Thursday, March 22, 2007

Elizabeth and John Edwards Will Carry On

After a morning of rumors, the Edwards family announced at a noon press conference that, despite Elizabeth's being diagnosed with cancer that is "treatable but not curable," John's campaign for the presidency will continue--with Elizabeth participating as fully as she can. Good luck and God's blessings to them both.

On the far less important level of implications for politics and media, apparently the big story is the fact that the website The Politico laid an egg by declaring--inaccurately--that Edwards would definitely suspend his campaign. On the site, Ben Smith has issued a forthright mea culpa explaining and apologizing for the mistake.

More appalling than his error are some of the comments by visitors to The Politico. A few samples (spelling errors and typos uncorrected):
It'll be interesting to see what the Clintonistas and the Obama-Lama-Ding-Dongs do to garner the sympathy vote now that the Edwardses have (temporarily, at least) cornered the market. Perhaps Bill will have another right wing conspiracy affair? Hillary will realize she has no moral fiber? Obama will realize Unitarianism is a cult? Another political coup for the wily lawyer from NC!

This was cleary a scheme designed to use his wife's illness to get publicity and sympothy. Don't take it very hard you were just a pawn in this sick little game. Get used to it.

Well, what I said about wishing Mrs. Edwards and her family well in her battle with cancer stand. I have to say that my opinion of her husband, however, just went down a few notches as he places his political ambitions above his family. I suppose it was too much to hope for that despite having despicable views, Edwards might be a decent man.

And so, Mr. "Big House" Edwards' ego is more important than his family . . .
Talk about cynicism. What on earth gives these people the right to sit in judgment on a decision like the one the Edwardses have had to make?

For my money, Andrew Sullivan got it right (as he does sometimes). When the rumor mill was saying that Edwards was suspending his campaign, Sullivan wrote a post praising him for getting his priorities straight. Once the rumors proved to be false, Sullivan wrote an update saying, "Good for him," and praising the character of both the candidate and his wife.

There's obviously no inconsistency there. As outsiders, people like Sullivan and I would have supported and admired a decision by Edwards to leave the race so as to focus all his energy on the needs of his family. But as outsiders, we are clearly not in any position to condemn him now that he and Elizabeth have made the opposite decision. We're not the Edwardses' doctors and we're not members of the family--who are we to decide what's best for the two of them?

For too many people, dragging "family values" into politics seems to mean giving license to the bullies and the busy-bodies to stand in judgment over the rest of us.

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