Saturday, February 27, 2010

Book 13: The Politician

When the 2008 Presidential campaign was looming, John Edwards was the first Democratic candidate I really considered following. I liked his stance on Poverty eradication. I wanted to give him a shot at the candidacy. I don't know precisely what it was that triggered me to start looking at the other contenders, and ultimately wholeheartedly supporting someone else, but early in the race something just didn't seem right with Edwards.
Soon enough, the news broke about his (at the time) alleged affair with Rielle Hunter. I figured that was between Edwards and his wife. Elizabeth appeared to react with dignity. I was disappointed in Edwards, after his very public declarations about Elizabeth being the love of his life.
As more and more of the story broke, the more disgusted I became. John Edwards let a staffer take the fall for him? He was actually this baby's father and denied it for nearly two years?! I was incredulous. And I felt compassion for Elizabeth and their children.
I was also fascinated by Andrew Young, the staffer and long time friend of the Edwards family. What motivated this man to claim paternity for a child that was not his? That is what intrigued me about this book. I wanted to hear what Young had to say.
Now, I have no idea how much of this book is true. It could be written off as sour grapes from a man hoping to ride Edwards' coattails into the White House. After reading the book, I feel like Andrew Young had a case of hero worship, and believed his friend and boss when Edwards told Young that Young and his family would always be taken of if they supported Edwards' efforts to get into the White House.
After reading this book and hearing various other accounts of this saga, I truly believe John Edwards thought he was entitled to whatever he wanted. I honestly think he thought he was above getting caught. I think Elizabeth Edwards was equally as ambitious. After seeing transcripts of some of the emails and voice mails Elizabeth sent Young and his wife, I've lost a lot of respect for her. I have to presume they are true, as I believe it would open Young to libel suits if he made them up.
I suppose politics is just a smarmy game, and a lot of time you have to take the good with the bad. But I also wonder just how far I would go to support someone... I consider myself a very loyal person, but I can't imagine doing everything that Young did. I hope I would see through the manipulation that Young experienced. I hope that I would have the foresight to stick to my ideals and maintain my integrity. But who knows? What really happens when you are so subtly pulled into this kind of web?
A very quick non-fiction read. Just Young telling his side of the story, showing how, in his hindsight view, John and Elizabeth Edwards very nearly hoodwinked us all.

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