Disappointment

Jesse Cornett

Maybe this is beating a dead horse or maybe it just belongs in the comments of the previous post....

I supported John Edwards for President starting in 2003 when I became his Oregon coordinator. My support for him never wavered.

Though disappointed that he didn’t win the nomination in 2004, I was thrilled John Kerry selected him to be his running mate. I went on the road the last weeks of the campaign, working exclusively for Edwards. I wrote extensively about that here on Blue Oregon.

In the mean time, I worked with Edwards on a limited, sometimes volunteer basis when he came to the northwest, doing such things as staffing his events, both political and for his book tour.

Without ever second guessing his leadership, I was an early and vocal supporter of his 2008 bid, though he was running against two rock star candidates and the underdog the entire time.

In late 2007 when a story broke about an affair and potential child, I chose not to believe it. Early this year I even hopped on a plane to an early Primary Election state to work for him. All on my dime.

Last month when the National Enquirer reported the encounter with Edwards in the Beverly Hilton and I was asked about it, I could only say that I didn’t fully believe it based on that report alone.

Over this past weekend, I watched his Nightline interview admitting that he cheated on Elizabeth and lied to the public about it. Infidelity is awful, but can be forgiven. Lying to your family or the public about it once, much less over a sustained period of time is unacceptable.

Am I curious to know whether Edwards fathered a child? No. The bond of trust has been broken and I do not care. Do I believe his story for why he was in his supposedly former mistress’ hotel room just last month? No. The bond of trust has been broken and I do not care.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Jesse I remember when you were working for Edwards and wondered how you were feeling about the news when I heard it. I totally agree with everything you've said. I think for most of us the anger comes when we wonder why he was running at all with this secret? If he'd won the nomination his mistress wouldn't have the been the only who got screwed.

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    Jesse,

    I am more ambivalent about the whole thing. Edwards would not have lied about the affair if we were not in a climate where such behavior is used as a criteria to determine a president.

    As to when and where he lied to his wife about the affair, I'm just not sure why that's any of your or my business. Lying to your wife and lying to the public are two very different things.

    But of course, in American politics, we seldom separate the two, feeling somehow that morality is a single unified characteristic of a person.

    Why do we do that? Why do we think personal morality translates into public morality? What does someone's personal life have to do with their fitness for public office?

    We do remain a deeply moralistic people, and politicians forget this at their peril.

  • backbeat (unverified)
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    Well, I sure feel like a fool after supporting Edwards and calling him a Boy Scout. Jeebus. The big point here is that Edwards was so selfish and arrogant that he figured he could go against the rules. You know - the rules that say atheists are not allowed to run for president. The rules that say you can't be president unless you are willing to push the big red button. And since clinton, the rule that says you can't be a philanderer. Screw you Edwards.

  • (Show?)

    We need more candidates who are willing to say "It's none of your business" when asked about their private lives. In nicer words, of course.

  • (Show?)

    There is always a sliver lining my friends.

    At least he didn't have to pay for it (like a former governor from NY) nor was she underage (like a former governor from OR)

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    Paul,

    Thanks for your insight. I do actually think that dishonesty whether public or private is a good indicator of ones propensity to lie in all situations,thus making it the our business if he wants to remain a public figure.

    He was in her hotel just last month. I really doubt that if the tabloid he is trashing in this situation had not caught him there, he would have told Elizabeth, which indicates to me his ongoing willingness to deceive both his wife and the public. I do not think he was honest in either his reason for being there, or about the payoff to the mistress, which by the way I think could constitute a violation of FEC laws by his finance chairman if carefully reviewed.

    I've spent so long advocating for Edwards and he feels like a fraud now. In terms of getting the underrepresented involved in politics, this is the worst kind of thing that can happen. "They're all like that, why bother to vote," people will say or think.

  • Ian McDonald (unverified)
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    Jesse...I can only imagine your frustration.

    Here's a lesson from this episode, for those looking for one.

    Individual leaders, as individuals, will always disappoint you. Sometimes in spectacular fashion, sometimes bit by bit. Because...stop the presses...they are deeply flawed human beings. Just like you and me.

    We have a democratic institution that, when it works well, helps address this problem. That is...the political party.

    Support a party, and you are supporting ideas and policy choices, not just a media-filtered personal vibe. You get, to put it inelegantly, the Wisdom of Crowds.

    It's possible, just maybe, that Edwards's good ideas will outlive his political career, through the party.

    And the inevitable breakdowns of people like John Edwards, or you, or me, become marginalized.

    As such, parties deserve some care and feeding. No doubt, they deserve a lot of criticism, but they exist for good reasons. Remember those reasons this fall.

  • (Show?)

    What I find interesting is that whenever a Republican gets caught in a situation like this, Democrats love to pounce on it as an example of hypocrisy because Republicans claim to support "family values" or "traditional values."

    When a Democrat does the same thing, it's a more nuanced discussion of who he lied to about it or when he lied, apparently because Democrats don't believe in "family values" or "traditional values" in the first place.

    And then you all spend your time trying to figure out why you can't carry Middle America at election time.

  • (Show?)

    I've admired Edwards since 2003, but he was always my 2nd choice as I flipped through primary choices. First Bob Graham and then Howard Dean in '04. This season it was Obama from the start. But Edwards was always on my short list.

    So perhaps my view of this latest revelation will make more sense because it sorta mirrors my political views on Edwards.

    I find myself agreeing in almost equal measure with both Jesse here and with Paul. Which I guess places me somewhere inbetween.

    I fully agree with the notion that private honesty/dishonesty tells us something valuable about public honesty/dishonesty. But that's heavily tempered by the fact that we remain a deeply moralistic society - to a fault, IMHO.

    So I guess what I'm saying is that I can't and won't turn a blind eye, but at the same time I do believe very strongly in sincerely offering the possibility of redemption. Because, after all, I'm no more perfect than anyone else and I want the opportunity to redeem myself when I fail. The very least I can do is practice the Golden Rule because I've been on this planet long enough to be utterly convinced that what goes around comes around - or Karma, if you will.

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    Jack,

    That's called holding someone to their own standard. Dems don't usually pontificate on morality. Thus the hypocrisy factor is significantly less relevant when Dems fail.

    What I find interesting is that Republicans don't want to be held to the same standard they want to hold others to.

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    When a Democrat does the same thing, it's a more nuanced discussion of who he lied to about it or when he lied, apparently because Democrats don't believe in "family values" or "traditional values" in the first place.

    Or perhaps, Jack, its because most of my fellow progressives aren't interested in shoving our notion of "family" down everyone's throat and forcing them to eat it. I'm sure you see the difference.

    In fact, more nuanced discussions have been had about Republicans. Rudy Giuliani, for example. That guy has a serious zipper problem, from my observation. But he doesn't pay lip service to the GOP hardline notion of "family values" while systematically breaking those same notions in practice.

  • david s (unverified)
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    I'm sharing the pain, annoyance and anger but write mainly in response to Jack Roberts' interesting point. To the extent that there are differing reactions, I think they arise from the sense of hypocrisy that comes attached to the holier-than-thou family values candidate who--it turns out--isn't.

    But actually, some of us see him no differently as the family values people who cross various lines, either. As a former Edwards supporter, I'm pissed off at the arrogance illustrated primarily by leading supporters to fund and volunteer for someone who was Nat Enquirer unelectable.

  • (Show?)

    Oh, Jack, you must not understand. It's not that D's don't believe in "family values" we just don't try to force those values on everyone (and then get caught trying to solicit gay sex in a bathroom).

  • (Show?)

    "Democrats love to pounce on it as an example of hypocrisy because Republicans claim to support "family values" or "traditional values."

