A public affair

Where do you stand on the Edwards admission? Members of Salon's Table Talk community weigh in.


Salon Staff
August 11, 2008 1:46PM (UTC)

White House

The JOHN EDWARDS 2008 Thread

dsduryea - 12:09 pm Pacific Time - Aug 8, 2008 - #6481 of 6564

On MSNBC now. Edwards admits to affair, says child is not his.

DebG - 12:15 pm Pacific Time - Aug 8, 2008 - #6482 of 6564

Painful. I really don't give a damn about who does what with whom. I am angry that he was so hounded.

Advertisement:

Sky Bluesky - 12:27 pm Pacific Time - Aug 8, 2008 - #6483 of 6564

Dammit. Dammit, dammit, dammit. Sure, I'm angry that he was hounded. But I think I'm also angry that he did it. I'm angry that he lied about it for so long. For me, I'm sad, but there's also a healthy dose of furious mixed in there.

Pat C - 12:32 pm Pacific Time - Aug 8, 2008 - #6484 of 6564

There can not be any such thing as civilization unless people have a conscience. In such a big landscape, our communications must have a conscience and a commitment for the truth of the facts, in its spirit and its intent. But did he lie about war?

djen - 01:01 pm Pacific Time - Aug 8, 2008 - #6491 of 6564

I really liked Edwards, thinking he was a family man. Yes, he is but to how many families? In my opinion, there could be nothing worse than a man cheating on his wife while she has cancer. That seems to be the way of things though, they stay around and everyone thinks how great they are. That happened to my sister before she died. I sincerely hope this baby faced bastard never has anything political again in his future.

Advertisement:

estherc - 01:05 pm Pacific Time - Aug 8, 2008 - #6492 of 6564

Anyone who lacks the self control to not have an affair while running a presidential campaign in the current climate is not suited to the national political stage. It's that simple. Anyone who can't keep their pecker in their pocket knowing how self destructive it is in no way suited to be president. Practice a little self discipline if you want to be POTUS for christ's sake. And anyone who would humiliate the lovely Elizabeth Edwards like that deserves whatever shit that rains down on him.

Pat C - 01:10 pm Pacific Time - Aug 8, 2008 - #6495 of 6572

This is just pitiful. This is just gotcha crap. Do you have any idea how many Presidents had affairs vs how many were persecuted for it?

R. Prichard - 01:14 pm Pacific Time - Aug 8, 2008 - #6497 of 6572

Advertisement:

My condolences to those of you are heartbroken. So terribly sad for the Edwards family. Looks to me like the videographer or somebody associated with her set him up for the hotel picture. Risk-taking behavior goes hand-in-hand with political leadership. Most people don't want to hear that. But if George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and other key founders hadn't been extreme risk-takers (including sexually), this country would never have come into being under the constitution.

The list goes on and on. FDR (one of our greatest), JFK (saved the world from thermonuclear war), WJC (a very good pres.), to name a few. Many others no doubt never got exposed.

The MSM has evidence that McCain lied to the public about his relationship with Vicki Iseman. Just like Funeralgate, the MSM is keeping it from the electorate and the Dems are allowing them to. The McCain/Iseman story is actually relevant.

Advertisement:

Nancy Richardson - 01:17 pm Pacific Time - Aug 8, 2008 - #6500 of 6572

You know, I gave up moral outrage about men having affairs around the time I realized that that men have affairs. A lot. so do women.

His political career is over. That is a damn shame. His private life is none of my business.

Advertisement:

And rather than get into this game about faux outrage....I just wanna say... enjoy yourselves people. throw them stones.... hope it makes you feel so morally superior to the rest of us mortals.

Campbell - 01:18 pm Pacific Time - Aug 8, 2008 - #6501 of 6572

Jerk. Liar. And I especially detest this weird parsing that's going on: The child is not mine (yeah, right), I didn't love her, etc.

There should be a special circle in hell for men who cheat on their wives while they have cancer. And with you, estherc: He couldn't keep his pants zipped while running for PRESIDENT? While watching his wife campaign for him while she HAS CANCER?

Advertisement:

AndreaCG - 01:31 pm Pacific Time - Aug 8, 2008 - #6506 of 6572

I'm very disappointed in Edwards. Besides the immorality of cheating on your sick spouse, after Clinton to risk having an affair when you are even contemplating running for President is just plain stupid. Especially when you're a Democrat, since we already get disproportionately bad coverage.

purplesage - 01:33 pm Pacific Time - Aug 8, 2008 - #6508 of 6573 Zeesh. If having these types of affairs is a pre-req to being President (risk-taking and all of that), we must have had a slew of stupid Presidents. In the old days, at least it was harder to get caught and the President was not so much in the public eye. I don't judge Edwards, but I don't like the myth about men not being able to keep their pants zipped and the like. As far as women being equally guilty, we've yet to have a woman President, so I'm withholding my judgment on that one until we do.

Nancy Richardson - 01:51 pm Pacific Time - Aug 8, 2008 - #6530 of 6573

Advertisement:

Here is a little something for all you totally perfect people who know that the worst thing a man can do if cheat on a wife with cancer (but don't seem too terribly bothers, one assumes, if she has Lupus or MS....I guess.)

