For those of us old enough to remember, Gary Hart was the quintessential political savant. He'd made an excellent run in the 1988 presidential race and was even considered a front-runner for a time. Then came the revelations of his "affair" (never proven, but never disproved, either) with Donna Rice. To his credit, Hart stuck by his story and was never really shaken from it. He has since moved quietly into the political background; still contributing to Democratic favorite-son causes (energy in particular), but also mentioned as a possible cabinet appointee if Obama wins in November. Perhaps not an actual Secretariat, but still a position of no small influence.
By contrast, Edwards has already jumped through the "I didn't do it!" hoops. Now he finds himself having to 'fess up and it galls him. Yes, he says, he had an affair. No, he's not the father of the baby. The affair began when Elizabeth was in remission, but she did not know of his recent visit to Beverly Hills.
I said it before, and I'll say it again. Everything about Edwards reeks of irrelevance in the political arena. His message was trite and his execution to plan was weak. Coupled with the historic matchup of both a strong woman and a strong African American in this campaign, Edwards had no toe-hold on any sizeable voting bloc.
Can't really say he's channeled Gary Hart, given the facts in evidence. He's actually a bit closer to Elliot Spitzer.
I am hopeful that Edwards will take the hit and bow quietly out of American politics. Unfortunately, history teaches us that men of Edwards' caliber never learn this important lesson. They desperately seek to be relevant whether we perceive them to be so or not. So I suspect that Edwards will brush this whole affair off, speak his mea culpas sincerely enough to be forgiven by an extremely liberal press, then fade into the Gary Hart world of background politics.
I guess the comfort here is that (perhaps I should not presume, but I'm hopelessly romantic about such things) this should be the last time we see this man run for President. We have our hands full enough at the moment.
So, it would appear, does he.
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