So it wouldn't be US presidential politics if we didn't have a scandal of some kind at some point. And really, it didn't require much digging online the past few months to hear all the rumours kicking around about John Edwards infidelity.
However, this scandal has made me think a little bit about the mental wiring of people who decide to run for president in the United States. I mean, I was getting a bit of a kick out of John McCain's campaign call Obama elite and out of touch. This from a man whose father and grandfather were admirals, who married a woman worth an estimated $100 million and who apparently owns six houses. Obama, on the other hand, is half black, half white, raised by his single mother and while he didn't grow up in poverty, certainly had a harder go of it than McCain growing up.
But he's elitist.
See, it takes special mental wiring to come up with that argument. Your average person could never make the leap in logic or have the balls to try and make that point. But the people who run for president are about as different from me and you as we are from any microbes that might found on Mars.
Anyone who thinks they are the best qualified person to lead the United States and, by default, be the most powerful person in the world is elitist. They are arrogant. And they simply don't think like other people.
Still, I've know that for awhile about presidential candidates. About different mental wiring. Still, when I look at Edwards and what he did, I think even for a presidential candidate, there's something deeply faulty wiring happening there.
See if you can follow this logic. At the time when he's considered a favourite for the Democratic nomination for president, he decided to have an extra-marital affair with someone who does documentaries (in other words, someone with media connections). He breaks it off, but decides to continue his bid to become president.
Now, this is all kinds of crazy all on its own. These affairs tend to come out regardless. So now he's taking the chance of actually winning the nomination and having this come out while he's the Democratic nominee, which would destroy his party's chances of taking the White House in a year when they're favoured to win. And you know it would. It's practically a given these days that it would.
And then in 2007, after the affair had supposedly ended, his wife announces her cancer has returned. And rather than going "there's no way on earth I'm going to keep running for president, not with my wife fighting cancer and the risk of my affair coming public" he opts to stick with it.
And there is the issue of whether or no the baby is his. He denies it, she denies it. But still. Just imagine if he is the father...if he did have sex and father than child while running for president and his wife is sick with cancer. Well, dear God. That would kind of fry the brain, wouldn't it?
It's not even the affair. Lord knows he's not the first person to have an affair, nor the first politician to do it. But to run for president after having one? To keep running, knowing that ticking time bomb was out there and your wife is deathly ill? Yes, Bill Clinton did something similar back in '92, but at least Hillary wasn't seriously ill.
We will never understand a person like that. Even for presidential politics, that is some deeply, deeply weird shit.
Something to keep in mind when watching all of this happening in the United States. These people aren't normal. They're not "plain folks." They're not just like you and me. Just remember that when you look at Edwards and wonder, "what the hell was he thinking?" because he's just slightly more crazy than the rest of the people who ran for president the last year. Slightly.
1. Dirty and true - Hawksley Workman*
2. Jacob's dream - Allison Krauss
3. Come crash - A.C. Newman
4. Trusted - Ben Folds
5. Just the way you are - Diana Krall