Tag Archives: John Edwards

Family men? Yeah, right!

Driving the other day through the Texas Hill Country, I saw a campaign poster for a woman running for the Legislature … and it brought to mind the hypocrisy of so many male politicians I have watched over many years.

The candidate, whose name escapes me, was pictured with her family. Her husband and children surrounded her in the photo. I thought, “How sweet is that?”

Then I told my wife that the picture reminded me of all the men I have watched seek public office campaigning with pictures of them expressing devotion to their wives and children … only to watch it all come crashing down amid scandal.

I cannot even count the pols I have seen crumble and crater. A couple of my “favorites” do stand out.

Sen. John Edwards ran for vice president in 2004 on the Democratic Party ticket led by Sen. John Kerry. Edwards told crowds of his love for his wife, Elizabeth. He didn’t say, naturally, that at that very time he was involved in an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter. Oh, and Mrs. Edwards was dying of cancer at the time!

Another one is Republican U.S. Rep. Van Taylor, who this year was running for re-election the congressional seat he held since 2019. He had shown himself with his wife and kids, too. Taylor happens to represent my family and me in Congress. Then, while preparing to participate in a GOP runoff this year, Taylor revealed he had a months-long affair with a woman who once was married to an Islamic State officer. His re-election campaign came to an end.

These are the examples of hypocrisy we don’t see among female candidates for public office.

For that I am delighted. If only the men who seek our support for public office could be as faithful to their own sacred vows. Given the annoying regularity with which they let us down, I have grown instantly suspicious of any politician who proclaims his faithfulness to the person he loves.


Duplicity snags another big-time pol

Eric Schneiderman is paying the price that so often is levied on politicians who say one thing, but then demonstrate their through their actions to be someone quite different.

The former Democratic New York attorney general quit suddenly this week after allegations surfaced that accused him of sexual assault. Yes, the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements caught another one!

But here’s the thing. Schneiderman has been out front and quite vocal in criticizing others who’ve been caught doing the same things that the former New York AG has been accused of doing.

That only heightens the hypocrisy of it.

This reminds me at one level of the recent case involving Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, who has been accused of sexual misconduct. You see, what makes Greitens’s alleged transgression so ghastly is that he campaigned for election by proclaiming himself to be a “proud husband and father.” He was a “family values” candidate and he played on that theme while winning election to the Missouri statehouse. While he was bellowing his love for his his wife and children, he was messing around with a woman who isn’t his wife.

That makes what Greitens did all that much worse and it elevates it from a “private” matter to a “public” scandal.

Do you remember when former U.S. Sen. John Edwards was campaigning for vice president as part of the Democratic ticket led by U.S. Sen. John Kerry in 2004? Edwards was so proud to proclaim his love for his wife, Elizabeth, while keeping secret an affair he was having with someone else.

Eric Schneiderman managed to pop off quite vocally about how other men should be ashamed of behaving badly with women. It turns out he also was misbehaving — allegedly — in violent ways with women with whom he was having sex.


‘Proud husband and father’ faces the music

Eric Greitens is trying to have it both ways.

The Republican governor of Missouri has now been accused of forcing himself onto a woman with whom he had a sexual relationship. He has admitted to an extramarital affair, but denies the sexual assault allegation.

Oh, but there’s more. Greitens, once a rising star in the GOP — a handsome former U.S. Navy SEAL and all that kind of thing — says his transgression has “nothing to do with governing,” that it is a totally private matter.

But … it isn’t. Not really.

You see, this “family values Republican” proclaimed on the campaign stump while running for his office that he is a “proud husband and father.” That’s right. He used his alleged pride in marriage and parenthood as a campaign hook. He sought to win the support of fellow proud spouses and parents who share his so-called traditional family ethic.

I have to offer the young man a piece of unsolicited advice about his path to high public office. It is that he shouldn’t have bragged in the open, out loud about being a proud hubby and dad while he was messing around with a woman to whom he was not married.

I keep thinking of former Democratic vice-presidential nominee John Edwards, who made similar declarations about his ailing wife only to be shown to be a philanderer.

He, too, tried to have it both ways. It didn’t work for him. I cannot imagine how Eric Greitens can get away with it.

He is facing possible impeachment in Missouri. Hang on, dude. Your ride toward political oblivion is likely to get rather bumpy.


Eric Greitens: latest casualty in ‘family values’ war

Don’t sit down, Gov. Eric Greitens. I’m going to talk about you for a moment.

This fellow is a Republican governor from Missouri. He’s been in office for only about a year. He also is making quite a name for himself.

He ran for office as a “family values” candidate. He once proclaimed his love for his wife and children and the happiness he feels at being a married man and father.

The former Navy SEAL — who was a Democrat until he switched parties in 2015 — was even discussed as a possible presidential candidate in 2020 or 2024.

