Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Moving Finger Writes

Here's the worst case scenario for a married man who happens to be a public figure. You go to Los Angeles to meet a woman with whom you have had an affair. You meet her in her room at a fancy hotel in order to try to talk her into maintaining her silence. As you are leaving in the wee hours of the morning you note, much to your considerable horror, that you have been followed by reporters from that proud bastion of journalism the National Enquirer. So you do what anyone else would do under the circumstances.

You run down the hall to the men's room and lock the door. And from that ignoble space you call the front desk to get security to throw the reporters off the property.

And in the privacy of a public latrine at the Beverly Hilton your head hums. Whither human dignity? You think, " I could have been President. And look at me now."

Well? What did they expect? I say "they" because the widely admired Elizabeth Edwards says that John confessed to her in 2006. These people are not stupid. And still they pressed on with the campaign as if they thought that this story would never see the light of day.

Perhaps they would have reconsidered if they had known that the filmmaker he knew as Rielle Hunter had previously been known in New York as Lisa Druck. She dated the author Jay McInerney who said that she was the model for the character Allison Poole in his novel "The Story of My Life" who he describes as: "a budding actress already fatally well-versed in hopping the clubs, shopping Chanel, falling in and out of lust, and abusing other people's credit cards."

It is never good when a merely unstable person becomes an inconvenient one as well. Again, what on God's green Earth made them think they could pull this off in the first place?

I had an interesting conversation about this with a friend the other night. She took keen interest in Edwards referring to himself as "a narcissist." She noted that no man that refers to himself thusly really believes it. This observation was confirmed by the all-seeing and all-knowing Dr. GG who told me on the cell phone that " Narcissists never blame themselves. They have no insight. It's always somebody else's fault."

As for me, I don't know whether Edwards is a narcissist or not. We all, each and everyone of us, want to be the star in our own movie. And I have to think that the urge to run for higher elective office has an element of narcissism to it. Indeed, given the rigors of the average Presidential race, one could rightly wonder whether any person that wanted the job was actually sane enough to vote for.

I do know that, at the end of the day, he is just another man who made a mistake. And all of us have made mistakes with our money and with our private parts. Each and every one. Most of us haven't been in the glare of the public eye though.

As I say at times like these, it's not like he killed anybody. Is he a hypocrite.? Sure he is. But there have been worse. He will pay dearly for this foolish affair. I cannot imagine that he is anything else but utterly doomed politically. He will be remembered for Rielle Hunter just as Bill Clinton will always be remembered for Monica Lewinsky. He will have to repair the damage he has caused his family. And there may be a financial payout as well in the form of child support if it is determined that he is the father of the child Hunter had at all times consistent with this time frame.

But still. He didn't kill anybody. If his family can live with it, that is good enough for me. I wish him luck.

He will need it.


Anonymous said...

Couldn't have said it better myself.

I guess the John Edwards for Pres T-shirt I've stubbornly continued to sleep in is now consigned to the Swifter Duster closet.



Melissa said...

Maybe he was a "narcissistic" personality. According to his wife, he told her in 2006. Two years of therapy can do a lot. But I'm not sure he meant "narcissistic" in the clinic sense. I just think he meant that he was arrogant enough to think he could get away with it which frankly considering that he ran for President with this secret looming after watching the Clinton impeachment scandal does indicate a more than healthy level of hubris.

Although the DSM-IV

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, lack of empathy, as indicated by at least five of the following:

1. a grandiose sense of self-importance

2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

3. believes that he or she is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

4. requires excessive admiration

5. has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

7. lacks empathy and is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes

Heh, one could argue that not only are most people running for President narcissists but they need to be narcissists to survive. Who else but a narcissists could take all that criticism?

I haven't read any of the books listed but why do you say that Rielle Hunter is "unstable"? The quotes I've seen from those books describe her as social climbing and drug addicted.

Anonymous said...

I don't know anything about Ms Hunter, but I'm quite familiar with the preceding DSM-IV list for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I refer to it as the biography of husband #1. Not five characteristics. All nine.


Anonymous said...

Lucy - we must have been married to the same man!

I agree with the post but one must wonder if Geraldine Ferraro, Elizabeth Dole or Hillary Clinton would have such problems with sexual indescretions. Nancy Pelosi doesn't seem to have a problem. Condeleeza is hot but there seems to be no hanky panky. In fact I cannot think of one woman politician that has ever stood accused. I know we don't have enough women to compare apples to apples (or bananas to bananas)but maybe we would be better off with a sex that could keep their eye on the ball.

Polycarp said...

What an excellent exegesis of a common political situation. I especially liked the line about everyone being the star of his own movie.

tmfw said...

Oh stop. Anybody could come up with a line like that.

Polycarp said...

Oh, I disagree. I think only the keenest of wits could come up with such a powerful analogy.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you two -- One must wonder when either of you is being serious, but I do agree that tmfw's take is one of the best I've read on the Edwards mess.

As for the post above pc's: Gee, I'm really sorry on the husband thing.

Contrasting apples vs bananas, it's very tempting to think that women have more self-control or forethought in matters of sex, but I kind of doubt it. When there are enough prominent women players in government, business - whatever - there will be plenty of equal-opportunity sex scandals, IMO.

Sex is as driving a force as power or wealth. So I hear.

Dare I say, the more women in positions of control, the more of them will be keeping their eye on the ball(s)?


Melissa said...

oh polycarp. You suck up.

The star of his own movie is a twist off of Andy Warhol's 15 minutes of fame. The "anyone who wants to be president must be narcissists" line was said by none other than Barak Obama earlier this year.

I was more intrigued by the "unstable becomes inconvenient" line myself. You borrowing from the "Fatal attraction" catalogue again?