Sunday, July 27, 2008

Reliable Sources

As I’ve argued many times before, in not nominating John Edwards, the Democrats missed a rare historical opportunity to change course (albeit slightly) for the better. But maybe it’s a good thing, from a lesser evil point of view, that the opportunity was missed. I say this because it seems that Edwards may have a Gary Hart streak; one that, were he the nominee, might land John McCain in the Oval Office. Even if Edwards did nothing remotely sleazy, count on the Republican sleaze machine to work full time to convey the impression that he did. They know that for a sizeable portion of the American electorate, “there’s nothing true nor false but seeming makes it so.” Witness their repeated insinuations that (JC and Yahweh forbid!) Barack Hussein Obama is a “secret Muslim,” a “charge” sure to rile America’s growing ranks of Islamophobes.

The story does seem preposterous. Would Edwards have had an affair just in time for the primary season? He’s no dummy, after all; he understands that this isn’t France and that there’s more than a little (thoroughly justifiable) sympathy out there for his wife. But even if he had an affair, a “love child” is a bit much. And don’t forget the cover up – getting a campaign aid named (ironically) Andrew Young to claim paternity and then to move the mother and child into the gated North Carolina community where he lives with his wife and children. This exceeds Gary Hart. But The National Enquirer, the tabloid that broke the story, is a more reliable source than our so-called quality press, especially in matters of this sort – they were the ones who broke the story on Hart! Now the affair is beginning even to find its way into the mainstream media. There is some comfort in the fact that The Enquirer’s story was “confirmed” Friday night on Fox News. That supports disbelief. On the other hand, the quality press abroad -- here, for example -- does seem to have picked up the story. That lends it credibility.

Elizabeth Edwards, who would have made a better President even than John, doesn’t need this. Neither do those of us who still harbor the hope that Obama might nominate a VP with better politics than his own. Most likely, that won’t be anybody; now it almost certainly won’t be Edwards. Unless the allegation is false, which is unlikely -- or even if it is, unless the rumor gets definitely squelched, which is all but impossible -- Edwards will likely have no role at all in an Obama administration. That will be our loss.

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