Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lady Macbeth, I presume?

Wow... Every once in a while you remember how good New York magazine can be.

That was especially true this week with their cover story on John and Elizabeth Edwards (excerpted from John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's new book, Game Change -- which is already number 1 on Amazon.)

Christ... the Edwardses sound like walking nightmares.

John Edwards is, of course, a narcissist of the first order. Not that I care one way or the other about Edwards' sex life. But the recklessness of making a bid for the White House while sitting on this nuclear bomb is just unforgivable. Not after eight years of George Bush. Not when the country was reeling, and in need of a calming, soothing leader.

When Bill Clinton ran for President it was well established that he was a philanderer. He admitted as much fairly early in the process. But the voters embraced him, anyway. That's totally fair. But if the Democrats had been surprised sometime in October by this bombshell, I'm 95 percent certain that John McCain would be President right now.

That being said, if I was married to Elizabeth Edwards I might cheat, too.

At least that's what I came away with in this piece. She came off as a nightmare who intellectually belittled her husband in a way that would have driven me insane. ("Oh, he doesn't read books," she laughed when a friend asked Edwards if he had read some title or other. "I'm the one who reads books.")

She sounds as ambitious as her husband -- but more bullying. And had an air entitlement around her that sounds unbearable. She beat up the staff, and chewed out people who were trying to salvage her and her husband's political future. (I should say by way of fairness: I have a friend whose girlfriend worked on the campaign, and she says that the article badly mischaracterizes their relationship. Perhaps. But this sounds too detailed to be made up wholecloth.)

But the most fascinating thing about this piece is the way that the staff eventually came to piece together that Edwards was having an affair. And how they all reacted to this devastating bit of news.

It is really a fascinating piece of reporting -- take a look!