Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Two Styles of Political Suicide

While Mark Sanford continues to go for his own jugular with new confessions that will force him out of office, there is news about his neighbor to the north, John Edwards, that should bury him politically once and for all.

The two offer a fascinating contrast in self-destructive styles.

Now that his erotic secrets are out, the South Carolina governor just can't stop blabbing that he has "crossed lines" with other women, each revelation costing him the loss of more political allies, to say nothing of possible reconciliation with his wife.

Edwards, on the other hand, has been a true trial-lawyer weasel, practicing Nixon's "modified limited hangout," admitting only misdeeds revealed by others and hoping to keep all the rest buried.

This week those hopes were dashed by news of a book proposal by former aide Andrew Young, who once tried to take the rap for Rielle Hunter's pregnancy, but is now disillusioned (and no doubt greedy) enough to tell all about the affair, including their making of sexual videotapes and plans to marry after the death of Elizabeth Edwards from the cancer she has been fighting.

In his quest for the presidency, John Edwards kept talking about two Americas. When it comes to ambitious politicians, he and Mark Sanford have living in two different universes. but the result will be the same for their careers and help make voters wary of politicians posing as Mr. Clean.

Update: In the second part of his confessional AP interview, Sanford burbles, "I will be able to die knowing that I had met my soul mate." This declaration has haunting echoes of King Edward VIII renouncing his throne in 1936 for "the woman I love." The former king and his soul mate went on to a long life of exile in what used to be known as Café Society, but the GOP right wing has no such counterpart these days for dethroned Southern governors.

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