John Edwards ran his failed 2008 presidential campaign on a theme of "two Americas," rich and poor. Well, as one political consultant said Friday after Edwards admitted to an adulterous affair, "We now know that there are two John Edwardses."
Indeed. Edwards went to great lengths during the campaign to portray himself as a family man. When wife Elizabeth's cancer returned last fall, the couple gave an emotional interview to "60 Minutes," in which the White House hopeful said that presidential candidates' personal lives "indicate something about what kind of human being they are." He invited the country to "look at what kind of human beings each of us are, and what kind of president we'd make."
We now know that Edwards is the kind of human being who would cheat on his spouse, lie repeatedly in public about it and, then, after he told his terminally ill wife the affair had ended, sneak into a Beverly Hills hotel in the middle of the night to meet Rielle Hunter, the other woman.
With Hunter at the hotel was her child, whom a former Edwards campaign staffer married with children says is his. The baby's birth certificate doesn't list a father, and Edwards denies that the child is his. He says, in fact, that he's willing to take a test to prove it. Unfortunately, his credibility is dreadfully lacking at present.
The Edwards affair also raises questions for the mainstream media, which didn't appear particularly zealous to report a story that first surfaced in the National Enquirer in October 2007. Only recently had mid-market newspapers, especially in Edwards' home state of North Carolina, picked up the pace, focusing on the potential fallout for the coming Democratic National Convention.
The most striking thing about this sleazy drama is what it says about Edwards' hubris. This arrogant politician ran for president and asked for scrutiny and judgment of his private life, putting his family and party at risk. Did he really think he was going to get away with this?