So another human showed himself to be human, and nominal progressives hop on their high horses and moralize and judge and get all dewey-eyed in support of Elizabeth, as if you have any idea what went on in their marriage, and in their bed. As if you have any right to know.

(yeah, that's YOU....you moral parasites gloming on to the suffering of others)

This is none of our business. This is an American sickness, this need to know--the belief that we're entitled to know--about the sexual lives of politicians.

Advertisement:

But but but, you don't have a problem with the sex, you say, you have a problem with his lying about it. Yeah, that's what Ken Starr said too.

Don't get me wrong. I wish he could've kept it his pants, especially if this hurts the cause he championed: economic justice. I supported Edwards not because I loved him and not because I thought he had sex with only his wife. I supported him because I believe in progressive populism.

Something tells me that this will lead Edwards to eventually redouble his efforts to speak out on behalf of the less lucky. The Puritan poohbahs of our culture will make him go through a public self-loathing session, in which he and Elizabeth go on Oprah and talk about their effort to "get past this." And all of you can continue to feel superior. Yes, thanks to the finger-sniffing campaign that many of you are gleefully aiding, it will be a while before he restores his credibility, if he ever does.

pc alger - 01:56 pm Pacific Time - Aug 8, 2008 - #6536 of 6573

Advertisement:

I supported Edwards not because I loved him and not because I thought he had sex with only his wife. I supported him because I believe in progressive populism. Yes. And, as has been said or intimated before, America really must grow up. Puritanism is perhaps are least attractive national heritage. (and it is just a little boring)

Ken Erfourth - 01:58 pm Pacific Time - Aug 8, 2008 - #6538 of 6573

I feel sad for the Edwards, that they couldn't get any privacy. I'm not especially judgmental about John Edwards, because an awful lot of people have affairs (not me, but that's mostly due to a lack of social skills).

People get infatuated, people get stressed, people do stupid things. People are human.

Advertisement:

In the real world, when a spouse is seriously (even terminally) ill, relationships suffer enormous strains. Bad things often lead to more bad things. I've never tried to do anything on the scale that the Edwards tried. I give them credit for all their work.

As far as judging John himself, I guess I'll take my leadership from Elizabeth. Nobody else has any business expecting their opinions to matter. I imagine Elizabeth would just like us to respect her family's privacy. In retrospect, the drop out of the campaign before Super Tuesday makes a lot more sense, and shows some good judgment.

purplesage - 02:28 pm Pacific Time - Aug 8, 2008 - #6547 of 6573

My feelings about this affair have nothing to do with Puritanical morality or any antipathy towards affairs in general. It's just that when one partner in a marriage has an affair with someone else, it generally means one of two things. Either they don't love each other or else one is betraying the other. In this case, either John does not love Elizabeth or he did betray her. That's how I look at it. One partner betraying another is not unforgivable, but it is a flaw, and it usually does hurt. It is definitely not my business, but nonetheless it does lessen my respect.

MLB - 02:40 pm Pacific Time - Aug 8, 2008 - #6552 of 6573

The Edwards' family drama - IS none of our business....

You cannot know what's happened nor happening in a marriage just to look at it from the outside. You also cannot judge what the impact of illness, death, success, money has on any particular family. Don't even try.

Scheduler - 02:45 pm Pacific Time - Aug 8, 2008 - #6557 of 6573

I am not going to be posting on this beyond to say that I am beyond disgusted that due to a salacious media and culture I am forced to even have an opinion on this. It is none of any of our business, and I would very much liked to have remained innocent of this knowledge.

Kalinakka - 02:48 pm Pacific Time - Aug 8, 2008 - #6559 of 6573

This American puritanism about sex is repellent. It is simply NOT TRUE that a person who "cheats on their spouse" cannot be trusted in any other context. (The idea that an affair disqualifies an otherwise competent man or woman from holding office is truly unfortunate. By that standard, any number of past leaders, some of whom were among the best and brightest of their time, would not have been allowed to be leaders. Jefferson, FDR, Kennedy .... etc.)

Nevertheless, however stupid this attitude is, it exists. Anybody who's in US politics today knows the taboo: don't mess around. If you do, don't get caught. And since the likelihood is that you WILL get caught (least if you are a Democrat; IOKIYAR still mostly applies) -- don't mess around. It's bound to impact your ability to accomplish your political goals and to serve the country. That was my reaction to Clinton -- not moral judgment about his sex life, but: he knew the score. So did Edwards. Clinton went ahead anyway, and screwed up most of his second term. And now we find that Edwards also apparently went ahead anyway, and would have screwed up his candidacy if he had stayed in the race; he may have screwed up his entire political future and the services he might still render to the country.

How sad and foolish it all is.

Best of Table Talk is an ongoing feature of Salon's vibrant community forum. Older posts of the week may be found in TT. Want to join the discussion? Sign up here.


Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff

BROWSE SALON.COM
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR

Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address

•••





Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •