John Edwards blew the better part of a million bucks on his mistress, but according to the National Enquirer, she dumped him when he asked her to take the fall for him on federal charges. Thus was another high-paying job lost to our struggling economy.
The Enquirer has long been dismissed as a joke, but they were absolutely right about Edwards, every step of the way. With all due respect to the Enquirer crew, that says more about the rest of the media than it does about them. The mainstream press worked very hard to ignore the John Edwards story, and they came perilously close to installing this horrible man in the Oval Office.
Today the shame of the mainstream press was chiseled into the stone of history, as Johnny Reid Edwards was indicted on counts of conspiracy, illegal campaign contributions, and making false statements to the Federal Election Commission. This was all done to hide his mistress, Rielle Hunter, and her pregnancy from the public.
The indictment says Edwards abused campaign-finance law because he knew that “public revelation of the affair and the pregnancy would destroy his candidacy by, among other things, undermining Edwards’ presentation of himself as a family man and by forcing his campaign to divert personnel and resources away from other campaign activities to respond to criticism and media scrutiny regarding the affair and pregnancy.”
Our campaign finance laws are needlessly complex, but in this case, they served an important purpose: they kept this sociopath away from the Oval Office. What sort of governance might we have expected from someone who would divert hundreds of thousands of dollars from campaign donors into a frantic effort to conceal the fact that he was cheating on his cancer-stricken wife? How low would he have been willing to stoop to preserve his image, and flatter his vanity, under the pressures of the offices of Vice President or President?
Edwards has a high-powered legal team, including Gregory Craig, who handled Bill Clinton’s defense against impeachment, and used to be Barack Obama’s top White House lawyer. He might be able to beat the charges. He’s confident enough of his chances to have refused a plea-bargain agreement with prosecutors.
An April article in the UK Daily Mail claimed Edwards had become suicidal over the possibility of indictment, telling friends, “I won’t go to jail. I’d kill myself first.” Too bad he didn’t take his marriage vows that seriously. There’s no reason to think he would have shown any more deference to his oath of office. Hopefully the weird delusion that public probity can be somehow separated from private morality will die for good during his trial.