Elizabeth Edwards has hit the chat show circuit to hawk her new memoir “Resilience.” Her interview with Oprah airs Thursday. Elizabeth has some important lessons to teach the young women of today. The most important of these lessons is to be nothing like her, though I’m pretty sure that’s not the message she is trying to send.
Typically, when someone whines about his or her circumstances, I take a common sense approach and start by blaming the victim. The fact is that bad things tend to happen to people who make bad, or at least dumb, decisions. No money? You’re probably not working hard enough. Dead end job? You probably didn’t get an education. Creepy husband who cheats with a trampy party girl and humiliates you in front of the entire nation? You probably chose to marry and stick with a creepy husband who would cheat with a trampy party girl and humiliate you in front of the entire nation.
Elizabeth is not at fault for the death of her son in a tragic auto accident, or for her fight with cancer. But she sure as hell is at fault for partnering with the kind of guy who would exploit both those things to further his own ambitions. Democratic strategist Robert Shrum tells of how when Johnny got the vice presidential nod in 2004, he told John Kerry a story he had never told anyone else, about how he kept a vigil by his son’s body and tearfully promised to uphold the boy’s ideals. Kerry was appalled - because Edwards had told him the very same story a couple years before, including the part about never telling anyone before.
Just writing about that makes me want to shower. And Elizabeth hitched her wagon to the guy who did it.
Maybe I’m biased because I deal with smarmy plaintiff’s lawyers every day. The worst of them have that same fake empathy, grating self-righteousness and noxious narcissism that John Edwards threatened to bring to the White House in 2008. Few of them can match his hair, though. It’s awesome.
When Johnny decided that Elizabeth’s illness was bringing him down, he decided to have a fling with Rielle Hunter. Rielle changed her name from the more pedestrian Lisa Druck. Lisa had a fling with Jay McInerney - remember him?. McInerney, part of the cultural wallpaper of the 1980s, actually used her as the inspiration for the heroine of one of his novels that no one ever reads any more.
Rielle seduced Johnny with a powerful pick-up line that no man could be expected to resist - “You are so hot!” We’re lucky this guy never got near the Oval Office - he’d go to a Latin American summit and end up doing Castro’s laundry.
Did I mention they might have had a kid? A kid John Edwards won’t claim. Classy.
I know one truly professional plaintiff’s lawyer who I greatly respect and who actually knew Johnny well and supported his candidacy. Sitting around waiting for a deposition to start, she told me how hurt and disappointed she and her friends were. She did not mention what I assume were the stacks of money she and others had forked over because, though I cannot for the life of me understand why, they sincerely believed he was the right man to lead our country. He had betrayed them, and Elizabeth knew it and let them put their time, money and reputations behind him anyway.
She is not a victim. She is an accomplice.
So, now that she has emerged from the 28,000 square foot palace where she still lives with the Paladin of the Downtrodden to tell her story, I hope just one interviewer has the guts to ask the only question I’d like to hear her answer:
Why don’t you and Johnny have the decency to just go away?
Originally published May 6, 2009, at Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood blog.