For many of us on the left side of the progressive wing of the democratic party, it was refreshing as hell to watch John Edwards pick up the gauntlet for “class” issues back in ’07. Edwards was the first mainstream candidate in a long time to speak the “C” word, that is, about class and poverty in America. Not since 1968 and ’72 had a serious candidate for president spoken on behalf of and for poor people in America. The Two America’s theme was spot on; it took Michael Harrington’s “the Other America” classic and made it relevant for the 21st century.
Now, I’m reading that Edwards may merely have been under the influence of Rielle Hunter, a Werner Ehrhard new age groupie helping this ’04 Veep wannabe to re-invent himself, and perhaps, disturbingly, also find his real self.
That’s what her webisodes were all about, getting America to learn about the real John Edwards, as if for the past several years, we had been seeing a fake john edwards (and perhaps we were), and also, it seems, the webisodes had a therapeutic effect on the candidate himself, even helping him at 50+ years to find himself.
That’s my biggest disappointment regarding the Edwards affair. I don’t care who he shtups. none of my business. What is my business however, is the political and philosophical grounding for John Edwards’ political resurgence as a progressive lefty, someone who indeed successfully shifted the primary campaign leftward, and is probably responsible for Hillary Clinton herself morphing into a economic populist during the latter stages of the primary battle. This guy had the potential to influence the debate in a positive direction for the next decade.
Here’s my question: Was Edwards under the influence of careful reflection, reading and observation of the american condition, or, was this self admitted narcissist on a middle age joy-ride into eastern philosophy and idealism.
During the primary campaign I thought Edwards had been influenced by the former; with this week’s revelations, it appears i was wrong.
Case and point. If Edwards were seriously committed to his political agenda, he would have been on air talking about his new poverty reduction movement called Half in Ten,” cutting poverty by 50 in ten years, rather than talking about his own narcissism and hubris. “Half in ten” has just been launched and yet, there is almost nothing about it in the press. Yes, this is a tricky moment for Edwards. Perhaps he should have postponed Half in Ten’s launch. It is also the press’ fault. they would prefer to cover Edwards’ love life than a serious and vexing policy field.
The point is, were Edwards the real deal, his anti poverty campaign and not his love child would be getting his attention.
Perhaps Edwards’ anti-poverty efforts were more about advancing his political career all along. just another cynical poll. Given the influence Rielle Hunter apparently has had over Edwards, it appears as if “Half in Ten” is more a Werner Erhardt’s flaky 1980’s rip off, than any attempt to alter the political condition for millions of impoverished Americans. Makes me question my own support for this guy.
This disappoints me most.