Monday, September 1, 2008

Note to John Edwards and Sarah Palin: It is Our Business!


Another day, another revelation.

This time it's the news that Bristol Palin, the 17-year old daughter of Alaska Governor and newly minted McCain VP Sarah Palin, is five months pregnant. This coming on the heels of John Edwards half-hearted 'admission' to engaging in an affair behind the back of his cancer-stricken wife.

Lying, cheating, and teenage pregnancies are all realities of everyday life, in America and abroad. We are all human beings, and we are all subject to making mistakes: as my mother always says, it can happen to anybody.

But, let me tell you what really has me riled up with the cases of John Edwards and Sarah Palin. These are two public officials who have cultivated their entire public lives on one assumption:

That their families are perfect, and yours are not.

Let me explain. John Edwards cultivated an entire political career based on his good looks, boy next door charm, college sweetheart wife, and three beautiful children. The portrait of the perfect American family. Whether he was running for President or Vice President, you always so those two adorable children not far behind, always on the road, and always within camera range. He talked about 'Two Americas', how he was the son of a mill-worker and through hard work and dedication to God and his family he was able to live the American dream.

This was all storybook, the stuff dreams are made of; and the media ate-it-all-up.

It turns out that the only dedication Edwards had was to himself and his personal ambition. If his timeline is to be believed, he confessed of an affair to his wife in September of 2006, well before the first-in-the-nation primaries will be held in January of 2008. And with rumors of the story already circulating around alternative news agencies, he, and his wife, yes she is complicit in this, decided to say 'the heck with it' and forge ahead with the nominating process, all while lying through their teeth, continuing to assert that the stories of any affair were completely false.

'Trash' Edwards once called it.

So here we have a man, who for his own personal ambition of becoming President of the United States, decided to potentially 'throw-under-the-bus' the Democratic party, and the forty-million or so voters who voted during the democratic primary season.

And when finally admitting his transgressions, what did John Edwards have to say?

'I had gotten to a point in my life where I though I could get away with it.'

Thanks John, that's comforting.

This is not a private matter.

Now onto Governor Palin. The Alaska Governor has really energized the conservative base of the Republican party since John McCain tapped her to be his running mate this past Friday. All we heard about her was how strong her Christian faith was. How strong her family values were. How great it would be for America, to bring a women with such strong faith in God and such strong family values to the White House. How she could serve as an example for other mothers, who juggle their professional careers with raising a family.

These are all admirable traits, now only if they were actually true.

I am tired of politicians ramming down my throat, and yours, how great their family values are. And when there's a slip-up on their part, or on the part of someone in their family, they quickly shuffle behind this vague line:

'This is a private family matter, we ask the media to respect our privacy.'

Well, I am sorry. I will not respect your privacy. Do not come into my home through my television set and talk to me in front of the media cameras that you have invited into your home just for the purposes of showing me how 'strong' your family values are. And for you to then turn around, when a transgression occurs, and tell me 'respect my families privacy'.

There's a reason America is in love with Bill Clinton. It is not because he's a great speaker, or that they necessarily agree with him on all of the issues. It is because he is vulnerable, and he doesn't hide it. Bill Clinton showed us the good, the bad, and the ugly during his eight years in office, and he never tried to hide that. He didn't present himself as a perfect man, and he never described his family as the perfect family.

And neither should you.

So yes, John and Sarah, this is my business.

But only because you made it mine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I was with you when you suggested an “ignore” strategy for the Obama campaign in regards to McCain’s selection of a relatively inexperienced strong woman who could deflect attacks by highlighting similar inherent weaknesses of her opponents. The hope by McCain in making this decision, I suspect, was to neutralize to a large degree personality components and be able to move on to policy debates wherein they have some perceived strengths.

I disagree with your lumping Palin, Edwards and former President Clinton as if their sins were equal on some moral equivalency basis. It is the perception among many that there are differing “values” standards for Republicans and Democrats, men and women, evangelicals and others, and adults and children i.e. it is OK that John and Bill had affairs but Bristol having a baby out of wedlock is tantamount to a “career-ender” for Sarah.

IMHO here’s a better, more uniform standard. Human beings are prone to error. Prompt admission, and efforts at change should be sufficient for forgiveness; obfuscation, denial and business-as-usual attitudes should provoke an opposite response. (BTW I would not categorize John or Bill’s response as the former).

I guess we all can revert into the old politics of personal destruction, but I thought we had entered a New Age (LOL). I sense the media are avoiding an issue-oriented campaign. Let’s not evade discussion of some fairly clear policy distinctions. Let the real games begin.