    Jack are you saying Republicans don't support family values or traditional values?

  • RW (unverified)
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    I am always bemused by those who truly do not understand that in life, in this life, we do not operate unseen. Ultimately, all that we do is there, we operate in the open.

    A friend was recently asked to run for a pivotal office at this important time. I am glad he elected not to do so. It would have put his tangled personal business out front in a more-destructive way than its denouement already dictated. Smart man. He possibly saved a number of people from massive humiliations, frankly.

    I am jaundiced since the last two rigged elections. Yet the disappointment viz Edwards flooded me too. Please, Kucinich - please please please don't have anymore personal revelatory surprises for me. My poor idealistic heart cannot take it.

  • LT (unverified)
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    This is for Jack Roberts:

    1) I agree with what David Bonior said about Edwards.

    2) As has been said in the past, it depends on the candidate's core message. If a Republican runs on "family values" and then gets caught doing otherwise, that is hypoocrisy. If poverty crusader Edwards were caught being part owner of a sweatshop (or like a post here awhile back owning part of a farm that mistreated migrant workers) that would be the same level of hypocrisy.

    As is the case when people who have had multiple marriages attack those who are still married for the first time and have done (are doing) a good job raising their kids simply because of a vote on a bill some group said was a "family values" piece of legislation.

    Which is why some of us say "Ditch the generalities, and let us see the details of your proposal".

    And about this: "And then you all spend your time trying to figure out why you can't carry Middle America at election time."

    Gee, Sens. Tester and Salazar aren't from Middle America?

    Here in Oregon, unless Gordon Smith wins re-election, you Republicans will be without a statewide elected official. And if you don't run someone of the hard work and high quality of Frank Morse for Gov. in 2010, once again you will lose that one.

  • springfielder (unverified)
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    I really doubt that if the tabloid he is trashing in this situation had not caught him there, he would have told Elizabeth, which indicates to me his ongoing willingness to deceive both his wife and the public.

    Jesse, Elizabeth Edwards says he told her in 2006.

    I realize that since many of us actually supported and admire(d) Edwards, this is a difficult thing to hear about. However, I think there is probably a very very short list of national politicians who have not had some sort of, um, scandalous activity.
    That doesn't excuse it for Edwards, but people need to drop the "he was a politician so he needed to be perfect" meme. I think recent history (and actually, most of history) shows the exact opposite.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    [Off-topic comment removed. -editor.]

  • anon (unverified)
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    People make mistakes, we build politicians up merely to cut them down. It is sad that we hold our politicians to a higer standard than we hold ourselves. I am sure that many individuals myself included that read & post on this board have made a mistake or two and lied about it, when the implications were great deal less important than becoming the leader of the free world.

    I am very disapointed with John Edwards, which is why I feel like he needs my support more now than ever. None of his politics, ideals or passions have changed, he simply got a little to big for his britches, and now has been knocked down hard and is lying on the canvas.

    The question becomes will he get up and will any of us have the courage to stand next to him if he does? I hope that he does and we do.

  • (Show?)

    Jessie, I simpathize with your position and applaud your response. It has happened to me before and I am one of the most loyal of friends when you have my friendship. It makes the cut that much harder if that friend has been deceiving you.

    I for one, obviously, did not support Edwards in anything and thus I don't feel the sting of his actions as some do. In fact that is why I did not follow the story that much.

    I put one post up on it last winter and at the time took the press to task for chasing down Ms. Hunter. I thought it was bad form at the time.

    Since Edwards was not going to win the primary I guess his errors never really rose to the "alert" level on my meter.

    It is too bad that the story is still a story now that he no longer has any political viability. I wish the press would leave it alone because really... it just does not matter.

    As I said before I do think it was horrible form for him to basically toss Ms. Hunter under the bus when he DID finally make an announcement.

    I think he would have been better off saying "I did it." and then when the press asked about the child say "Noneya." And that's all.

    <h2>So everyone would have thought that he had a child out there somewhere. A small burden to bear compared to what he is putting his wife and this woman through.</h2>

    Kevin, Who said Republicans "don't want to be held to the same standard?" Don't you watch the politics of the other party?

    You may not like the whole "family values" canard, but you certainly cannot say that the Republican party doesn't make their politicians pay a political price when they act hypocritical.

    Just look at Mike Erickson. He has become a laughingstock WITHIN his own party.

    Remember Congressman Livingston? He was driven from public office.

    The icky Larry Craig? There may not be a way to legally drive him from office but he could not win an election do dog catcher in a Republican primary now.

    <h2>So say what you want about the family values plank in the Republican party. But you can't say that we don't like being held to it.</h2>

    Rebecca, GREAT point. Politics has truly bled over too much into personal lives of people. Anyone entering politics these days has to assume that they may get taken up on charges for something stemming simply from a difference of political opinion.

    It is having the effect of driving some from the thought of public service and more and more the folks who get in and stay in have to have an alley cat mentality.

    I can't believe that in the long run that that is a good thing.

  • (Show?)

    One of the aspects of the situation is that Edwards in fact gave a televised interview late in 2007 saying exactly that private morality matters as a measure of character. From the brief segment of it I saw aired on Channel 6 (I think) the night the story broke, he appeared to be engaging in exactly the kind of moralism brings the hypocrisy charge to bear along with the dishonesty issues. Likewise he said in 1999 anent Bill Clinton:

    I think this president has shown a remarkable disrespect for his office, for the moral dimensions of leadership, for his friends, for his wife, for his precious daughter. It is breathtaking to me the level to which that disrespect has risen.

    But Jack Roberts, it's not just what others have said about not imposing values on others, though I agree with that. I have strong family values that are expressed by the phrase "love makes a family," also the name of a human rights organization in Oregon. So I reject the so-called family values that refuse to value families of people I love.

    And I don't share a good many other so-called "traditional family values." Actually from other things I know about your public life, I wonder if you share them?

    Do you agree with the Promise-Keepers that it is the duty of men as husbands to rule (benevolently and cooperatively) over their wives, and of wives to seek cooperation, but in cases of disagreement, to submit to their husbands' wills? Though I don't know you, it would surprise me if you did.

    That is just one example of among a number of so-called traditional family values with which I disagree, and with which I daresay a great deal of "middle America" disagrees.

    A lot of them have in common justifying male domination and other forms of authoritarianism in one way or another, often extending from the domestic realm into the political.

    But I categorically reject the claim that because I reject those values, I or others on the left have no values, and I reject the standing of the most conservative elements of religious conservatism to be the arbiters of who has values and who doesn't.

    It is too bad that for reasons of political expediency the more libertarian and moderate elements of the Republican Party have ceded that standing to organized religious ultra-conservatives.

    The focus on their hypocrisy arises in part from their claiming to have that standing, from their willingness to cast not only the first stone, but a whole lot of others after them, to hurt people who don't deserve it.

  • LiberalIncarnate (unverified)
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    The fact that this is news is reflective at how primitive American culture is. Oooo, lookie! It's a naked person! Oooo, what are THEY doing in the bedrooom? Who are they being whipped by?

    Who the hell cares? Not me.

  • marv (unverified)
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    The opinion shared by liberalincarnate is long overdue. As the MSM has whipped this issue up I have been checking out Left in The West and learned that the Crow Trbe has signed a seven billion dollar deal with an Australian entity to build a liquifaction plant. Also, polls show that the right wing is winning in the campaign to convince people that drilling offshore is the answer. On this site it is very comforting to the Republican Party to see a massive guilt trip and pitty party for somone who was once a can- didate. The victory party for McCain is assured. And for that I am truly disappointed.

