The Atlanta Journal cartoonist, Mike Luckovich, recently captured the essence of former Democrat Vice-presidential candidate, John Edwards. The cartoon shows the trial judge at Mr. Edwards’ current criminal trial addressing the jury while Mr. Edwards preens in a handheld mirror:
“More testimony about Edwards’ efforts to keep his pregnant mistress secret followed by a 30-minute recess so we can all shower. . .”
John Grisham did a more thorough job of describing the essence of sleaze-bag class action tort lawyers, like Mr. Edwards, in his novel, King of Torts. It is not only an entertaining read; it is a dead on description of the essence of men like Mr. Edwards. And like the judge in the cartoon, you feel like you need a shower after reading it.
It is pretty well established that Mr. Edwards is a creep. Just the fact that he was out banging the help while his wife was dying of cancer, qualifies Mr. Edwards as a top-tier creep. It is a mistake, however, to describe his sexual assignations with Rielle Hunter as “an affair” or her as “his mistress.” Both of those terms assume some degree of emotional commitment by Mr. Edwards and based upon news stories and the testimony at his trial, it appears that the only emotional commitment Mr. Edwards ever had was to his mirror. Edwards’ lack of any emotional tie to Ms. Hunter is evidenced by his referral to her as a “crazy slut” when she turned up pregnant with his child.
We know also that Mr. Edwards was a “cheap creep.” In his 2007 filing with the federal election commission, Mr. Edwards acknowledged a net worth of approximately $30 Million. Those filings are notoriously inaccurate and allow candidates to underreport their true financial picture. Other estimates put Mr. Edwards’ net worth at about $55 Million during this period of time. CNN reported that Mr. Edwards earned $1.2 Million in 2006. But despite having more than enough income and assets to cover the costs of keeping Ms. Rielle incognito – an action that would have immunized him from the prosecution he is now facing – Mr. Edwards declined to spend his own money and, instead, tapped an aging dowager for hundreds of thousands of dollars in an attempt to protect his campaign. (There were earlier signs of this when Mr. Edwards was forced to reimburse his campaign after his disclosure forms revealed the campaign paid for two $400 haircuts – but then Mr. Edwards is a good liberal and more than willing to spend your money on his great ideas.)
But the most startling part of this whole melodrama is that all of this went undetected by the press during Mr. Edwards 2007-08 run for the presidency – I should say went undetected by the mainstream press because, apparently, the gossip rags were all over the story. Testimony during Mr. Edwards’ trial indicates that it was pretty common knowledge that Mr. Edwards was having sex with Ms. Rielle and that her child was more likely than not his. It was also common knowledge that Mr. Edwards’ wife was suffering from breast cancer – a fact that he trumpeted endlessly to gain empathy from women voters. The showdowns between Mr. Edwards and his wife over his sexual trysts were, apparently, also common knowledge among campaign staffers and more than a few wealthy donors.
This was a compelling story. A major political figure engaged in a number of sexual encounters with a member of his campaign staff – including a romp in Mr. Edwards’ wife’s own bed. A pregnancy that was denied – and denied to the point that Mr. Edwards engaged another staffer to take the fall for the pregnancy. Hundreds of thousands of dollars being paid by supporters of Mr. Edwards to keep Ms. Rielle quiet and even hidden. And yet nothing. Tantalizing headlines in the gossip rags and still nothing.
All of this is reminiscent of Gov. Neil Goldschmidt’s three-year sexual assault of a minor. In a previous column I noted:
“It’s no different than with the original story about former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt.
“When Goldschmidt resigned his position as head of the Board of Higher Education to avoid the looming scandal of his repeated rape of a fourteen year old girl, the Oregonian dutifully reported Goldschmidt’s press release saying that he had resigned for “health” reasons. The Oregonian did this in spite of having access to the exact same information on Goldschmidt as did Willamette Week which later that same day broke its Pulitzer Prize winning story detailing the sordid conduct of Goldschmidt over an extended period of time as well as his efforts to cover his tracks by making payments to his victim. It was only after Willamette Week broke the story on its web page that the Oregonian finally scrapped Goldschmidt’s press release and coughed up the actual story.
“In the aftermath it appears that the Oregonian had information that could have led to the exposure of Goldschmidt years prior to the Willamette Week story and chose not to pursue it.”
Likewise, the story of Portland Mayor Sam Adam’s pursuit of teenager. In another previous column I noted:
“First, Sam Adams has admittedly engaged in predatory sexual conduct. Beau Breedlove was a teenager serving as a legislative intern and whom Adams was “mentoring.” At the time that this affair began, Adams was twenty-five years older than this teenager. He was in a position of trust as a mentor and a position of authority as a Portland City Commissioner. Experts in human behavior tell us that predatory sexual behavior is usually a recidivist behavior – if such a person has done it once, it is likely that he has done it before and will do it again.
“Second, Adams lied to the public during the course of his mayoral campaign in denying any relationship with Breedlove. He coached Breedlove to likewise lie about the relationship. Adams may still be lying about the relationship given the discrepancies between his statement and Breedlove’s. Adams has asserted that nothing occurred between he and Breedlove until after Breedlove’s eighteenth birthday – apparently Adams is aware of the statutory rape laws. Breedlove, however, states that one of their first encounters occurred in the men’s room at City Hall while he was still seventeen. Apparently, the encounter involved kissing – not sex – although, given their age difference, it was inappropriate and may have crossed the lines of criminal sexual misconduct with a minor.
“Third, the governing class, including the Oregonian, covered up this story at the critical moment when something could have been done by the voters. Bob Ball repeatedly raised this issue during his exploratory campaign against Adams. He met with the Oregonian but the Oregonian refused to pursue the issue. In its own recent editorial calling on Adams to resign, the Oregonian came as close as it ever will to admitting a mistake:
“‘For one thing, when Bob Ball, his would-be opponent began spreading rumors about Adams and Breedlove back in 2007, Adams didn’t just deny the allegations and decry Ball’s tactics. He launched an all-out public relations assault against the man.
“”He asked one of the city’s leading campaign specialists to coach Breedlove in dealing with the onslaught of impertinent questions. He preached piously about the importance of mentoring young, confused gay men to help them through their identity crises. He derided Ball for falsely employing a vicious anti-gay canard in his effort to force Adams out of the mayor’s race and out of politics. He took care, he claimed, to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. He’d do it all again, Adams proclaimed back then, to defend these virtues. He fairly dripped sanctimony.
“‘But it was a lie, Adams now admits, cooked up to save his political career.
“‘Sad to say, plenty of us bought it and, for that, we owe Ball an apology. Yet, even this week, Adams felt an underlying justification for his tactics back then because Ball accused him of criminality instead of mere sexual exploitation of a callow young man.” [Emphasis added]
The bias of the mainstream press in support of liberal politicians is a raw, open and seeping sore. Nowhere is it more obvious than in what it withholds as much as what it prints. If you are counting on the press to expose the corruption of those with whom they agree politically, don’t hold your breath.
It is this attitude and a refusal to deal with it in a forthright manner that has contributed to the diminution of America’s print media. It is an attitude that has been well documented and most often reluctantly admitted. But it is an attitude, coupled with a sense of invulnerability, that has allowed it to continue unfettered. And like any open, running sore, it will eventually kill the host.