Federal prosecutors have dropped the remaining charges against John Edwards. He is now free to return to his life as a scumbag.
Federal prosecutors have dropped the remaining charges against John Edwards. He is now free to return to his life as a scumbag.
I am trying to figure out a good explanation for this move by John Edwards:
Ahead of his federal trial involving alleged campaign finance violations, John Edwards is asking a judge to keep a sex tape involving him and his mistress from being destroyed.
In a request filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Greensboro, Edwards asks that the court issue a stay in a settlement last week about the video involving Rielle Hunter and his former aide, Andrew Young.
Hunter sued Young and his wife in 2010 over the tape and other personal items the couple claimed she abandoned in a box of trash. Hunter lived with the Youngs in 2007, while she was pregnant with Edwards’ baby.
The Youngs agreed to give up their claim on the property, which has been in a courthouse vault. A Superior Court judge ordered that it be destroyed within 30 days of the settlement.
John Edwards’ political career ended a long time ago, but it turns out that his 2008 campaign is still in existence. It is even spending money, despite owing taxpayers more than $2.1 million in matching funds:
Federal election officials say John Edwards owes taxpayers more than $2.1 million in public matching funds received after he dropped his 2008 run for the White House, yet disclosure reports show his failed campaign is still spending freely.
Edwards’ hopes for the Democratic presidential nomination imploded in a sex scandal four years ago that left him facing criminal charges. But reports filed last week show his 2008 primary campaign spent $836,712 in 2011 on airfare, hotel rooms, cell phones and other expenses…
Just in from CNN:
A federal judge disclosed that former presidential candidate John Edwards has a life-threatening heart condition, a court source tells CNN.
Edwards had sought a delay in his criminal corruption trial, scheduled to begin later this month.
Update: More information here.
The country remains obsessed with Anthony Weiner’s weiner pics and sexting, apparently finding this to be a far more urgent issue than the economy or health care. Pressure is mounting on Weiner to resign from members of both parties. Ideally the question of whether Weiner is fit to represent his district in Congress could be settled by the vote of his constituents, but it is understandable that Democratic leaders would want an end to this distraction. To Democratic leaders, attempts to retake the House are the prime consideration. Anthony Weiner’s behavior was wrong but there are worse things a Congressman can do, such as vote to destroy Medicare.
As Weiner’s reputation has justifiably been seriously damaged, there has been a strange response from some to rehabilitate Andrew Breitbart. Should Andrew Breitbart get credit for being right this one time on Weiner, or should he be further condemned for making public a comparatively trivial sex scandal which was limited to consenting adults on line with no actual physical contact or violation of the law? Is Breitbart a crusading journalist, or is he just scum for making public pictures which should have remained private?
There is a strange double standard here if one thinks Breitbart was vindicated. After a long and distinguished career of delivering hard news, Dan Rather was forced out of CBS due to using one poorly chosen source in a story. After a brief career of intentionally distorting the news, Andrew Breitbart is suddenly being treated as credible because he was finally right on one story.
Dan Rather and Watergate. Andrew Breitbart and Weinergate. Hardly any comparison in terms of journalistic accomplishments.
When the National Enquirer turned out to be right about John Edwards, they might have enhanced their credibility in terms of searching out sex scandals, but this did not give them any credibility with regards to political coverage. Similarly, Breitbart is no more credible than he was before in his political smears. Weiner just made it too easy for Breitbart this time. It was foolish of Weiner to make it so easy for Breitbart by actually engaging in such behavior. He saved Breitbart of making things up, as he usually does.
The initial picture from Twitter showed Weiner’s weiner covered. More recently Weiner’s uncovered weiner from Andrew Breitbart’s phone became public. In a case of very unfortunate timing for the couple. It was revealed yesterday that Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, is pregnant. Next will Breitbart release ultrasounds displaying the fetal genitals?
Anthony Weiner has admitted to sending the picture of his (covered) weiner over Twitter, and of similar behavior with other women he communicated with on line. As scandals go, Weiner’s is fairly small. As Steve Benen wrote:
On the Political Sex Scandal Richter Scale, I’m still not altogether sure why this even registers at all. Given what we know, Weiner shared adult content with women he met online. They were adults and the interactions were consensual. He didn’t commit adultery (Ensign), he didn’t hire prostitutes (Vitter, Spitzer), he didn’t solicit anyone in an airport bathroom (Craig), he didn’t pretend to be someone else in order to try to pick up women (Lee), he didn’t abandon his office for a rendezvous with his lover (Sanford), he didn’t leave his first two wives after they got sick (Gingrich), he didn’t have a child with his housekeeper (Schwarzenegger), there’s no sex tape (Edwards), and no interns were involved (Clinton). He’s not even a hypocrite — Weiner has never championed conservative “family values,” condemning others for their “moral failings.”
This assumes that there isn’t anything more to this. Nancy Pelosi has called for an ethics investigation of Weiner. Assuming that there are no minors and there are not more explicit pictures, my guess is that this is not a career ending scandal, but at very least will be a career stalling one. As can be seen in Steve’s list, the less severe sex scandals do not necessarily end careers, but I doubt he will be elected to a more competitive spot in New York anytime soon. (Elliot Spitzer might even beat him–time does seem to make these scandals less important to voters).
