John Edwards’ crimes were tough to prove, even tougher to stomach.
Let’s be real: Few honest observers doubt he did what they said he did – use huge campaign contributions to hide a mistress and illegitimate child from view in the 2008 presidential election in order to convince the public he was every bit the gallant knight he portrayed himself to be.
He didn’t know anything about it all. Yeah, right.
But the beauty of our criminal justice system is that, even in highly politicized cases, the burden of proof for the government is a high threshold. In this case, that bar couldn’t be hurdled.
Yet, if what Edwards did wasn’t a crime, it oughta be. Call it “high cynicism” or “theft by suckering.” It doesn’t get much more brazen. Big donors were used to keep mistress Rielle Hunter both quiet and comfortable and off the public’s radar, in order to further the false image he tried to get us all to buy.
John Edwards – known for his pretty-boy looks and locks and a charm so seductive that an alternate juror was even accused of flirting with him – is now the disgraced face of an American political system that couldn’t possibly become more vapid and superficial but probably will, as a result of his getting off scot-free.
Much as Bill Clinton singlehandedly lowered the standards of a nation by having illicit sex in the Oval Office itself and perjuring himself under oath about another affair, only to survive impeachment, so the Edwards case ratchets down the already low public opinion and frequent narcissistic behavior of politicians.
Edwards even tried to play the self-flagellating victim on the courthouse steps after being acquitted on one charge and winning an apparently decisive mistrial on five others. Give it a few weeks. If this case follows precedent, the man who did all the above while his wife was dying of cancer will soon be lampooning his sins in funny commercials or on late-night television, and won’t that just be endearing and redemptive.
Meanwhile, Edwards aide Andrew Young established a new low for toadies – not only helping Edwards hide the mistress and child, but even publicly claiming the child was his. Somehow, he got his wife to go along with the embarrassment.
Note to self: No politician is worth that kind of prostration. Let the Edwards affair be a red flag to suckers and sycophants everywhere: Be careful at what golden calfs you toss your coin.