  • (Show?)

    Who said Republicans "don't want to be held to the same standard?" Don't you watch the politics of the other party?

    I used to be a Republican.

    You may not like the whole "family values" canard, but you certainly cannot say that the Republican party doesn't make their politicians pay a political price when they act hypocritical.

    That's the crux of it right there. For far, far too many Republicans it's 99.99% about politics and 0.01% about the morality.

    Has Newt Gingrich paid a political price among Republicans for the abjectly reprehensible way he treated his former wife? Not much that I can see. Ditto for John McCain.

    The whole GOP "family values" thing isn't a mere canard. It's demagoguery that fairly oozes cynicism.

  • RW (unverified)
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    Even as I say my idealistic heart can't stand another kamikaze crash of a much-needed candidate, that is really just me groaning comedically. From my serious side, I find the adolescent irreality of American's expectations of purity in the political class to be intellectually primitive. Likewise our continued surprise at each revelation of an election that was tampered. I was bitterly disappointed in Jimmy Carter when he opted NOT to make it his business to serve the nation's needs in talking long and deeply on how VERY contexted our electoral ills are related to those in ostensibly notorious nations. It was the time for a thought leader, knowledgable in this arena, to embark on the dialog and education of the incorrigibly faux naifs of the American public.

    I do not condemn out of hand and in my ignorance the actions of Edwards: his story is his own, his marriage and their lives are psychodynamic. However, one is revealed in one's character and one's thought when one chooses which things to lie about. And to step up to a major campaign given the inevitable revelations of ANY secrets held.... was not very wise. American politics are what they are. Like them or not, there are certain lamentable rules of hypocrisy that shape and drive the scene. Thinking of Leonard Cohen's again.

  • Steve (unverified)
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    Posted by: Evan "We need more candidates who are willing to say "It's none of your business" when asked about their private lives."

    Good grief, you don't think severe infidelity and lying has any part in measuring one's moral fitness?

    Posted by: carla "Or perhaps, Jack, its because most of my fellow progressives aren't interested in shoving our notion of "family" down everyone's throat and forcing them to eat it. "

    Good grief, what do you call the gay marriage and gay adoption agenda?

    Posted by: marv "Also, polls show that the right wing is winning in the campaign to convince people that drilling offshore is the answer."

    It's the sanity wing doing so and it aint being pitched as "the answer" . The sane reality is we have huge supplies of our own energy resources. Growing desperate for more foreign supplies while our own sit untapped is insane. Since Global Warming is no more, http://www.libertyunbound.com/archive/2008_09/contoski-warming.html

    you need not pretend any longer that the insanity is justfied.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    You may not like the whole "family values" canard, but you certainly cannot say that the Republican party doesn't make their politicians pay a political price when they act hypocritical.

    Wait a second. John McCain cheated on his (first) wife and the Republicans nominated him for President. Sen. Vitter paid women to do some, shall we say, weird things and he not only retained his seat, but was given a standing ovation by the Senate Republicans.

    I think there is every indication that Republicans do not hold their hypocritical politicians accountable.

  • Mike Schryver (unverified)
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    Good grief, what do you call the gay marriage and gay adoption agenda?

    Wow, when were you forced to marry someone of the same sex? Or is the real problem that you've contorted your world-view into such a state that not being able to prevent others from leading a loving and happy life means, to you, that you're losing something you're entitled to?

  • Evan (unverified)
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    I for one am hoping marital infidelity MATTERS in this election, because

    John McCain is a PROVEN marital infidel!

    Once a dog, always a dog I say!

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Why do we think personal morality translates into public morality? What does someone's personal life have to do with their fitness for public office?

    I don't understand how you can separate the two. Have you ever known someone who is personally amoral but professionally ethical?

    Public office requires difficult decision making that often involves morality, ethics, values, and fidelity. This includes political decisions ("Do I throw my allies in Congress under the bus in order to score political points"); personal relationships ("Should I lie to this person about what I've done because I might need him in the future?"); ethical decisions ("Should I accept this weekend golf junket from this lobbyist?"); and policy issues ("Even if it's legal to torture enemy combatants, is it right?").

    It's appropriate to look at Edward's private actions and judge his character accordingly. But even if you could convince me that his private actions have no bearing on his overall character, you would still need to explain his public actions, which include repeated lies to the American people. If his infidelity is none of our business, then the appropriate answer when asked is "It's none of your business." You can't first lie, then justify the lie by saying the subject matter was off limits.

    I think Jack Robert's point was not really about hypocrisy, but the fact that Democrats are losing "middle America" because we're unwilling to say clearly in situations like this: JOHN EDWARDS WAS WRONG TO CHEAT ON HIS WIFE. This isn't forcing our version of family values on anyone, we're not saying that it's wrong to have sex outside of marriage, we're not saying that it's wrong to be in an open marriage, we're simply holding Edwards to his own voluntary marital commitment.

  • (Show?)

    Good grief, what do you call the gay marriage and gay adoption agenda?

    I call it making a family. If you don't approve of gay marriage or gay adoption, then don't participate in gay marriage and don't participate in gay adoption.

    The obvious difference is: I believe in the autonomy to choose the life you want. Those whom Jack referred to as "pro-family values" in general would force us all to live under their standard.

  • (Show?)

    I think Jack Robert's point was not really about hypocrisy, but the fact that Democrats are losing "middle America" because we're unwilling to say clearly in situations like this: JOHN EDWARDS WAS WRONG TO CHEAT ON HIS WIFE. This isn't forcing our version of family values on anyone, we're not saying that it's wrong to have sex outside of marriage, we're not saying that it's wrong to be in an open marriage, we're simply holding Edwards to his own voluntary marital commitment.

    The premise that Democrats are "losing middle America" is specious, frankly. Polling certainly doesn't suggest that, especially given the number and geography of pick-up opportunities for Democrats this cycle at the national, state and local levels.

    I also don't think its about whether or not people say that Edwards cheating on his voluntary commitment is wrong. It looks to me like plenty of people in the progressive community are saying it. That's a complete and separate argument from what I read from Jack..which is that Democrats have no "family values"--therefore when one of us does something like this, there is no hypocrisy.

    Jack's premises are faulty and should be called as such, IMO.

  • Steve (unverified)
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    Mike, Your imagination sure went wild with my response to Carla saying. "most of my fellow progressives aren't interested in shoving our notion of "family" down everyone's throat and forcing them to eat it."

    Strange opinion since IMO pogresssives are busy trying to shove their notion of "everythig" down everyone's throat and forcing them to eat it.

    That's what they do. Is it not?

    I know y'all like to play otherwise but the left is much more agrressive and on the march than any contigent from the right.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    The thing I like best about Steve's posts is how clearly he states the conservative world view. I just wish more conservatives were as up front about their ideas, beliefs and agendas. It would make electing progressives that much easier.

  • Steve (unverified)
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    I too call it making a family. Make your choices.

    But if you disapprove of forcing people to live under one's standards you better get your values out of our schools, where your "forcing" is clearly on the march to force much.

  • RW (unverified)
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    Jesse:

    Thanks for this thread. You opened an avenue to wholistically discuss the human experience of relatedness amongst those of you whose primary endeavours of service take place in the political domain. My decades of primary service are in public health and also closely-held Traditionalist life as a native home. I resonate with the necessity of the multidimensional responses to your commentary.

    I appreciate your personal feelings of having been had. You are indeed also a "victim" of Edwards' infidelity. This is an opportunity to review your own pschodynamic, beliefs, human vulnerabilities and the spirit of your own vision of how to serve. Geeky, unfasshionable, beautiful: there really is a "life of the nation", and there really is a warriorlike romance in service to the nation, and a relationship component therein.

