It's been 10 months since the world learned that former Presidential Candidate John Edwards (D-NC) had cheated on his wife and possibly fathered a baby with another woman. During that time, Edwards has been, in addition to kissing the ground his wife walks on, doing charity work to aid the poor in places like Haiti and El Salvador, and he has studiously avoided the press, even as his wife published a book and toured the country and appeared on Oprah.
Now, Edwards has broken his silence and granted an interview to the Washington Post. You can read the complete article here. The story opens by stating that Edwards has no illusions about how America views him. Yet, in these two paragraphs, it sure sounds like Edwards is making an effort to rehabilitate his public image:
Yet as he spends his days in his family's mansion on the outskirts of Chapel Hill, N.C., Edwards can't help but fret about how Washington and the country are getting on in his absence. He worries about the concessions that may be made on health-care reform, which he was promoting more aggressively than anyone on the presidential campaign trail. He worries about who will speak out for the country's neediest at a time when most attention is focused on the suddenly imperiled middle class.
"What happens now? If you were to ask people during the campaign who's talking most about [poverty], it was me," he said in an interview a few days ago. "There's a desperate need in the world for a voice of leadership on this issue. . . . The president's got a lot to do, he's got a lot of people to be responsible for, so I'm not critical of him, but there does need to be an aggressive voice beside the president."
Well, guess what, Mr. Edwards? That voice should not be you. Why do you think you deserve a second act before the American public (third act, actually, if you count your run as a VP candidate)? I will concede - cheating on your spouse as a politician has almost become de rigueur (as well as tacky and cliche), but you also likely fathered a child with your mistress, and you cheated on a woman with stage 4 cancer.
You claim you are not on a PR campaign, yet you refuse to rule out a return to politics. Eliot Spitzer (former NY Governor and employer of call girls) is at least pragmatic enough to see the forest for the trees. He knows his life as a politician is his over. Do you really think people are going to listen to what you have to say? Are you waiting for your wife to die so the living reminder of your sins will be gone and you can make a comeback? I'm sorry to have to be a soup nazi, but no more public time for you!
I think its grand that you seem to truly feel a need to champion poverty as a cause, and I'm equally sure you can make a real difference. But please - do it someplace else - away from the cameras and the microphones. Don't write a book. Don't send an op-ed to the New York Times. Don't do any more interviews. Redeem yourself with your family, and make peace with your God. You're not going to be able to do either on the public stage.