Politics

John Edwards Political Stunt

The political stunt pulled Thursday by trial lawyer and presidential wannabe John Edwards seems unlikely to change the final outcome of 2008 election or even the Democrat Party’s selection of a nominee. But it should cause honest members of both parties to call Edward’s honest and integrity into question anew.

Let’s start with what we know for certain

Elizabeth Edwards, John’s wife of 30 years, has cancer and few if any Americans would hesitate to say a prayer for her success in fighting it. However, we now know that the cancer is only treatable — and not curable.

We know that because John Edwards chose to make the fact public in one of the most craven political maneuvers I’ve seen in some time.

Word came from the Edwards campaign Wednesday night that the candidate would have a major announcement about his candidacy and his wife’s health. With the presidential aspirations of Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama having sucked most of the oxygen out of the room there didn’t seem to be much left over for former-senator-slash-VP-nominee Edwards. Cable news outlets, bloggers and pundits alike guessed aloud that Edwards would pull out of the race or at the very least “suspend” his campaign (although one wonders whether you could successfully suspend a presidential campaign for even a nanosecond and then bring it back to life successfully).

They were wrong.

Edwards and wife Elizabeth appeared before the television cameras to announce that:

  1. Her cancer had returned and it was attacking her bones now.
  2. Her cancer is incurable, although treatable.
  3. His presidential campaign would go on, regardless.

John Edwards and his wife certainly have the right to make whatever private decisions they like about her illness, his career, their family or anything else. However, once they take those decisions to a public stage, the rest of us have a right to evaluate, discuss, interpret and critique what they have done.

I think that Edwards has demonstrated his values to America in a way that demonstrates all of the reasons he should not be President of this country.

Thirty years ago, he made a commitment when he married Elizabeth. He and his wife have two young children. She has a terminal illness. He has the economic wherewithal to stay home with his wife.

Elizabeth can draw any kind of happy face she wants on her husband’s decision to keep on campaigning, but what I see is a man who is not doing what’s best for his own family — and that’s a man I would not trust to do what’s right for my country.

I realize that we now live in a country where anyone in the public eye seems willing — even eager — to make public thinks that once would have been private matters. Celebrities confess their infidelities, sexual abuse, drug abuse, and physical abuse (what was done to them or what they have done to others). Most of it is stuff the rest of us could live the rest of our lives without hearing although I have noticed a pattern. When I was growing up, Americans were admired for quietly dealing with their own demons. Today, the press fawns over those who publicly announce that they have been victims of one kind or another.

Those who run for public office owe the public an explanation of private matters only when they will affect their ability to serve. Elizabeth’s cancer could have remained private and I believe reporters would have respected and honored the decision.

The Edwards say they chose to announce the cancer news (unknown even to closest family and friends) to “reassure the public.” Why does the public need reassurance about something that it’s unaware of?

The first of the Federal Election Commission’s fundraising deadlines falls on March 31 and it will be a litmus test for how a candidate’s campaign has been doing. Publicly announcing your wife’s incurable cancer a week out from that deadline seems like just the kind of tactic you would expect from a trial lawyer who made millions of dollars peddling Cerebral Palsy junk science and sob stories (the New York Times described how "stood before a jury and channeled the words of an unborn baby girl") to juries.

Would a man like that parade his incurably ill wife before the television cameras and announce that he is not going to stay home with her as she goes through “less debilitating chemotherapy” in exchange for…

(AP) Democrat John Edwards is forging ahead with his second bid for the presidency despite the sobering news that his wife, Elizabeth, is battling an incurable reappearance of cancer.

It almost makes him sound like the hero…

It also makes him sound like the last man I would want making critical decisions for America and the world.


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