    For those of us engaged in working spirituality, we must grapple these questions on a frequent basis. These questions of service, relationship, integrity, clarity, as well as projective delusion and co-responsibililities in the community of medicine and prayer -- they are real.

  • Unrepentant Liberal (unverified)
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    I feel bad for Elizabeth just as I feel sorry for John Sidney McCain III's first wife whom he cheated on after she had waited five long years for him to return from being a POW only to be tossed aside for a younger, richer woman

    Both those guys were a holes.

  • (Show?)

    Rebecca cuts to the very heart of this, IMHO:

    I do not condemn out of hand and in my ignorance the actions of Edwards: his story is his own, his marriage and their lives are psychodynamic. However, one is revealed in one's character and one's thought when one chooses which things to lie about. [emphasis supplied]

    Exactly!

    That he was unfaithful to his wife is one thing. That he lied to US about it is another entirely.

  • genop (unverified)
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    Most dems expect their leaders to be scrupulously honest with their constituents and certainly family members. Most Repubs expect their leaders to be clever and evasive. They appreciate a wily character who works behind the scenes to maintain/degrade the status quo. They trust their evasive leaders to do right by them. It matters little how they achieve the ends. My evidence: Bush, Cheney, Rove, Gonzales, etc. McCain is just another trickster in heroes clothes.

  • Steve Buel (unverified)
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    The lesson for me in the Edwards matter was when he said he began to think of himself as "special" -- became egocentric etc. Here was a man whose main agenda was helping poor people. Yet, he was corrupted by politics just like person after person is, whether they are running for President, or are elected to the county commission, the school board, or whatever elective office.

    They get treated like they are special and it is a lot of fun. Very addicting, very powerful. The treatment becomes more important than their agenda they were elected to fulfill. And, in order to not lose that special treatment and that special feeling, they don't stand up for what they believe (or should believe) if it is going to cost them votes or re-election. Or they make errors in judgement they might not otherwise have made. And we all suffer for it.

  • (Show?)

    But if you disapprove of forcing people to live under one's standards you better get your values out of our schools, where your "forcing" is clearly on the march to force much.

    Seriously...? Do we really need to go down this road? Cuz the fact that so many public schools force prayer, moments of silence, abstinence only, etc are hefty evidence to the contary of your premise.

    In the end, its about making choices. Most progressives that I know are for the autonomy of people to choose the life they want. Most conservatives that I know are in favor of a "traditional" family, not allowing for anything else.

    And when a conservative who has espoused such ideology doesn't uphold that for themselves, they are deservedly called a "hypocrite".

    Like paulg, I have an ambivalence about such criteria being used to judge our political leaders. I rather think its more appropriate to judge them on the stuff we hire (or are planning to hire) them to do: issues of policy and the requisite results of those policies.

    Fidelity to a spouse doesn't make a person qualified to govern appropriately, as far as I can tell. Nor does infidelity, that I can tell.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    The premise that Democrats are "losing middle America" is specious, frankly. Polling certainly doesn't suggest that

    Well, Carla, we lost to an imbecile in 2000. And we repeated that in 2004, after the disaster was clear. It's impossible to look at those two elections, where a completely outmatched Republican candidate won, without turning the focus inward and asking why we aren't connecting to voters. And even today, it's just not clear why McCain is within a few points of Obama in many swing states, except for the fact that we're just not connecting with certain groups.

    what I read from Jack..which is that Democrats have no "family values"--therefore when one of us does something like this, there is no hypocrisy.

    That's not how I read it, but I'll let Jack speak for himself. I was picking up his point in relation to some of the posts here and on the first thread that seem to say "Hey, why is this such a big deal, anyway? Who cares whether he had an affair?" There's a dangerous moral relativism that creeps up on progressives and prevents us from making firm declarations of right and wrong. Well, what Edwards did is wrong, period, both the lying and the infidelity. And I think if we were a bit more vocal about saying that, we would connect better with those groups in middle America that are keeping the presidential polls so close.

    As for your post about fidelity and qualifications, do you think moral and ethical behavior is necessary for elected officials? If so, do you really think it's possible to act immorally in private but morally in public?

  • Steve (unverified)
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    Carla, No, we shouldn't go down that road, because since you think "so many public schools force prayer, moments of silence, abstinence only, etc" you obvioulsy don't live in Oregon.
    The hefty evidence in this State shows plenty of progressive force being thrust upon our schools. But we should leave that alone.

    Yes in the end, its about making choices. But not as your characterization suggests. Most progressives are about marching the country to the left with selective choices and the very progressive idea of school choioce is not one of them.

    Conservatives are for thje most part about maintaining traditional values without any march to the right at all.

    Yet liberals always cast the right as puhing the country further to the right when all they are doing is attempting to hold ground against your tsunami.

    As far as Edwards and others' infedelity? I can't imagine how anyone can unplug the marital and family treason in infedelity from judging one's character.

    But here we again debating whether character matters?

    Is it not fundementally desireable that our political leaders must be trustworthy, loyal and honest? Could not the family cheater also cheat his country or community?

    How many times have we read of local officials, bureaucrats who have swayed from trust and stolen from accounts?

    Of course the crime against family, cheating affairs, are a valid measurement of a political leader's trust and honesty. If he or she would betray their closest loved one they would certainly screw the electorate.

    Judge tham all you want on issues of policy and the requisite results of those policies but to leave out their character is irrational and naive.

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    Miles got my point. It isn't that political candidates are expected to be saints or that we should judge candidates primarily by their private behavior. But if Democrats hold themselves out as the party of "anything goes," I believe you will pay a price for it in America.

    Ironically, the Democratic politician who probably has the best handle on this is Harold Ford. As near as I can tell, he consistently strikes the right tone on these issues. Perhaps it's because he was a congressman from Memphis who, unlike his father, wasn't satisfied with that and wanted to become a statewide leader. He damn near made it.

    The reason I say "ironically" is that until April of last year Ford was single and by reputation quite a ladies man. But I don't think that matters nearly as much as whether politician conveys to people a sense that he or she understands and shares their values. For most of "Middle America," Ford does.

  • George Seldes (unverified)
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    Best comment on Edwards is from Sam Smith.

    [Editor's note: Previously, this comment included the entire text of Sam Smith's blog post at ProRev.com. It's been replaced by a link. Please don't publish copyrighted material in whole - instead, excerpt and link.]

  • RW (unverified)
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    Dear George:

    Beautiful. & thanks.

    Rebecca

  • Greg D. (unverified)
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    I see references to Senator Edwards' lack of 'moral fitness' in some of the above posts. Wouldn't it be great if the Constitution had allowed the appointment of a 'moral fitness' commission to act as a gatekeeper for all those aspiring to public office. I can imagine a panel consisting of myself, Dick Cheney, the Pope, James Dobson, and two or three others who would sit in judgment of all who seek public office. Perhaps we could add the ghost of Joe McCarthy as an ex officio member of our panel. Only those who receive a "thumbs up" from the moral fitness commission could be listed on the ballot.

    If you eliminate freedom of expression and freedom of choice, elections would be so much simpler.

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    Jack Roberts: You're serious? You want to hold out Harold Ford as your moral compass? After the debacle in his protégé Nikki Tinker race this week? You really don't.

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    Conservatives are for thje most part about maintaining traditional values without any march to the right at all.

    First, whose traditional values are you talking about? The "traditional values" espoused tend to be the values that, believe it or not, the vast majority of the people in this country have never actually lived by.

