Wednesday, July 23, 2008

John Edwards' two families for the two Americas

If this story about John Edwards is true, and the National Enquirer really seems to have the goods on him, all I can marvel at what a total sleaze he is. While I might be crass enough to get some shivers of schadenfreude at the description of him ducking into a hotel bathroom in the early morning to escape National Enquirer reporters and photographers and waiting for hotel security to escort him out of the bathroom, I can't help thinking of his poor wife and small children. And there is also his newest child to feel sorry for. It's always the innocent who suffer the most in these sorts of stories.

If the National Enquirer is correct, his girlfriend (are mistress and love child passé terms these days?) was six months pregnant in December 2007. Do the arithmetic. He and his wife announced that her cancer was back in March of that year and he must have been out working on his second family just a few months later. And it was all during the campaign last year when he still might have had a chance at the nomination. What is it with these politicians that they think they're immune from standards of normal decency?

We'll be able to trace the parameters of a feeding frenzy when it involves both a Democratic politician and a sex scandal uncovered by the Enquirer. Will the MSM give it the same sort of focus that they gave the arguably lesser scandals involving Larry Craig and Mark Foley? Will it travel the path from the National Enquirer to Drudge to the blogosphere to talk radio to cable TV to the MSM? Or will this story be limited to the fringes of the media? Byron York reminds us of how the media ran with the story of Rush Limbaugh and oxycontin that had been broken by the Enquirer. Mickey Kaus, who has been talking about this story since it first broke last year wonders if this will be
the first presidential-contender level scandal to occur completely in the undernews, without ever being reported in the cautious, respectable MSM? That's always seemed an interesting theoretical possibility--a prominent politician just disappears from the scene, after blogs and tabloids dig up dirt on him, but nobody who relies on the Times, Post, network news or Mark Halperin has the faintest idea why.
I'm cynical enough about the MSM to think that this story won't break through their protective ranks. If they can barely bring themselves to cover the Republican nominee for president, are they really going to take time from Obama's travels and adulation abroad in order to report a scandal about a Democratic politician?

And Roger Simon of Pajamas Media has a reminder for those who turn their noses up at the National Enquirer.
Oh, one last thing, for those of you who say it’s The National Enquirer, how do we know it’s true? I suggest you Google the “National Enquirer and OJ Simpson.” They broke most of the important stories on that case. In general, these days they’re vastly more reliable than The New York Times.
Yeah, this story is a lot more solidly reported than the rumors about John McCain's supposed affair that the NYT was happy to write about.

I never thought that Obama would seriously consider a proven electoral loser like Edwards for second duty as veep, despite such rumors, but this story thoroughly puts the kabosh on that idea. He will thankfully disappear from the scene except as an admonitory tale for other politicians who think they can get away with truly sleazy behavior.