I’m sure you’ve probably read this someplace else by now, but John Edwards today admitted to having carried on an affair with Rielle Hunter in 2006. As you may well know, this story actually originally broke in The National Inquirer some months ago, I believe while his Presidential bid was still alive.
Ezra’s got the best take on it so far. I have two competing emotions right now – anger and sadness. The sadness is simple to explain – I liked Edwards, I thought he had a good set of policies, policies which were both morally and politically strong, and I hoped that, even if Obama were to win the nomination, a place could be found where Edwards’ voice would be heard. Now, if that place happens, it will have to remain quiet, secretive, and that makes it less effective.
The anger is best explained by Ezra’s commenter Tyro
It’s not just the affair that makes Edwards look bad– it’s the narcissism of deciding to run for president after having been caught in the affair, thinking that it wouldn’t eventually find its way into the press. The guy was putting the entire Democratic party at risk by creating the possibility that he might actually get nominated.
Just so. I don’t know what the mentality was that led to Edwards deciding to run, when he knew that there was a likely game-ending scandal just waiting to break. Surely he knew that there were two major factors working against him – firstly, sex scandals are a much bigger deal when they happen to Democrats. It may not be fair, but it’s true. Secondly, recent scandals are a much bigger deal than old ones. It’s no huge deal that John McCain cheated on his first wife with the woman who was to be his second 25 years ago. But it’s a huge deal that Bill Clinton got a blowjob in the Oval Office.
They may not be fair, but them’s the rules, and Edwards knew it, and went ahead anyhow. I shudder to think where we would be right now if this story broke while Edwards was the presumptive Democratic nominee. I’m simply very glad that this didn’t come to pass.
One final point, made by Ezra commenter Petey, the strongest Edwards backer in the blogosphere:
Full props for the discipline of holding it for an extra week to drop it into the best newshole of the season.
Indeed. Friday is the traditional day to drop bad news, since it will be somewhat Old News by Monday morning, when most people really check back in with the Universe. Dropping it on a Friday which also happens to be the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics? Brilliant.