Honey, Will You Be My Game-Changer?

A mostly political weblog.
Jan. 11 2010 4:01 AM

Honey, Will You Be My Game-Changer?

Pigeon O'Brien, leading Rielle Hunter expert, thinks the first part of the riveting  Heilemann/Halperin excerpt on the Edwards Family Horrorshow portrays Hunter too much  as a stalker . That would fit in with what seems to be the obvious flaw in Game Change' s aides' eye view :--the staffers on whom Heilemann and Halperin rely have an incentive to make themselves look good and leave out the parts that might prevent them from getting other jobs with other campaigns in the future.**.... In the Edwards case, it strains belief that a) Hunter was the first, or the sole John Edwards affair--only Chris Hitchens believes that --and that b)  the candidate's extramarital activities weren't well known among staff. Yet in the Game Change excerpt, Edwards' aides all seem to believe he'd "long ago made the decision not to fall into that trap." It was only Hunter's relentless determination that got him to stray! Right. ... P.S.: O'Brien seems to expect that former fall guy Andrew Young's forthcoming book will dispel this bit of self-serving fiction.
 
The New York magazine excerpt also glosses over a key unknown part of the story--this part:
Out of view, the Edwards campaign was in damage-control mode, going into overdrive to dissuade the mainstream media from picking up the story, denouncing it as tabloid trash. Their efforts at containing the fallout were remarkably successful. The Enquirer ’s exposé gained zero traction in the traditional press and almost none in the blogosphere.

Edwards’s relief was palpable, as was his gratitude to the small coterie of aides who had corralled the story.

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What lies, if any, did Edwards' aides tell in their successful attempt to get the MSM to suppress the Hunter story in the days before the New Hampshire primary--and if there were lies, as I suspect there were, who told them? Were all the lies really told by John and Elizabeth themselves? Remember, Edwards is through in politics. Aides Jonathan Prince and Mudcat Saunders are not. What did they do and when did they do it? ...
Or did the MSM just roll over and abdicate at the mere mention of St. Elizabeth's illness (or John Edwards' ... progressivism).

Maybe the unexcerpted book has more detail. On the other hand, I wouldn't expect Edwards' staffers to tell on themselves, would you? I'd expect them to emphasize that, see, they really had this secret doomsday strategy to save their party should Edwards come close to winning! And sure enough ....

A second failure of the excerpt, at least, is to answer the question "Just how wacky is Elizabeth?" and to get to the heart of her actual personality. True, she's depicted as a snob in heavy denial who flies into inappropriate rages. But is that all? If she's wacky enough , remember, Edwards' decision to take up with another woman may be more explicable, if not excusable. ... 

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**--Art Levine wrote a memorable parody in the Washington Monthly of the Third Reich as told by Woodward and Bernstein--i.e., after interviewing aides like Goebbels and Goering, who in the Woodstein account were always secretly trying to work behind the scenes to stop Hitler's schemes. (Then Tom Cruise went and made a movie of this parody.)  ... 1:19 A.M.
 
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"How many times is Biden gonna say something stupid?" [also from Game Change ]. You mean Obama didn't know that's what he was getting when he picked Biden? Everyone else did. That's one reason it was such a depressing choice . ... 1:17 A.M.
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Al Hunt  is the authentic voice of respectability: 

If a health care measure is enacted, it will be years before its effectiveness can be evaluated. There will be no better indicator than whether 15 years from now America spends one-fifth of its G.D.P. on health care or the 16 percent to 17 percent spent today.

Funny, I would think health care reform would be judged effective if, say ... all Americans, however rich or poor, can get the health care they need, including the latest advances in life-saving and life-enhancing treatments. If reform accomplishes that, but the health care sector winds up as 20 percent of GDP, will it really be a failure?  Why? As long as it's paid for who is Al Hunt to tell Americans how much of their GDP they should spend keeping themselves alive? ... 1:12 A.M.

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