The John Edwards Saga

What Women Really Think
June 3 2011 2:35 PM

The John Edwards Saga

It’s funny how sleazy, rich people hate to spend their own money. One of the reasons wealthy lobbyist Jack Abramoff ended up going to jail was because of all his machinations to get clients to pick up the tab for his golfing vacations. If only John Edwards had written checks out of his personal fortune to Rielle Hunter, he wouldn’t now be facing federal charges and possible jail time. Instead, according to the indictment , he used an elaborate scheme to divert campaign funds to his mistress and mother of his youngest child. Edwards acknowledges using the funds, but says the purpose wasn’t to keep his campaign viable, as the feds charge, but instead for the purely private reason of keeping the affair from his wife. You would think someone with an eight figure net worth would have the ability to get his hands on some cash without his wife knowing. But clearly Edwards thought whatever he wanted to do, was what needed to be done. He probably believed, a la Arnold Schwarzenegger, that if he just played it right, he could keep the existence of an out-of wedlock child a secret forever.

From the beginning Edwards struck me as an oily, hypocritical self-promoter. The calamitous situation he finds himself in is wholly his own fault. But you’ve got to feel sorry for his children. Talk about poor little rich kids. There they are in a grandiose mansion the size of an arena, but all that money couldn’t protect them from the long march of their mother toward death, the emotional cataclysm of the end of their parents’ marriage. And now they are possibly going to be without even their father if Edwards, who has refused a plea agreement, ends up in jail. The lesson of all this is so simple, but of course a hard one to act on: own up, own up, own up.

Emily Yoffe is a regular Slate contributor. She writes the Dear Prudence column. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

The Ungodly Horror of Having a Bug Crawl Into Your Ear and Scratch Away at Your Eardrum

My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. Then I Married Someone Like Him.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 2:57 PM ISIS Helps Snuff Out Conservative Opposition to Government Funding Bill
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 17 2014 1:59 PM Ask a Homo: Secret Ally Codes 
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 1:26 PM Hey CBS, Rihanna Is Exactly Who I Want to See on My TV Before NFL Games
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 1:01 PM A Rare, Very Unusual Interview With Michael Jackson, Animated
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 12:35 PM IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 11:18 AM A Bridge Across the Sky
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?