    Second, if the majority of conservatives are not wishing to march to the right, than they need to discuss that with the party leadership that has made absolutely no attempt to disguise the fact that an arch-conservative, right-wing agenda is exactly what they have in mind.

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    I am disappointed as well.

    But I also don't get this whole "He LIED to ME!" "To US!". I am dissapointed but I don't feel betrayed cause I am not family and I am certainly not his wife.

    The only one he betrayed is Elizabeth - she is the only one who was "lied to". The rest of us are just bystanders.

    Think about your personal life - if a good friend was revealed to have cheated on his wife. Would you feel like he "lied to you?". You would be dissapointed and definitely mad at your friend for being so foolish. But this whole emotional "betrayed" thing would be a bridge too far.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Wouldn't it be great if the Constitution had allowed the appointment of a 'moral fitness' commission to act as a gatekeeper for all those aspiring to public office.

    There is a moral fitness commission. I'm on it. So are you. So is every voter who casts a ballot.

    Think about your personal life - if a good friend was revealed to have cheated on his wife. Would you feel like he "lied to you?"

    Had that friend looked me in the eye and said "I didn't do it", then yeah, I'd feel lied to. Had that friend put at risk something that I hold dear, then yeah, I'd feel betrayed. I don't feel betrayed by the fact that Edwards had an affair, I feel betrayed by the fact that he put the entire progressive movement at risk by subsequently running for president.

  • Amanda (unverified)
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    I think Katy's point is huge - I couldn't care less what someone does in the bedroom, really. If someone cheats on his wife, it might make them someone I wouldn't want to count among my friends, but it doesn't really weigh all that much on the political side for me. However, John Edwards knows the reality of American politics, which is that most of the American public does care about this stuff. That he could know that, do what he did, and still run for the nomination pisses me off tremendously. If he had secured the nomination and then been elected, we'd be reliving the 90s as the Rs made political hay out of an old rumor. And if he'd secured the nomination and then been outed - well, thanks for 8 more years of R control, jerk.

  • Brian (unverified)
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    "If someone cheats on his wife, it might make them someone I wouldn't want to count among my friends, but it doesn't really weigh all that much on the political side for me."

    Why shouldn't it weigh heavily? Much as I dislike tabloidesque scandals and recognize what a meaningless sham marriage has become in modern America, I find infidelity very telling about ones character and judgment. Furthermore, John Edwards did put himself up there as a moral, ethical, practicing Baptist. At the same time he's screwing around with some over the hill, marginally attractive at best broad while the woman he had sworn eternal devotion to was faced with a serious, life threatening illness. Pointing fingers at old Newt or any other Republican who engaged in similar behavior in no way diffuses Senator Edwards behavior. It's an easy nonpartisan call. A douche is a douche.

  • Steve (unverified)
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    Oregonian37, We are swaying from the topic, but if you have no idea what tradional American values are I suspect I can't help you. But country-patriotism, religion, schools without the imposition of multiculturalism and social indocrtination and government doing what government was meant to do isn't hard to understand as traditional Americanism.

    Even the simplistic preservation of Christmas in the public square is a good example of American tradition under assualt from the left. The ACLU and many other left wing groups have a full spectrum of assualts on American tradition.
    Contrast that, if you will, by providing what you think the "party leadership's arch-conservative, right-wing agenda" is pushing us toward versus standing ground? IMO there is no conservative push to the right. You're only percieving and portraying their objections and resistance to your left wing agenda that way.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Jack, need we remind you that Jimmy Carter (the Sunday School teacher who is the opposite of "anything goes") not to mention Gerald Ford, were not treated well by Reaganites because they were not Ronald Reagan? The GOP Gerald Ford belonged to changed in 1980 to the Reaganite party. Read that wonderful new book of interviews with Pres. Ford titled WRITE IT WHEN I AM GONE where he has pungent things to say knowing they would not be published until after his death.

    The first divorced/remarried President of the US was not one of the "anything goes Democrats". It was that great "hero" Reagan which all good people were supposed to admire.

    Those of us who would consider voting for someone in the same league as Vic Atiyeh (Frank Morse, for instance, or other intelligent, independent thinking problem solvers like Bob Repine or Max Williams) don't have to vote for the Republicans who only talk generalities and would rather bash opponents than solve problems.

    And sorry, I'll take Ken Salazar, Jon Tester, Jim Webb over Harold Ford any day of the week. They are problem solvers, they won in states Democrats are supposed to lose, and they don't have the condescending sactimony which too often marks what Harold Ford says.

    Or do you think Steve Cohen should have lost to Ford's chosen candidate Tinker?

    And quotes like "But if Democrats hold themselves out as the party of "anything goes," I believe you will pay a price for it in America." are why people like me (raised the granddaughter of a Republican politician, campaigned for Tom McCall's re-election, voted for Gerald Ford in 1976) don't think seriously about voting for Republicans.

    The party of Tom DeLay and the other Abramoff cronies, of Mark Foley the predatory Congressman, and of Taft of Ohio whose ancestor who was "Mr. Republican" in Harry Truman's day says that "Democrats hold themselves out as the party of "anything goes" ????? Have you read David Bonior's statement?

    John Edwards made such a major mistake that he ruined his life story--he lied and he cheated on a sick wife. That makes him no better than Gingrich. And what exactly were the details of McCain's first marriage ending?

    Or if there are 2 men who lie about infidelity, is it OK if one man is a Republican, but if the other man is a Democrat every registered Democrat better publicly denounce the infidelity or their whole party is culpable?

    That is your standard? As long as Karen is faithful to John Minnis her finances mean nothing and Bruce Hanna says the House Republicans will stand behind her -----and yet the "Democrats hold themselves out as the party of "anything goes"?

    Get real! Do you really expect us to believe "vote Republican because every Republican is a better person than any Democrat"? For too long, too many Republicans have refused to take responsibility for their own actions because the phrase "But the Democrats..." excused everything.

    Time for that to change. There was a story recently that voters with incomes under $30,000 might be the crucial swing voters. If those voters are too busy working to keep track of which party "holds itself out" as something, do you really think that the tax cuts for the rich and santimony aimed at all who disagree with the party line will win elections?

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Miles said, "There's a dangerous moral relativism that creeps up on progressives and prevents us from making firm declarations of right and wrong."

    That's what I've been saying for years on BO, except I would substitute "Democrats" for "progressives", since the two are almost antonymous.

    However, marital infidelity is a far lesser evil than slaughtering tens of millions or destroying the economies of third world countries. The moral relativism that Democrats and Republicans need to avoid is better defined as American exceptionalism, the tendency to believe that we own the world and are entitled to do with it what we wish.

  • ws (unverified)
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    It's as if the U.S., as it presents itself to the other nations of the world and offers justification for its actions, standing on a boast of being the epitome of moral righteousness. To verify this moral righteousness, it repeatedly attempts to rely on the perfect marital fidelity of its president and first lady, apart from any precise knowledge of their relationship or particularly personal inclinations.

    For various reasons, the American electorate has come to expect a perfect June and Ward Cleaver kind of marital relationship in their president and first lady. If a presidential candidate doesn't have that going for them, they're pretty much dead in the water. Any candidate that stands a chance of being elected president, is either going to be marketed as a happily married man, or forgettaboutit.

    There's no way at present that an american that's talented and honorable in government but has a wild or freaky, open sexual appetite, can be open about that to the electorate and have the slightest hope of being elected. Slick Willy would never have got elected the first time around if he'd let the electorate in on what shape his marital fidelity was in, or was likely to be in, once he got elected.

