at 11:47 AM  

  • Very well said oklahomagirl! Yes, he made a very bad judgment call by having the affair but to think it would never become public was not only naive but stupid. (If he'd known Hunter would talk to everyone she met about the affair and pressure people for money, he would have known he was doomed.)

    He, and only he, owes his supporters some accountability. That doesn't mean we need all the ugly details but the questions need to be put to rest. Too many people believe Hunter's child is his and hush money is being paid to keep her quiet.

    Most importantly, he owes it to his family to put an end to it even if it means the end of any public role. Can you imagine his wife and their children living their lives with the threat of a tell all book and interviews hanging over their heads? They don't deserve it in any way, shape or form and only Edwards can do the right thing by them.

    By Blogger Anonymous, at 3:36 PM  

  • Yes, it needs to come out now. People will forget it in 6 mos. if they believe him. Besides how could it get much worse, unless he has mixed campaign money with his infedility. People already believe the child is his and they already think he made a bad choice and is a moron for it. As for a tell all book or film or interview, she won't make much money on them, people already don't care. If you look at the posts on other blogs they are the same few people. ( I use to be one. Not very productive. Won't solve the problem. The problem is that no one else will speak for the poor.)

    If he is concerned re: his children, Cate already knows and Emma Claire and Jack will be able to google the affair until the day they get old. He needs to put all of this to rest before he tries to come back. As long as there are secrets he will loose public respect. True, his private life is his, but, he mixed it with his public life when he hired her.

    If he comes back now and works hard to build confidence and popularity, in two years or so either she writes a book, does an interview, or makes a movie,or worse brings her to his events, he will be back where he started. It took Prince Charles 30+ years to get Camille. John's too old it won't happen. He needs to chose. He needs to put his family 1st when he choses.

    To those of us who gave him money, time and support he owes us accountibility.

    Again, he brought his private life into the campaign he can't cry foul now. We deserve accountibility. Ever politician should be held accountable.

    By Blogger oklahomagirl, at 10:12 AM  

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