Then came this: He fooled around with a woman other than his wife before he was elected governor. What’s even more troubling is that he allegedly threatened her if she blabbed about it.

The woman, who was married at the time, is now divorced from her husband. Greitens remains married to his wife. He admits to the affair, but denies threatening the woman with whom he took the tumble.

Family values …

Wow. What are we to make of political candidates who make such a big show of their marriage? How are we supposed to react when they get caught in the big lie? I take this kind of thing quite badly. It doesn’t go down well. Why? Because of the show politicians such as Greitens make when they actually boast about their marital fidelity on the campaign stump — as if someone keeping a vow he makes before God is worth a boast.

This clown reminds me of so many politicians who’ve proclaimed their love for the spouse only to be revealed to be philanderers.

Does the name John Edwards ring a bell? Edwards was the 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee who campaigned across the land declaring his devotion to his late wife, Elizabeth — while he was messing around with a woman who later gave birth to a baby, courtesy of that relationship with Edwards.

This kind of revelation sickens me in the extreme. Gov. Greitens makes me sick, too, given that he made such a phony show of his marital devotion.

Politicians who lie about their faithfulness then deserve all the scorn they receive.

Now … you may sit down, Gov. Greitens. And may you disappear from the national political scene.

‘Backbencher’ thrusts himself into the limelight

I had never heard of Tim Murphy before today.

He used to be an obscure member of Congress from western Pennsylvania. The Republican lawmaker was known mostly to his constituents and, I presume, his colleagues in the 435-member U.S. House of Representatives.

To the rest of this vast nation, he was a stranger.

No … longer.

Many more Americans now know Murphy as a duplicitous politician who got caught doing something he shouldn’t have done. The married pol got involved with an extramarital affair with a much younger woman. That relationship resulted in the woman becoming pregnant.

What did Murphy do at that point? He reportedly asked the woman to obtain an abortion. And why is that a big deal? It’s because Murphy has been an ardent political opponent of abortion. He’s a “pro-life, family values” Republican.

Murphy is going to finish the rest of his term. Then he’ll retire from Congress.

There you have it. An individual who labels himself a certain way behaves at a couple of levels like someone quite different.

He’s not the first politician to fall off the virtue wagon. He won’t be the last one. Politicians of all stripes have said one thing and done another. Former Democratic U.S. Sen. John Edwards used to proclaim his love for his late wife — only to be revealed to have fathered a child with another woman. Ex-GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich wailed aloud about Bill Clinton’s misbehavior with a White House intern while taking a tumble with a female staff member.

The list is endless.

I just have to believe Tim Murphy wishes for a way he could return to the farthest end of the back bench — out of sight and out of mind.

Sorry, Rep. Murphy. You brought this unwanted attention on all by yourself.

Another ‘family values’ official takes a fall

Robert Bentley got elected governor of Alabama partly on the basis of his belief in what he defined as traditional family values.

But wait! The Republican got involved romantically with a senior staffer. He got re-elected and then tried to cover the affair up. His wife of 50 years then divorced him after learning of text messages revealing the affair hubby was having.

Now he’s out of office.

This isn’t a huge deal in terms of what it means for the entire nation. Kay Ivey, another Republican, took the oath of office as governor today. State government will go on. Bentley will serve two years of probation and then he’ll disappear from the public stage.

What gives this story its legs, I suppose, is the sight of another moralist/politician going down for the count. We see this kind of thing on occasion.

Two pols stand out in my memory.

Do you remember John Edwards, the former Democratic senator from North Carolina? He used to talk publicly about the love he had for his late wife, Elizabeth, all while he was taking a tumble with a woman who was assigned to put his life story on film.

Then we had the former Republican speaker of the U.S. House, Newt Gingrich, ranting and railing about President Clinton’s sexual misdeeds as he, too, was cheating on his wife with a staffer.

During the nadir of Clinton’s presidency there were candidates for public office who would proclaim their sexual fidelity as a reason to vote for them. Imagine that, will ya? As if that’s something about which you should boast.

Bentley quit just as Alabama legislators began filing impeachment procedures on the basis of evidence that Bentley violated state campaign rules in covering up this episode.

The late President Nixon taught the nation graphically a particular lesson about political scandals. It’s rarely the deed itself that brings the politician down; it usually is the cover-up.

Governor pleads guilty, then quits

There might be a lesson, too, for future politicians to heed. Don’t try to sell yourself as a “family values” champion if you have any predilection to violate a sacred pledge.

‘Baby daddy’ quits post on Trump team?

Leave it to Twitter to knock someone flat on his face.

Jason Miller quit suddenly this past week as communications director in Donald J. Trump’s new presidential administration. He offered the usual “spend more time with my family” reason for quitting a key job in a new administration.

Then comes this from another Trump transition aide: “Congratulations to the baby-daddy on being named WH ­Comms Director!” That’s what A.J. Delgado wrote on Twitter, adding that Miller is the “2016 version of John Edwards,” referring to the former Democratic U.S. senator and presidential candidate John Edwards, who had an extramarital affair that produced a daughter.