    Read in the NYTimes today about how the last meeting between Edwards and his girlfriend in her hotel room came about. A new-age doctor friend of his apparently talked him into it. Might of worked out, except that when E leaves the room...Surprize!!, Surprize!!...there's the National Enquirer reporters.

    We just gotta have someone a little smarter than to fall for some dumb trick like that, leading the country.

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    You're only percieving and portraying their objections and resistance to your left wing agenda that way.

    Holy smokes! I have actually been accused of having a left-wing agenda....I think I've finally arrived!:)

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Kevin:

    What I find interesting is that Republicans don't want to be held to the same standard they want to hold others to.

    Bob T:

    Oh, they don't mind being held to that same standard -- they just don't think they're gonna get caught. Arrogance in action.

    Bob Tiernan

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    That makes him no better than Gingrich.

    Does nobody think it significant that Gingrich kicked his wife to the curb? While she was in the hospital?? Just wondering.

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    LT, I can't tell if you're intentionally missing my point or are just confused. I've never suggested every Republican is a better person than every Democrat or that voters will (or should) always vote for the person who is the most "moral." And I'm surely not suggesting that because Edwards is a sleeze and a Democrat, all Democrats are sleezy. I agree with you 100% on Newt Gingrich and have expressed that view among Republicans any number of times.

    My point is that Democrats tend to have trouble expressing themselves in a way that suggests they understand, share and support the values of the average American. And, no, that doesn't include gay-bashing or mean that candidates can't be divorced or must have been celebate until marriage.

    I'd actually agree with you that Salazar, Tester and Webb all do a better job of what I'm talking about than the average Democratic candidate, which in part is why they won in state's where Democrats normally lose. And I think that's really what those guys believe. I mentioned Harold Ford precisely because I'm not convinced that he is the person he pretends to be, but I believe he has made a conscious effort to reach out to voters for whom those values are important (which includes a lot of African Americans, particularly in the South).

    That may sound "sanctimonious" to you, but that kind of proves my point, too.

    I'm also not trying to tell Democrats how they have to react to any of this. Frankly, I like the reaction I'm reading from so many of your BlueOregon folks. It means you're not learning. Better for us.

    So keep arguing and don't listen. November is just a few months away.

  • SBC (unverified)
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    It's amazing that the number of responses on BO goes up when it's a "sex" issue.

    Having worked on a number of events w/ Ms. Edwards while serving on the National Women for Kerry-Edwards Steering Committee efforts in 2004, my heart breaks for Elizabeth. Even though I started the race as a delegate for Wesley Clark, I found Elizabeth to be a woman of sound character, empathy, and honor. And it was a unique pleasure to work with her.

    That said - I am stunned that they BOTH agreed to move forward w/ a presidential bid KNOWING this was just beneath the surface. I cannot fathom the level of denial in thinking it would go away or that it wouldn't matter. I am not talking about the pillow talk or chats that go on between husband and wife about acceptable behavior but the judgements that will undoubtedly occur in the heartland that Democrats need to win in November.

    I am reminded of Ruth Graham's sentiment (and I am not prone to quote an evangelical minister's wife) when she said she had never contemplated divorce but often thought of murder.

    Beyond that I have two words for the BHO loyalists beyond hope and change: unvetted candidate.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    Too bad Jack, you're usually better than partisan hackery. Since sex seems to bring it out in you, there any issues you want to tell us about? Since you like the game - here you are:

    To assuage your doubts, I'm a way left Democrat and I think J Edward's behavior stinks and I'd question E Edwards on the behalf of Democrats. Democrats don't espouse morality, mostly they live it - your Party talks real big and frames it well and has very little to do with it. Your buttwipes have driven this country into a ditch, broken the Constitution, raped the working man, whored to the plutocrats, destroyed a foreign nation, sold government services to your patronages, can't keep a marriage intact, and you preach to us. You hide behind "values" to gay bash and race bait and talk about destruction of religion while you throw money into your favored varieties and turn religion into a patronage game.

    You flat out suck eggs at any real values, you're liars, cheats and thieves and deserve the wilderness exclusion you've gained in Oregon. I look forward to beating you like a cheap drum this fall, not because of an "R" but because of what you've made of that Party. YOU DID IT.

    Speaking of us not learning - I give you your slate, anytime you want to appologize to the citizenry...

    Whatever respect you might have had from me you've ashcanned - I figure it's time to start running through your service and find out just how "Republican" it was... Sex or money or influence? Come play with me, big boy. I can take the gloves off.

  • mike smith (unverified)
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    HI!! Remember when you were working for Edwards and wondered how you were feeling about the news.There total agree with everything you've said.Most of us the anger comes when we wonder why he was running at all with this secret? He would won the nomination is his mistress and wouldn't have been the only who got screwed. ======================================================= mike smith

    Virginia Treatment Centers

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    I eagerly await the GOP effort to turn this into another "elitist" attack on Democrats. You know, elitists like Obama.

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    Chuck, time to take your meds.

    You keep wondering why Democrats can't take CD 2. Read your post above. You really think that's the way to win rural Oregon?

    In case you haven't noticed, I haven't been ranting about John Edwards. I've tried to point out why the reaction of so many Democrats to Edwards, compared to your chortling about Larry Craig, reveals a weakness in your political message. Most of the reactions above have simply confirmed my hypothesis, although few were as over the top as yours.

    By the way, one of the few exceptions to my general proposition was Jesse Cornett's original post which started this whole thread. I thought the tone he struck--particularly from a dedicated Edwards supporter--struck an appropriate tone.

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    Jack: "My point is that Democrats tend to have trouble expressing themselves in a way that suggests they understand, share and support the values of the average American."

    And...

    "Frankly, I like the reaction I'm reading from so many of your BlueOregon folks. It means you're not learning. Better for us."

    How many Republicans hold state-wide elective office here in Oregon?

    Surely you're not suggesting that winning elective office isn't the acid test of which candidate/party expresses themselves in a way that suggests they understand, share and support the values of the average citizen.

    Seems to me that no Oregon Republican is in any position to credibly question whether Oregon Dems are learning or even what is important to learn in the first place.

  • (Show?)

    My point is that Democrats tend to have trouble expressing themselves in a way that suggests they understand, share and support the values of the average American.

    Maybe, Jack, it's less about "expressing themselves" than walking the talk. What I hear in most of the discussion is the frustration/outrage over politicians of either party whose actions betray their words. I trust you're not really arguing that you prefer Republicans who are better at saying things the polls tell them the public wants to hear even when their actual policies/votes go in exactly the opposite direction?

    Here's an illustration: Just like Mark Penn in the primary, McCain is now trying to hit Obama as hard as he can on his "foreignness" - contrasting Obama's appearance before huge crowds in Europe with his own appearance at Sturgis. I mean, how much more all-American can you get than Harleys?

    But: as Obama's counter-ad in Wisconsin notes, "McCain opposed a requirement that the government buy American-made motorcycles."

    So - maybe you're correct that some candidates are less adept at pandering than others. But let's be honest about what it is, okay?

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    How many Republicans hold state-wide elective office here in Oregon?

    This whole threat started by talking about John Edwards. I was primarily referencing national elections, although I think the urban/rural split is applicable to Oregon as well. It's just that Oregon doesn't have an electoral college for statewide elections and Portland dominates those races. Take out Multnomah County and Kulongoski lost to both Mannix and Saxton.

    Look at the current national electoral map. In what everyone agrees should be a very good Democratic year, Obama is neck-and-neck with McCain. Look at some of the states Obama needs to win in order to get elected: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, maybe now Colorado, New Mexico and Missouri.

    How many of those states look like Oregon--demographically or ideologically?

    You guys are whistling past the graveyard. Your reaction to 2006 reminds me of the Republican reaction to 1994.

