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Raise Your Hand, John Edwards, If You're Sure That This Is The End

Illustration for article titled Raise Your Hand, John Edwards, If Youre Sure That This Is The End

Olympics? What Olympics? For political watchers, the possible end of the political career of former Senator/Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards, most recently on Democrats' wish list as Attorney General in an Obama Administration, is the functional equivalent of the Olympics. So although one of us was on a little vacation, Spencer Ackerman and I parse the news and the consequences, who might replace Johnny in that AG slot, the Clinton emails, freedom of the press hounds we don't like, that little Georgian thing and why using our position on the UN Security Council to forgo any punishment for invading countries no one wanted us to invade might, unsurprisingly, bite us on the ass again.
MEGAN: Morning! Shall we get right down to analyzing the whole Edwards debacle? SPENCER: I just wanted to say I went an entire weekend without fathering any illegitimate children OR vindicating Mickey Kaus. MEGAN: Hey, and I haven't gotten knocked up either, so, congrats to both of us! SPENCER: But this changes nothing. Mickey Kaus, now and forever, snacks on goat penis. MEGAN: Well, I mean, he said it was really tasty. SPENCER: So, you said in your post Friday that Edwards can't be Attorney General, which disappoints me tremendously. Do you think Elizabeth can launch her own political career? She's in remission, right? MEGAN: Actually, I don't think she's in remission. She's incurable, so it's still going, sadly. I would've rather have seen Elizabeth's stellar political career. Rewind? I mean, the biggest problem is that paternity isn't going to be resolved. Rielle's not going to allow a DNA test, so everyone will continue to suspect it's his kid as I already do. SPENCER: You saw her dKos diary, yeah? She wrote this like a pro:

John has spoken in a long on-camera interview I hope you watch. Admitting one's mistakes is a hard thing for anyone to do, and I am proud of the courage John showed by his honesty in the face of shame.


I started singing the Ramones' "Swallow My Pride" to myself when I read this. and also "Swallow Goat Cock" By Kaus and the Goatees. MEGAN: Which, I'm sorry, totally negates the whole "I asked her not to come on camera" bullshit Edwards pulled on Friday to appeal to us ladies. SPENCER: He did what now? MEGAN: On Friday, in his interview, Edwards told Woodruff that he not only didn't ask Elizabeth to appear with him but asked her not to, in effect saying he didn't want to be Spitzer, McGreevey or Craig, getting lambasted for having his wife by his side while admitting to this shit. BUT he had her talk to Bob Schieffer on the phone (sobbing, according to Schieffer) to confirm the 2006 version of events and then she did the thing on Kos. So, I'm sorry, we don't have the visual, but I don't think he's a better guy. Also, as I said in my piece on Friday, I think he's lying on the timing and nothing I've read since does anything to disabuse me of that notion. SPENCER: Well shit. But here's something else: in liberal circles in 2007, the drunken chatter was that Edwards didn't want to run for president, but Elizabeth, facing the clarifying prospect of her own mortality, wanted him to. Sounded plausible at the time! He had no chance of getting the nomination as soon as Obama jumped in, and possibly none before. But but but but BUT how could Elizabeth have known he slept with Rielle Hunter and then said "Fuck it, Johnny. You should still be president!" MEGAN: I'm guessing that was just a story he put out there to look like less of a shitty husband for continuing to run while his wife had cancer. I'm sure she was supportive, but there was no firm indication that she'd live until the 2009 Inauguration when she was first diagnosed. So, maybe seeing him as President was her semi-dying wish, maybe she'd internalized his desires to that degree that she thought it was, but it sounds to me like a pretty campaign fairy tale intended to make us believe in the John-and-Liz as a team thing. Anyway, back to why I'm sticking by my suspicions that he's still lying: Sam Stein thinks he is, too, and he's got even more evidence about when John and Rielle met, and when she got hired. And the Updated Newsweek story about how Rielle was indeed still going around claiming to be having an affair with someone the reporter knew (which, he didn't know Andrew Young) in January, which is the blind item Page Six had in January 06 as well. SPENCER: Here's where I get exhausted with the story. OK OK he fucked her, might have fathered an illegitimate child, career's come to an end, it's DONE right? Does it matter if he's lying to the public if he's not going to be a public official anymore? At what point do we say enough, he's out of politics. I say right now! MEGAN: Oh, you know me, I'm the type of person who hates to let that shit go. But on to new topics, then! Like the leaked Clintonian emails. Damn, I hate when shit makes Mark Penn look less incredibly wrong. Can't we just stick to mocking the chapter of his book about appealing to American snipers? SPENCER: Let's chew on this a moment:

Penn, the presidential campaign's chief strategist, wrote in a memo to Clinton excerpted in the article: "I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values."