While Weiner’s transgressions appear to be relatively minor (at least so far), they were rather stupid. It is amazing how often we see similar patterns in politicians. Was whatever pleasure Weiner received from sexting with young women really worth all of this? I would ask whether this will dissuade future politicians (which can be from either party) from doing anything so foolish, but the answer, based upon the past history of sex scandals in Washington, is clearly no.
“Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child with a maid. She kept the child secret for 14 years. John Edwards is going, ‘Why can’t I meet a chick like that?’” –Jay Leno
After the National Enquirer turned out to be right about John Edwards (more on that story here), I am far more likely to take them seriously when they publish accusations about other politicians having affairs. Their latest target is John Boehner, raising the question as to whether he will have the shortest speakership ever.
The story involves accusations of Boehner sleeping with lobbyist Lisbeth Lyons along with congressional press secretary Leigh LaMora. Perhaps a few Republicans will question Boehner’s relationship with a lobbyist (assuming the story is true) but in the past scandals involving Republicans from John McCain to Newt Gingrich have quickly gone down the memory hole and have been forgotten.
I feel like the we have returned to the days of the 2008 Democratic Primary as a number of liberal bloggers (primarily but not entirely Clinton supporters) have spent the day bashing Obama. The latest round of this got underway with a blog post from Peter Daou (who worked for Hillary Clinton) and was picked up by the usual suspects. Others, such as Ezra Klein and Steve Benen, put the dispute into perspective, with Steve referring back to a recent post which outlined many of the liberal accomplishments under Obama which some on the left often ignore.
From a political perspective, Daou is overstating the problem when claiming that liberal bloggers such as “Glenn Greenwald, John Aravosis, Digby, Marcy Wheeler and Jane Hamsher” are “bringing down the Obama presidency.” Most people haven’t even heard of these bloggers, and polls have shown a very high level of support for Obama among liberals and traditional Democratic voters. Many liberals can handle acknowledging Obama’s accomplishments and showing some understanding of the political situation he is working in while also disagreeing on some issues.
On the other hand, we have seen a number of signs that this criticism is getting under Obama’s skin (along with that of close associates like David Axelrod). It is a safe bet that they are surprised by the amount of criticism they are receiving from those they expected support from. However to claim they are bringing down Obama is absurd. I think that Obama, as well as the Congressional Democrats, face far more problems due to the apathy towards voting from the average voter who is disillusioned by the slow progress on the economy than they are harmed by those who are upset by compromising of progressive principles.
This is not to say that all of those engaging in the Obama bashing today are sore losers among the Clintonistas or that there is no validity to their complaints. Those such as Glenn Greenwald who concentrate on civil liberties issues do have more to legitimately complain about. Even here a bit of perspective is needed from those who claim that Obama is worse than Bush. Obama is well aware that should there be another terrorist attack on his watch the right will blame it on any areas where they could argue Obama let up on the “war on terror.” This could easily result in a right wing backlash with greater restrictions on civil liberties.
It is of value for bloggers such as Greenwald to point out the problems with Obama’s policies but more of a sense of perspective is needed. Some of Obama’s decisions have been wrong, but we are hardly living in a dictatorial police state, or even in a state as bad as we would have under the Republicans as some on the far left claim. (It is also notable that the tea party supporters who attack Obama for a number of imaginary offenses have largely been silent on these issues).
I also could not help but think, seeing how many primary opponents of Obama are leading the attacks, that most likely either Hillary Clinton or John Edwards would be far to the right of Barack Obama on these issues based upon their past records.
While advocates of a single payer system have many valid arguments, it was disappointing during the health care debate to see some such as Jane Hamsher distort the Democratic plan as dishonestly as was done by Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Besides, there was zero chance that a single payer plan would pass.
Obama’s mistake here it was more on selling reform as opposed to the type of reform which was passed. The Democrats were delusional to think opposition to health care reform would vanish after passing it, especially when most of the benefits won’t be seen for a couple more years. I don’t buy the argument being made by some that initially pushing for an agenda which is further left would lead to more liberal results, but on health care I do believe that it could have affected public perception of the plan.
Obama antagonized many liberals for quickly shooting down any chance of a single payer plan and also played into the hands of Republicans who falsely claim that his plan represents a government takeover of health care. Imagine if Obama had started out saying there are basically four ideas which might be considered:
Obama then could reject both socialized medicine and the status quo. When he ultimately went with #3 it would be more accurately framed as a moderate option to the status quo and not a radical plan. Maybe such framing would have even made it easier to push for the public option, which would still be a long way from the rejected choice of socialized medicine.
Aaron Sorkin, one of my favorite television and movie writers, will be producing and directing The Politician, a movie on Andrew Young’s book on the downfall of John Edwards. I certainly intend to watch this, and from a box office perspective the story of the affair between Edwards and Rielle Hunter certainly makes a lot of sense. Still, as there are so few writers with Sorkin’s ability, I would prefer to see him take on a different target.
There is really no benefit in anything further to take down John Edwards. His career is over. I’m not being merciful because of any sympathy for Edwards. If anyone cares to dig through the blog archives you will see that I was writing about how dishonest, slimy, and superficial Edwards was well before the Rielle Hunter scandal. It’s just I find Sorkin’s work to be the most beneficial when he is taking on targets which still matter, such as the religious right. He did a great job of this in The West Wing, and even had some great moments in Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. But yes, this upcoming movie is far more likely to be a success than Studio 60 was.