    Keep this up and Obama better start practicing the Dukakis line from Saturday Night Live in 1988: "I can't believe I'm losing to this guy!"

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    Obama is neck-and-neck with McCain.

    No, he's not. That's media hype. As of today's Pollster.com rolling average, he's up by 2.5% -- and Gallup's daily tracking poll has it as Obama by 5%.

    If Obama is up by 2.5% on Election Day, he'll win 300+ electoral votes.

    If he get up to a 4% margin on Election Day, he'll score a 330+ electoral vote landslide.

    Given the very close margins of the last two elections (Bush +2.4%; Gore +0.5%) I'm amused watching the media redefine "neck-and-neck" as a 3-6 point lead.

  • Amanda (unverified)
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    Brian - the conduct itself doesn't weigh heavily politically for me because it doesn't, for me. If we lived in a world where it didn't matter in American politics, I might not want to hang out w/ the guy, but it wouldn't bug me about his suitability as a leader. I guess it's because historically too many men haven't been able to keep it housed and have led quite ably. I'm more concerned with the practical effect of the behavior, not its morality. He knew the rules in American politics and did what he did. That's what bothers me. That it went against his image only exacerbates the sheer recklessness of his conduct.

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    The only thing that would surprise me in this story is if the child of Rielle Hunter is, not, in fact, John Edwards's child.

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    Edwards would not have lied about the affair if we were not in a climate where such behavior is used as a criteria to determine a president.

    Let's be clear, the reason Edwards lied about having an affair is because he had an affair to lie about. He would not have had to lie if he didn't chose to have sex with a woman that wasn't his wife while he was married. Blaming his problems on the media or the current social climate is ridiculous.

    Of course this type of behavior is used as criteria to determine who we elect as president or any other office for that matter. A man who is willing to betray the trust of his wife and the vows he made in marriage shows poor judgement and a lack of integrity. If his wife is willing to tolerate that behavior and forgive him, that is her choice. I can't say I would make the same choice. The fact that he then bold face lied about it repeatedly with such ease makes him unworthy of the public trust and that is the criteria we should use to determine his suitablility to hold elected office.

    I supported John Edwards in the 2004 election and he was my first choice at the beginning of the primary before it was clear that he was not viable and I moved my support to Hillary. I feel betrayed, disgusted and really appreciate how well Jesse expressed those same thoughts and feelings in this post.

    Val

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    Doh! On the post above, only the first sentence should have been in italics which would have made more sense as it was copied from a post above.

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    How many of those states look like Oregon--demographically or ideologically?

    Jack, what difference does that make to voters registered to vote in Oregon as the overwhelming majority of us are? Even if we bought your argument it wouldn't make one whit of difference because we don't vote in any of those states.

    You are easily smart enough to have figured all this out for yourself long ago. Which begs the question of your real motive here.

  • Unrepentant Liberal (unverified)
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    If cheating on your wife renders you morally unfit to be President, then what does that say about the candidacy of John Sidney McCain III?

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    Well, Carla, we lost to an imbecile in 2000. And we repeated that in 2004, after the disaster was clear. It's impossible to look at those two elections, where a completely outmatched Republican candidate won, without turning the focus inward and asking why we aren't connecting to voters. And even today, it's just not clear why McCain is within a few points of Obama in many swing states, except for the fact that we're just not connecting with certain groups.

    Yes we lost in those cycles. And then we came back in 2006 and laid down a serious blue wave to take the Senate and the House. And polling suggests that this cycle will increase those gains. You were saying?

    That's not how I read it, but I'll let Jack speak for himself. I was picking up his point in relation to some of the posts here and on the first thread that seem to say "Hey, why is this such a big deal, anyway? Who cares whether he had an affair?" There's a dangerous moral relativism that creeps up on progressives and prevents us from making firm declarations of right and wrong.

    Sorry, I'm not buying it. Conservatives have just as big a problem then, based on that criteria. Many of them, especially on blogs, have a very big problem declaring that torture is wrong. Many have a very big problem admitting that some of the stuff Bush has done in terms of infringement on civil liberties is wrong.

    Frankly--its this kind of buy-in by progressives that makes me really annoyed. As if we should all stand up and beat up on a guy for cheating on his wife--and then stand around with knocking knees when it comes to calling out the real abuses of leadership in this country. There is some relativism there. Its MUCH WORSE to do what Bush has done than to do what Edwards has done. Neither are right (and plenty of progressives are articulating such about Edwards), so the idea that only one side has a problem with values is ridiculous, and a red herring.

    As for your post about fidelity and qualifications, do you think moral and ethical behavior is necessary for elected officials? If so, do you really think it's possible to act immorally in private but morally in public?

    I think people are fallible, and if you're waiting for a person who has never demonstrated a moral failing on a personal or professional basis EVER--you'll be waiting for Jesus Christ to be President. And yes, I think great leaders can have personal moral failings but be great public leaders: Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Roosevelt are two that come to mind immediately.

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    No, we shouldn't go down that road, because since you think "so many public schools force prayer, moments of silence, abstinence only, etc" you obvioulsy don't live in Oregon.

    Now you're just qualifying it, Steve. This has been a discussion revolved around the national, and you've just decided to make it about Oregon, where I do in fact live.

    The hefty evidence in this State shows plenty of progressive force being thrust upon our schools.

    Such as? Please be specific.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Kari said, "If Obama is up by 2.5% on Election Day, he'll win 300+ electoral votes."

    Danny Schecter (mediachannel.org) reports:

    "ELECTION PROTECTION

    The Obama campaign has announced plans to expand their election protection program by mobilizing more lawyers to monitor polling. But the folks in the election integrity movement say this doesn't go far enough because the problem is that there are unreliable machines and shady software.

    Andy Novick, a lawyer in New York State, is bringing suit to try to guarantee fair elections and is running into resistence from Democratic politicians.

    'To the dems this is one of those issues no one wants to touch…It's rather extraordinary when you're close to an issue to watch them back away like you've got a highly contagious plague…voting on software is secret vote counting….Voting on software is a corrupt system- opens the door to undetectable tampering. It's the antithesis of a democratic electoral system.'"

    So while you Democrats are showcasing your "morality" re marital infidelity, another election is being stolen right in front of your eyes. First you choose a right-of-center, anti-populist candidate who can run no better than even with a psychopath like McCain, and now you ignore the fact that the infrastructure has been laid for another rigged election. Who will you blame for this?

  • Tim Trickey (unverified)
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    Jesse,

    I just wanted to commend you for your moral convictions.

    Lying is wrong, no matter what it is about, or when it happens.

    I won't pretend to be a saint or judge Senator Edwards for his personal life, but I will say that it only reaffirms the distrust and "apathy" that so many Americans already feel towards politicians when any elected official (Republican, Democratic, etc...) lies to them.

    Despite our obvious political differences, I can appreciate honesty and integrity when I see it, and I can appreciate your disappointment.

    Hang in there; politicians shouldn't have the right to taint "politics" for the rest of us.

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    Tim Trickey --

    Would you agree that forgery is a form of lying?

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    Jesse (and others wrote a variation of) I do actually think that dishonesty whether public or private is a good indicator of ones propensity to lie in all situations,thus making it the our business if he wants to remain a public figure.

    I'd like some evidence of this and not just claims. I just don't know where this is coming from.

    We know that FDR had a longtime mistress and lied to Eleanor for decades. JFK was openly sleeping with starlets. LBJ likely screwed around. I'm sure there are many more examples out there.

    Can anyone show me any sort of evidence that sexual infidelity is the same thing as public immorality (this is what we are talking about folks--whether or not this qualifies as "immorality" is in the eyes of the individual).

