Saturday, January 30, 2010

Something to avoid at all costs

As Time magazine recently put it, "[t]here's unpopular, there's widely loathed, there's despised, and then there's John Edwards." I never did like the former senator and presidential candidate, partly because, with his glib tongue and $400.00 haircuts, he always seemed too slick and phony, and partly because he also struck me as being a bit too much of a demagogue. Perhaps those very traits do much to explain his undeniable success as a trial attorney, but one wildly extravagant promise advanced by him during the 2004 election campaign was enough to ensure that I would never vote for him for any office, under any circumstances. He was John Kerry's running mate that year, and stem-cell research was among the major issues in the campaign. A few weeks before the election, the actor Christopher Reeve passed away. He had been paralyzed from the neck down in a horseback-riding accident nine years previously and was a vigorous proponent of stem-cell research. With the "Superman" star's death fresh on everyone's mind, Edwards assured the crowd at a campaign rally that if John Kerry were elected President, paralysis victims such as Christopher Reeve would be able to walk again. I half-expected him to follow up on this remarkably audacious and literally incredible claim by promising that if he was elected, Kerry would invite 5000 ordinary citizens to his inauguration, after which he would then proceed to feed them all with five loaves and two fishes.

All of this was long before his affair with Rielle Hunter exposed him to all the world as a liar and a cad, and effectively destroyed whatever hope he might have had of reviving his political career. But I have to give the man credit for one thing: he personified one more very good reason for me to want to remain faithful to my wife, which is that I don't want to give anyone reason to mention John Edwards and me in the same sentence, or in the same breath. Unfortunately, through no fault of mine or his, there already exists one reason for people to do that: he and I were born exactly one day apart. I suppose I can live with that much, but I fervently hope that I have nothing else in common with Edwards, who at this moment is probably the most unpopular man in America. And with good reason.

Read the entire Time article here.


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