Is Elizabeth Edwards a Victim?

May 11th, 2009

Elizabeth Edwards has been ubiquitous on TV and in the press of late.  She’s the wife of John Edwards, one-term senator, vice-presidential candidate in 2004, presidential primary candidate in 2004 and 2008, and wealthy trial lawyer.  

Mrs. Edwards suffers from terminal cancer.  This was very publicly announced in a joint appearance with her husband during his latest campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.  Her recent visibility is the result of a publicity tour promoting her book Resilience

The book apparently goes into detail on her husband’s seedy affair with a woman named Reille Hunter, who was paid lots of campaign cash for a make-work video she shot during his campaign.  There has also been serious speculation that Edwards is the father of Hunter’s baby, a possibility that Mrs. Edwards has not denied during her book tour.

The Edwards’ joint announcement of the return of her cancer, during which they announced that his campaign for president would continue, was a skin-crawler.  There were many things about it that just didn’t seem right, but it wasn’t acceptable to speculate too far on their motives.  After all, the lady has cancer. 

Now, Mrs. Edwards herself makes it pretty clear that she was more enabler than victim, just about as hungry for the power and prestige of the presidency as her too-slick-by-half husband.  As the tour continues, more and more people are asking hard questions, as reflected in an NPR blog post.

Perhaps the most brutally honest opinion has been that of Roger Simon of Politico.  In addressing the question of Elizabeth Edwards’ role in the scandal and the larger context, Simon wrote:

John Edwards is a beast, a wretch, a vile and low creature unworthy of any sympathy. He had an affair with Rielle Hunter, and he lied about it to the press. And now he must pay the price.

Lying cannot be tolerated. John Edwards has no future in the Democratic Party, a party scrupulous about whom it adores.

Bill Clinton is one of the most revered and admired figures in the Democratic Party today. He had an affair with Gennifer Flowers before his 1992 presidential campaign and lied about it to the press. He had an affair with Monica Lewinsky while he was president and lied about it to the press, his wife, staff, friends, colleagues, the Cabinet, investigators and Congress.

So you can see the difference.

Edwards is back in the news for two reasons. First, he is under federal investigation for possibly converting campaign funds to his personal use — i.e., paying his mistress, who was supposed to be making videos for the campaign.

Second, his wife, Elizabeth, is promoting her new book, going on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and talking about her husband’s affair and its effect on her. …

So while Elizabeth Edwards was certainly victimized by John, she also became not just his co-conspirator but also his attack dog. Was she being used by him? Or did she want to get to the White House as badly as he did?

Every decent person continues to have a great deal of sympathy for Mrs. Edwards, although she’s making it a bit difficult.  It would be best for her, her family, and her disgraced husband if she stopped talking and explaining so much.

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3 Responses to “Is Elizabeth Edwards a Victim?”

  1. Larry |

    Elizabeth Edwards is no dummy. Trash sells and for big bucks. I have the greatest sympathy for Ms. Edward’s physical condition. Cancer is a bad adversary under even the best of conditions but in a case such as this it can also be a real plus. People that might normally overlook old John’s infidelities are repelled by the notion of him cheating on a dying spouse.

    I wish Elizabeth all the luck in the world. She and husband John became wealthy, or so the story goes, by being ambulance chasers. Maybe they’ll turn a few bucks from old John’s skirt chasing as well.

  2. Posts about Politico as of May 12, 2009 » The Daily Parr |

    […] she was told all about waterboarding but not that they were going to use it. You still with me? Is Elizabeth Edwards a Victim? – 05/12/2009 Elizabeth Edwards  has been ubiquitous on TV and in the press of […]

  3. doris |

    I don’t see her as a victim at all; do you consider all women or men cheated on as victims? This is an unfortunate lack of character on John’s part, but that does not make the wife a victim, but a recipient of disloyalty. You cannot be a victim, especially if you forgive him and go on with your marriage. The fact that she has cancer is sad for the whole family, but can you imagine the stresses on the intimacy of a marriage? In a perfect world, a man would be undyingly true, especially in the face of illness, but we all make mistakes and need physical love as well as some emotional release from an intolerably hard situation. I think he, as well as Bill Clinton, were both unbelievably stupid to do this in the glare of the public’s eye, but I think they are human and men, and I, for one, politically forgive them, especially since their wives, who are the only ones whose business it is, can. Get over it people, no she is not a victim at all, but an opportunist. All powerful and good-looking men are extremely tempted, and most don’t pass the test.

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