The Washington Post reports that Delgado deactivated his Twitter account, which leads me to believe that what he wrote has more than a grain of truth to it.

Is this important? I suppose it is if you want your presidential administration to be free of the kind of scandal that brings down other presidential contenders. Consider, too, that Edwards — who ran as the Democrats’ vice-presidential nominee in 2004 on a ticket led by John Kerry — came within just a few thousand votes in Ohio of actually becoming vice president of the United States.

So, you don’t want your chief spokesman — in this case Miller — speaking for a president when he is lugging around some potentially explosive baggage.

Trump insists that he uses Twitter to communicate policy issues in real time. Others within the president-elect’s circle of advisers apparently use it as a not-so-secret weapon.

Here’s another spin on the fidelity issue


I feel the need to put another brief twist to this business about marital infidelity and its emergence as an issue in the 2016 presidential campaign.

For starters, Donald J. Trump’s assertion that Hillary Clinton’s husband’s transgressions disqualify her for high office is ludicrous on its face. Bill Clinton made a mistake in the late 1990s. He got impeached for it; the Senate thought better about tossing him out of office and acquitted him of the charges brought against him.

Hillary’s role? She became the aggrieved wife of the nation’s foremost politician.

OK, but that entire episode spurred another kind of politician.

This was the guy who would boast on the campaign stump, in TV ads, on printed material about how he is faithful to his wife.

“Elect me!” he would say. “I’m a loving husband and devoted father. I believe in the traditional concept of marriage.”

I never could stop wondering: Since when does staying faithful to your sacred marital vows become a bragging point?

Oh, and yes, this kind of phony fealty to marriage does get politicians into some serious trouble. Do you remember former Sen. John Edwards, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate who ran with Sen. John Kerry in 2004? I recall Edwards boasting of his love for his late wife, Elizabeth, while he was cavorting with Rielle Hunter … and with whom he brought a daughter into the world.

It’s all so much crap.

Cruz affairs? Probably not, but then again …


Oh, brother. Here we go.

The National Enquirer reports that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has had at least five extramarital affairs.

Bombshell news, right? Maybe. Or, maybe not.

The fiery Texas Republican is in the middle of a heated fight with fellow GOP presidential candidate Donald J. Trump. Cruz says Trump’s allies have planted that rumor at the Enquirer.

I need to stipulate something. I do not read the National Enquirer, which I do not consider to be a legitimate news-gathering organization.

However …

Before we dismiss the National Enquirer reporting as hogwash — which it usually is — we need to remember something.

The National Enquirer broke the story of 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee John Edwards’ affair with Rielle Hunter while his late wife, Elizabeth, was battling cancer. The affair produced a child. The former senator, meanwhile, was proclaiming publicly his love for his wife and holding himself up as a courageous and dedicated family man.

Remember how Edwards called the story trash? Untrue? Full of lies?

Uh, the story turned out to be quite true.


OK, Mr. Veep, which is it? In or out?


Vice President Joe Biden is driving me nuts.

Just when I think he’s going to jump into the 2016 Democratic presidential primary race, he makes me think he’s going to think twice and not go.

Then the guy hires a communications chief who once worked for former Sen. John Edwards’s — yes, that John Edwards — ill-fated 2008 presidential campaign.

Kate Bedingfield is her name. I won’t hold her former job as flack for one of recent political history’s more notorious marital infidels against her.

“She will be a key adviser to me, a terrific asset to our office, and an important member of the entire White House organization,” Biden said in a statement. Of course he had to couch it in terms of her working for the vice president’s office and becoming such a key member of the “White House organization.”

She reportedly is a first-rate PR expert. That ratchets up the chatter about the vice president’s political ambitions.

Is he in or out?

Biden met this past weekend with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who’s the darling of the far left of her party. She, too, has been considered a possible presidential candidate, even though she has virtually eliminated any possibility of her running. I did say “virtually,” yes?

What was that meeting all about? Was he seeking her endorsement? Is he looking for further assurance that she’s really, really and truly not a candidate in 2016? Might he be sounding her out about joining him on a prospective Democratic ticket?

Only they know. They ain’t tellin’.

I made need a tranquilizer before this is all over.

Today — as opposed to just the other day — that fake trick knee of mine is telling me the vice president wants to make one more run at the Big Job.

He’s just got that one obstacle standing in front of him: Hillary Rodham Clinton. But now it appears she’s been damaged … maybe, possibly. That e-mail mess is getting harder to clean up.

Is the vice president now poised to rescue the Democratic Party and from its far left fringe, which now seems enamored of Sen. Bernie Sanders?

Time is running out, Mr. Vice President.

We need a decision. Soon.

And my hunch is that is exactly what Kate Bedingfield is telling him.