Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Don't Call It a Comeback

The American people secretly enjoy two things, especially in politics: Power and Scandal.

John Edwards’ political career has all the trappings and context of a Shakespearean tragedy with a healthy dose of TMZ.

So when word came out this week that John Edwards is staging a comeback to the political landscape, I scoffed. This isn’t a comeback; it’s a reintroduction.

Think of it as John Edwards 2.0.

John Edwards’ rise was too good to be true: a small town trial lawyer, who came from nothing, married his college sweetheart and celebrated every anniversary at a fast food restaurant. This small town trial lawyer went into politics and had a meteoric rise that eventually saw him tapped by John Kerry as his Vice Presidential nominee in 2004.

But his fall has been just as fast as allegations that he fathered a child out of wedlock as his wife was dying of cancer splashed across news crawls and headlines in 2008.

But just this week, John Edwards has engaged in a new low in his political career; there are rumblings of a comeback. But wait. Even if Edwards is going to do more of a mea culpa than he did on ABC’s Nightline the first time when he admitted, “in 2006 … I made a very serious mistake. A mistake that I am responsible for and one else,” crying crocodile tears on camera, he still has to face the grand jury.

A federal grand jury in North Carolina is investigating whether or not Edwards or his staff used campaign contributions to pay his mistress hush money or paid her a salary. The New York Times reported that people familiar with the grand jury investigation as trying to untangle the legal morass of “whether payments to a candidate’s mistress to ensure her silence (thus maintaining a candidate’s viability) should be considered campaign donation and thus whether they should be reported.” Two of Edward’s main backers provided the mistress with large sums of money, including a new BMW and a house that was used to keep her out of public view.

That’s not a good thing for any politician – even a Kennedy wouldn’t be able to survive this kind of infidelity mess. Or could they?

Today, not many pesky problems, perverted peccadilloes, or salacious scandals survive in America’s Collective Conscience.

In recent months, Senator David Vitter R-LA, is seeking re-election after a prostitution scandal. Senator John Ensign, R-NV is still in office after having an affair with a staffer’s wife. And who can forget Mark Sanford, the married governor of South Carolina, whose lusty emails and covert trip to Argentina to see his Buenos Aires baby doll didn’t get him kicked out of office.

John Edwards wants to come back. He wants to, again, be in the spotlight and be in politics even though he has fallen out of favor in his own state of North Carolina.

But we have seen other elected political heroes survive scandals and maintain their political toehold in Congress. Why should John Edwards be any different?

Americans’ memories are short. John Edwards cheated on his dying wife, fathered a child out of wedlock and, allegedly, misappropriated campaign funds to keep his mistress hidden and his run for president viable.

John Edwards will be back – maybe not representing the good people in North Carolina – but he’ll find constituents that will fall for his narcissistic charm and forgive him enough to get him re-elected.

But don't call it a comeback.

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