MEGAN: George Bush in 08? SPENCER: ... and so begins the header on a million GOP/McCain fundraising emails. MEGAN: I mean, really, at this point, Penn ought to be getting fucking royalties from McCain's campaign. SPENCER: so, congratulations, black people! Remember how you thought whites don't see you as American? Mark Penn just confirmed it. You are officially off the hook for the Iraq war. MEGAN: Wait, according to Virginia Congressman Jim Moran it was all the Jews' fault anyway. SPENCER: I'm curious to see in Josh's story what the Clinton machine's reaction to that memo was — whether that launched the Wright-based whisper campaign or whether the Clintonites rejected it. Yeah yeah that shit. But really — if that memo was ignored/repudiated, it's one thing. If it was ACTED UPON that is quite another. MEGAN: Do you think that whether the Clintonistas put the Obama in Somali gear photo out there will be in there? SPENCER: Mike "who's your celebrity crush" Allen says the Penn memo was 3/30/08 so I think that post-date Somalibama but NOT some of the Wright stuff. MEGAN: I think this much was acted upon:

Every speech should contain the line you were born in the middle of America American to the middle class in the middle of the last century. And talk about the basic bargain as about the deeply American values you grew up with, learned as a child and that drive you today. Values of fairness, compassion, responsibility, giving back

Which, really, means Penn should pay royalties to Karl Rove. SPENCER: Except Rove wins elections MEGAN: What his lackeys will do with John McCain is another question. SPENCER: ... ok back to Edwards for one second: can he really not be attorney general? He had such balls! He was going to be the leftwing John Ashcroft, fucking with the right just to fuck with them! The mailed fist in Obama's politics-of-hope-and-reconciliation velvet glove? Really? I have to give up the dream? The dream of indictments for torture and rendition and US attorney firings and warrantless surveillance? What if he just says the kid is mine? The Democrats are going to have 57 fucking Senate seats! MEGAN: I really don't think he can be. Can you imagine those confirmation hearings? Especially if it turns out he was still lying? If he used donor money to pay his mistress (let alone hush up his mistress)? Did you check the Baron angle — that's Edwards' finance chair who paid both Rielle and Andrew Young and his wife and kids to get the fuck out of North Carolina but says he didn't get the money from Edwards or the campaign? Oh, right, and this:

The associate, who asked not to be identified, said Mr. Young has privately made conflicting statements about the extent of his relationship with Ms. Hunter and whether he is the child's father.


