Monday, August 11, 2008

The Week That Was

So much happened this week. Blog readers Owen and Molly got married, though not to each other, but to people (Char & Shaw) who may or may not spend much time on the blog. Anyway, congratulations to all of them.

Also, John Edwards told everyone he's a narcissist and an egocentrist, and that's why he hooked it up with Jay McInerney's ex-girlfriend. Of course, my endorsement of Edwards for President means I am obligated to comment, so let me say this: I still don't give a shit about character. If you believe that John Edwards was a snake-oil salesman who used poverty alleviation for his platform only for political points, 1) you're wrong (since he didn't come close to winning because, you know, poor people don't have an office on K Street) and 2) you probably feel vindicated because he cheated on his wife and lied about it, so that makes him a fake, like you always knew he was. This is America, and that's your right. And if you think John Edwards is smarmy and Elizabeth is great, then you really, really hate him now. Fair enough -- even though it looks like Elizabeth encouraged him to run after he told her about the affair, so maybe we shouldn't ascribe all the naked and fool-hardy ambition to him alone.

But if like me, you think there is absolutely no connection between a politician's marital infidelity (and desperate and moronic attempts at covering up said infidelity) and his worth as a potential statesman, then you don't really come out of this whole mess with a new outlook on things: John and Elizabeth Edwards forced Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to talk about poverty and pushed the debate on universal health care in the primaries, thus paving the way for those issues to be prominent in a fantastical Obama Administration. It's that straightforward. Now even If he wanted to divorce Elizabeth and shack up with his mistress that makes him a bad husband and a bad father, but it doesn't change his politics. It didn't for Nicholas Sarkozy, and it didn''t for John McCain, who left his hobbled, ballooning wife, the mother of his children, for a blonde cheerleader, who thinks c**t is a term of endearment, and provides him with a lifetime supply of Bud Light Lime and money.

...But, while I credit Edwards for being needlessly self-punishing in his admission (what other politician owns up to narcissism?) and for sparing Elizabeth the Silda Spitzer sideshow treatment, I do have one hang-up about the affair: I don't care about the sex -- I care about the money. Rielle Hunter was paid six figures to make short documentaries about Edwards, and by at least one account, her hiring occurred after the start of their affair. Now, Hunter is what we would term a failed actress, with little experience in documentary film-making, and, apparently, her salary was paid out of the One America Foundation. That is, it would seem John Edwards used my contribution to pay his Yanni-worshipping girlfriend to hang out with him on the campaign trail. If this is in fact the case, then you -- Heidi, E., anonymousalex et. al -- were right, and John Edwards can go fuck himself.

I'm voting for Heath Ledger.


E said...

what about bernie mac and isaac hayes dying? can we provide some coverage on that, too?

y'know, as far as edwards is concerned, i don't these politicians or their wives. there are two americas indeed.

cold4thestreets said...

You can see from the heading that this was originally supposed to be an omnibus post, but I kind of got sucked into millworkerland. Of course, Bernie Mac's passing (and to some extent Isaac Hayes') weighs heavily on my mind

heidi said...

cold firmly believes that "there is absolutely no connection between a politician's marital infidelity . . . and his worth as a potential statesman."

i could not disagree more. it often, and fairly, signals to me a disrespect for women. why should i expect a man who disrespects his wife to advance mine and other women's interests? why should i expect a man who ignores the effect of this behavior on his own children to advance the interests of my children?

political order is best achieved when our leaders' souls themselves are properly ordered. (see _the republic_).

unfortunately, because so many politicians are driven more by their own ego than by a desire to improve the lives of others, it's practically expected that they will behave this way. but just because the world has not fallen apart under their rule does not mean we should accept or tolerate this behavior.

i'm no puritan. but i do believe our leaders should be role models, and not just in the art of apology.

cold4thestreets said...

Heidi, Platonic references have no effect on me, you should know. Who has time for the dead, white, masculine western canon when one has a Netflix account?

Anyway, I always welcome your idealism in this and other fora -- your "I'm no puritan" protestations notwithstanding.

Perhaps true to my namesake, I am cold and cynical, but if a man -- not John Edwards, but any man -- cheats on his wife, but supports reproductive rights, equal pay measures, and harsher penalties for perpetrators of domestic violence, I just don't see what is served by extrapolating from his personal failings.

People are complex, hypocritical sons of bitches. Hell, speaking just for myself, I'd fight tooth and nail before I gave the loony guy around the corner from my house a quarter, but that doesn't mean I don't believe in entitlement programs, compassionate policy towards the homeless, and meaningful treatment options for drug addicts. My big picture liberalism isn't undermined by my street-corner stinginess.

But, again, I'm a cynic. There are no heroes in American politics -- just varying degrees of asshole. I wouldn't have a beer with any of these silly ass-nuggets, but they're necessary to the dysfunctioning of our republic, so I try to focus in on the substantive bits, and avoid the psychological analysis.

E said...

c4ts, didn't you read the republic as part of your CC syllabus during your days at columbia?

sugarpockets said...

ah, reading/ watching c4ts and heidi spar over idealism and politics makes me nostalgic for the days of friends' club. When are we having a reunion, people?

E said...

oh funny you mention that bc we were all wondering whether you and c4ts were free president's day weekend?

foreal! locale TBD.

cold4thestreets said...

e, i didn't have time for the lit hum syllabus because i was totally stressing about my swimming test.

sugarpockets said...

hmm, i don't tend to plan that far in advance. so far as i know, prez's day is ok for me. you need to check with c4ts for his availability.