Thursday, August 14, 2008

Who Decides?

John Edwards served one term as a US Senator from North Carolina. He was chosen as John Kerry’s running mate in 2004. He ran for president in the 2008 election, but failed to win the nomination. At this point in time, he is not a candidate, and he is not holding any public office. He is, however, being excoriated all over the media for having been caught cheating on his wife.

Edwards was an absolute idiot – visiting his ex-mistress and her baby of uncertain paternity, in a hotel in Beverly Hills, was the height of stupidity. As my little old lady friend Fran pointed out, “He should have gone to Omaha.” We can all agree that his conduct was reprehensible. Cheating on one’s spouse is never a good thing. When one’s wife is America’s sweetheart, Elizabeth Edwards, who has terminal cancer, it’s even worse. The thing is – since Edwards is not a candidate or an elected official, this story is being blown way out of proportion. If Willard “Mitt” Romney was caught cheating – would talking heads on CNN be saying that Romney “owes us” an explanation? And when did CNN become a Fox News clone, anyhow?

The media is so busy exploiting the Edwards family, it’s a wonder that there’s been time to cover the Olympics. It may explain why the conduct of President Bush at the Olympics hasn’t received so much coverage. Google up “Bush drunk at the Olympics” and take a look at the pictures, especially the pictures of five Secret Service agents “helping” Bush out of the stands. Shouldn’t we the people be made aware if the president is so frail that he needs five guys to help him out of the stands? Should we be informed if our president is so drunk in another country that he can’t stand up in public? Is the conduct of a sitting president more or less important that the conduct of a former presidential candidate? Who decides? How much do we have a “right” to know?

Predictably, right wing hate radio has had a field day with all of this. Rush Limbaugh was caught on video squirming in his seat like a ten year old boy getting ready to launch a spitball, as he chortled gleefully that perhaps the real problem was that Elizabeth Edwards talks too much. He didn’t stop there. He went on to say that if she’d spent more time doing something with her mouth other than talking, perhaps John wouldn’t have strayed. A tasteful commentary from a thrice divorced man, who was caught with someone else’s Viagra in his suitcase on his way back from Thailand, where child prostitution is quite common.

The hypocrisy of the right finally made the biggest patsy on Fox News finally grow a spine. Alan Colmes has long been the liberal foil to blustering, right-wing bully Sean Hannity on the Fox News show “Hannity and Colmes.” Hannity was blabbering on and on, and on about how cheating on his spouse would make Edwards unfit to lead, and the normally mild mannered Colmes pointed out that John McCain was an adulterer – which sent Hannity into a tizzy of epic proportions. From Hannity’s response, I gather that cheating on your wife after spending time as a POW is justifiable. Or more to the point – it’s okay when Republicans do it. Holmes didn’t back down as he customarily does – he pushed Hannity into loudly spouting his hypocrisy for all of us to hear.

For too long the dishonesty of right wing hate radio and TV has been unquestioned. Those days seem to be coming to an end. Hannity’s endless condemnation of Edwards was bound to lead into a discussion of John McCain’s adultery. Hannity just wasn’t smart enough to realize it. John McCain’s wife was injured in a car accident while he was in the POW camp. When he came back, she was on crutches, having lost 4 inches in height and having gained some weight. She wasn’t the model he married. So, he went out and played around, finally meeting his current spouse, the heiress whose money launched his political career. He dumped the wife who faithfully waited for him, and married the heiress. We don’t hear much about that, just as we don’t hear much about the Keating Five, or the unsavory ties McCain has to so many lobbyists. We also don’t hear much about the newer Mrs. McCain’s illegal (yet unprosecuted) conduct when she was stealing drugs from her non-profit.

How much do we need to know about a candidate’s life? Who decides? Who decides that we need to roast a former candidate and his wife over an open pit, while giving a pass to a current candidate who seems to have some serious problems in his history? We can all say that we don’t care what people do in the privacy of their own homes and relationships, but that doesn’t seem to be true. Somewhere out there, clearly many, many people care – because rather than discussing the ethically challenged current candidate, we’re far more concerned with the salacious conduct of a man who will never be a candidate again.

“Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.” Oscar Wilde

Hannity Loses His Mind

Rush Limbaugh is a scum sucking misogynist

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