The Edwards affair

August 5, 2008

During the Monica Lewinsky peccadillo, Susan Estrich spent a lot of time arguing that a politician’s private life was none of our business (“It wasn’t the sex, they argued, but the lying. I never bought that. It was the sex.”). Now comes the John Edwards scandal, and she’s not so sure. For one thing, there’s the fact that he allegedly enlisted a fall guy to take the rap, one who is also married and has a child, a pretty dishonorable thing to do. Then there’s the effect this must be having on his wife:

But what bothers me most, I have to admit, about this whole affair, if that’s indeed what it was, is the cruelty it seems to evince toward the politician’s wife. She’s sick. Really sick. I can’t imagine what she must be going through now. Or rather, I can imagine, and it is upsetting, especially when I think of her trying to protect their two young children and their twenty-something daughter from the publicity and the gossip.

I wasn’t blogging back during the Clinton scandal (who was?), but I wrote a lot of editorials about it. I believed then and believe now that much in a politician’s personal life (whether it’s Bill Clinton’s or Larry Craig’s sexual preferences or Bill Bennett’s gambling habits) is fair game because what someone does in private reveals his character and judgment and shows what he will be like in his public life. It’s especially revealing to know what someone is willing to lie about and to whom.

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One Response to “The Edwards affair”

  1. Larry Morris Says:

    I disagree. As we get further away from some of the earlier “founding fathers”, we discover that some of them had lapses of morality, just as some of our recent politicians have had. The only difference is we weren’t consumed with everyone’s personal life back then, the press left them alone, or there was no press to speak of following their every move. The more we insist on politicians being the moral pillars of our community, the fewer candidates we will have to pick from. Unless it represents criminal activity, your personal life should be your own, …


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