Like, all of that, up for review, in the confirmation hearing for the guy who's supposed to play gotcha with the Bushies? I think you need to get yourself a new legal pitbull, as do I. SPENCER: BUT GODDAMN IT i need to see someone go to jail on this shit. I guess if you're Obama you want to be light years away from Edwards' cocktrouble, but if he doesn't appoint a real left-wing SOB for AG I will be sorely disappointed. Now I feel fucked by John Edwards. Hopefully I remain unpregnant. MEGAN: Well, how much would you sorta like to see, um, Bill Clinton in that role. If the Dems get 60 in the Senate. SPENCER: Well, not if he acquiesced to that Penn memo! MEGAN: Can you imagine Bill Clinton with subpoena power? His bar membership's been reinstated. SPENCER: and that's a confirmation hearing you relish? MEGAN: Hey, I said if they get to 60. SPENCER: actually on second thought, it would be awesome to see Clinton-as-pugilist putting it back on, say, Inhofe or Sessions. MEGAN: I'm just enjoying the thought of Bill Clinton with the power to investigate the dirty laundry of those that investigated his blowjobs, because you know there is worse than a couple of intern beejes going on in Washington. SPENCER: But speaking of going back: the right-wing veterans organization Vets For Freedom are sending right-wing Iraq vets to embed in Iraq. and you know what? I have absolutely no problem with this. MEGAN: Really? That the Weekly Standard and the National Review are putting a bunch of right-wing non-jouno partisan hacks on the masthead for the purpose of war promotion and we're footing the bill? Please explain. SPENCER: That "we're footing the bill" bullshit applies to ALL EMBEDS. MEGAN: Yes, which I'm fine with when their stated purpose is not to promote the war and elect John McCain. SPENCER: Like, you paid for my trip to Baghdad & Mosul last year, and I reported from a liberal perspective. That's structurally indistinguishable from what the VFF ppl are doing. MEGAN: Except you're an actual reporter. SPENCER: It's not something the Pentagon is in the business of stopping. You'd rather not live in a world where the Pentagon starts deciding who is and who isn't a reporter. MEGAN: No, you're right, I just wonder why the WS and the NR can't find actual reporters to go. Is there a word for that? SPENCER: A bunch of antiwar bloggers have embedded as well. The embed program is open, and in terms of the "harm" they do, only the 27 Percenters who still back Bush would read this shit anyway. MEGAN: Chiiiickenhawk or something? SPENCER: No, I doubt that, I just think the Standard & NRO know a gimmick when they see one, and think that it'll be harder for leftwing antiwarriors to attack pieces written by vets. and to that, I must quote Beyonce: "they must not know 'bout me, they must not know 'bout me." but, look, you know, the game is the game, and let's see how they play it. MEGAN: I am happy to attack pieces written by vets. Heck, I've gotten into no less than two ugly political arguments with veteran friends of mine and finally threw up my hands and said, "If you want to buy what they're selling, rationality and actual facts aren't going to convince you, so don't ever ask me questions again." SPENCER: Also, speaking of BALLING, everybody note that my roommate and homie Matt Yglesias launched his new ThinkProgress blog today! MEGAN: Congrats to him! Should we talk about that little war thing that started this weekend? I hear, by the way, that anything good about Russian cuisine comes from Georgia. SPENCER: I dunno. I make a kickass borscht. MEGAN: Georgian wine is definitely better, not that it's not virtually impossible to come by here. SPENCER: So yeah while I was driving for an internet-free weekend in State College, PA Russia attacked Georgia or something? I should know about this shit so enlighten me. MEGAN: Well, so, Georgia went into the disputed territory of South Ossetia where the citizens apparently want to go back to being Russian, so the Russians moved in. And because they're the Russian military, they routed the Georgians. Now they're bombing the capital of Tbilisi and sending ground forces to Gori, which is in Georgia proper, about which one diplomat said, "They seem to have gone beyond the logical stopping point." SPENCER: Also LOL my friend Benny's band is on the cover of the new Kerrang! MEGAN: Man, your friends are sort of kicking ass today. They're like the Russians of pop culture. SPENCER: Yeah so that sucks and we should set to work on the diplomatic course of getting the UN Security Council to turn back the invasion and restore the status quo ante. MEGAN: Yeah, that's sort of what the Georgians think only you know who sits on the Security Council? SPENCER: Yeah yeah. MEGAN: That's why the UN has been so effective in Chechnya. And you know we aren't going to do it because Bush is hard at work at the Summer Olympics and he's seen into Putin's soul. SPENCER: You know what sets a really bad precedent? Invading other countries while circumventing the UN Security Council. I mean call me crazy! MEGAN: Well, right, and that. The Security Council basically functions as a rubber stamp for the foreign policies of its members. SPENCER: Next he'll look into Rielle Hunter's vagina.

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I find the reaction to the Edwards thing disheartening. Bottom line - if the timeline the Edwards put forth is correct, Elizabeth knew about this affair in 2006 - yet she stood by and encouraged him to run for president, knowing this corpse (not even a skeleton) was in the closet. In this puritanical nation, I may not care what JE does with his wee wee, but that isn't true for the rest of the nation. If Edwards had been the nominee, and this were revealed, he'd have guaranteed a GOP victory. Elizabeth knew - and she went along with this? I'm sorry jezebels - that knocks her off the saintly victim pedestal.

Also - if he's not the bambino's father, what was he doing in the hotel at 2 am? Incremental denial is stupid.