John Edwards Nearly Destroyed the Democratic Party

Rielle Hunter, being grilled by Oprah
The best thing that ever happened to the Democratic Party was the rise of Barack Obama. Had he not come along when he did, and had he not taken his chance on the presidency in 2007, we might very well have ended up with John Edwards.

If we had seen Edwards run for President in 2008, I have no doubt in my mind that he would have beaten McCain and gotten elected. I think that Edwards would have run on the economy and won, possibly with Hillary Clinton as his running mate (yes, I would acknowledge that if Obama hadn't run, Clinton probably would have run the table to the nomination and won herself).

There was no way McCain was going to win against any of the three top Democrats--Edwards, Obama, or Clinton. McCain was a flop as a candidate, and any of those three would have run away with the Not Bush vote, which sealed the deal.

But, when you get to 2009, the wingnuts would have unraveled the Edwards affair, and they would have proceeded apace with their efforts after the untimely death of Elizabeth Edwards. They would have seized on Rielle Hunter and ridden that issue well past the expiration date (this is how we still have birther nonsense to contend with nearly halfway through 2012).

The exposure of this sordid affair would have destroyed the Edwards Presidency. We wouldn't be talking about Election 2012. We'd be talking about how the impeached (and thus, resigned) president damaged the chances of his successor. We'd be stuck in a Gerald Ford scenario right now. The damage done to the Democratic Party would be enormous.

And I don't think Edwards is entirely at fault. Somewhere, in the makeup of Rielle Hunter's psyche, is that of one of the great narcissists in American political history. She latched onto this man and brought him down like he was prey in order to ensure that everyone would know her name. She was no wide-eyed innocent in all of this. She just happened to have grabbed onto the ripest piece of low-hanging, ethically-challenged fruit.

Neither one of them proceeded with their dalliance as if they had any working knowledge of modern American politics. Neither one of them screwed around with the other one with any semblance of dignity or common sense. They smashed into each other, slobbered all over themselves, and acted like there wasn't a single person in the world who was going to try to get to the bottom of who did what to whom and what might have emerged from their walk on the wild side. 

What concerns me is the discussion of poverty in the United States. The demise of John Edwards has meant that populism and economic class issues have disappeared from view, kept alive solely by the efforts of the 99% movement, which has no viable national leader. Edwards could have been that symbol and that leader.

Instead, he is pursing his lips in mock concern, watching his douchebaggery being played out by someone else's wife.

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