    I can think of--in fact I know of--people who have committed adultery but who would never lie cheat or steal.

    We're kidding ourselves if we equate sex = everything. it doesn't and it never has.

    Jesse also commented He was in her hotel just last month. I really doubt that if the tabloid he is trashing in this situation had not caught him there, he would have told Elizabeth, which indicates to me his ongoing willingness to deceive both his wife and the public.

    NO! You have no idea what he did or did not tell his wife. If he went to the room for the reasons he said--to give moral support to a troubled person whose life he screwed up (and who was threatening to go public), how is he "deceiving" his wife or the public?

    You assume that you know an awful lot about what the Edwards's say to one another in the privacy of their home.

    I appreciate honesty and integrity. But if I wanted a president who never ever deceived or misled, then I'd be very, very worried. Because the Mugabe's and Putin's and North Koreas Chinas and Irans and others in this world hold no such more compunctions.

    Politics is dirty business. We all have different standards of how dirty it can or should get. But perfectly squeaky clean? Come on, now.

  • RW (unverified)
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    Poor old Edwards and company. It comes with the territory, unfortunately. All of this dust and noise. It's why some people turn down a chance to "serve" [I have only known two politicals who were truly about service and not about themselves]. Because they know it won't turn out well when their mixed up business is pulled up frontstage. I wonder if we could turn our minds to other things now? It's gone spiral at this point, well beyond circular!

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    Politics is dirty business. We all have different standards of how dirty it can or should get. But perfectly squeaky clean? Come on, now.

    Speaking only for myself here Paul, it ain't about governing, it's about getting elected (and not prepositioning your entire administration behind the 8-ball if you win), and the betrayal is in the fact that the Edwards' both were willing to subject the entire nation to four more years of the policies and sensibilities of the current administration.

    When Dems stray sexually, they will be subjected to continuous harassment during campaigns and while governing.

    Edwards put himself ahead of the rest of us, and for whatever reason was willing to include the fortunes of the enire progressive movement in his big Infidelity Gamble.

    Screw 'im.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    the conduct itself doesn't weigh heavily politically for me because it doesn't, for me. If we lived in a world where it didn't matter in American politics, I might not want to hang out w/ the guy, but it wouldn't bug me about his suitability as a leader. I guess it's because historically too many men haven't been able to keep it housed and have led quite ably. I'm more concerned with the practical effect of the behavior, not its morality. He knew the rules in American politics and did what he did. That's what bothers me. That it went against his image only exacerbates the sheer recklessness of his conduct.

    what amanda said.

    nail.

    head.

    bang.

    i may not agree w/ the rules, but the last 2 decades have amply demonstrated to us that they are what they are. edwards knew the rules as well as anyone. he chose not to play by them.

    that's what p&sses me off & disappoints me.

    he had absolutely no business running for president with that skeleton in his closet. what were they thinking? just because his wife may have forgiven him doesn't mean the electorate as a whole would have. that's the country we live in.

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    Wow, having been away from my computer for nearly 30 hours, I am blown away by both the number of comments here and the depth in many. I would be foolish to try to go counterpoint where I don't fully agree, but my goal here has been served.

    Cheers,

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    My meds, Jack? You should lay off the hallucenogenics, fella. I had something to say about Larry, not about gayness, about hypocritical stance.

    I'm not running for any office, 2CD or otherwise. I'm not trying to win a vote, other than show what YOU stand for. Jack Roberts:

    "When a Democrat does the same thing, it's a more nuanced discussion of who he lied to about it or when he lied, apparently because Democrats don't believe in "family values" or "traditional values" in the first place"

    You talk a good game, how're the odds your "values" folks in violation of "values" outnumber the Democrats with their traps shut on the issue who violate "your" values. You're a partisan hack, bubba. You address not one of my ethical values points regarding YOUR Party. How's the divorce rate in YOUR southern red states? Exceeds the Blue states by a wide margin. You've got values? Why don't you lay some of them on me? I understand that gays getting married is a bigger threat to the US than, oh say, your masochistic fascination with torturing people. How about turning the Constitution and BOR into toilet paper? Surely that gay Barney Frank ought to be "detained"? Indefinitely. Yeah boy, I want to impose your fake Christianist values on the citizenry. I've read the New Testament, quite a few times, your guys don't pass what the name sake had to say. Period. Since I don't claim to be what I'm not, I can kick you in the teeth for it. Jack Roberts: "But if Democrats hold themselves out as the party of "anything goes," I believe you will pay a price for it in America." Only in your Party's framing, so you parrot it and act as though it is reality because you say it. Thanks for your "concern," Faux News isn't a good source of reality, Jack. But like a good Republican you say we are what you accuse us of, despite facts. You know something regarding a guy named Vitter? He seemed to believe anything goes, despite all his "values" rhetoric. Your problem is that the facts and the numbers aren't on your side, just your political framing. Jack Roberts: "Ironically, the Democratic politician who probably has the best handle on this is Harold Ford." He's about as close to a Republican as a Democrat gets, and since he got a real dose of your "values" in the campaign I'm surprised you'd bring him up. Race baiting is a Republican value, eh? Jack Roberts: "That may sound "sanctimonious" to you, but that kind of proves my point, too." No, it proves you prefer image to reality, and the public is beginning to realize that. Your "values" mean no more to you than any other marketing ploy. You've demonstrated it in your statements. Sanctimonious has a conotation of belief rather than outright propaganda. Jack Roberts: "Read your post above. You really think that's the way to win rural Oregon?" I'd rather eat mouse turds than do it your way. You see I'm not into lying to people, I'm not in favor of selling my constituents out to Big Money and seeing what I can do to wreck counties owed payment in lieu of taxes so Oil feels good. I'm all about treating all law abiding Oregonians to the same rights and responsibilities versus Waldenbush's ideas. I'm more than happy to debate policy and not get wound up about it, but you want to play "values" and you're a lying sack of partisan hackery on that one. You don't like it? Don't play. You don't have the ammunition. Jack Roberts: "Keep this up and Obama better start practicing the Dukakis line from Saturday Night Live in 1988: "I can't believe I'm losing to this guy!" You've got McCain and you tell us what to do? You've got GWB and a dozen years of Congressional control with these results and you tell us what to do? Keep what up? Your guys went crazy over Craig, Vitter - the silence was deafening. Craig and 'teh gay' makes you nuts but diapers and hookers for a married guy, not so much? His wife was talking about Bobbit she was so unamused by the unverified speculation, once it was real - she Hillaryed. Your hope is ignorance and you've got your 28% Foxed.

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    Wow, Chuck, are you getting any professional help for your problems?

    You obviously have no idea what I believe and your attempt to hang on me every position of the Republican Right makes it obvious you don't follow Oregon politics.

    But don't worry, I'll pray for you. :-)

  • Mastodon (unverified)
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    Why so serious?

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    Wow, I regret missing the discussion on this thread. Leaving aside the Jack/Chuck squabble (looks to me like Jack's throwing partisan grenades because it's fun), I'd like to weigh in on the issue of affairs and honesty.

    The frame on that discussion is whether a person who screws around can be expected to be an honest leader and a competent policymaker. Let's lay to rest the second issue--I don't think anyone can credibly make the argument that screwing around has anything to do with governance.

    But let's go back to the first point. Why this particular equation, sexual infidelity = untrustworthiness? We regard infidelity as the greatest transgression a public figure can make, the most "telling" window into his soul. But is it more accurate than a criminal history? Corruption? We believe in personal redemption on corruption: the words "Keating Five" will never be mentioned in this election season. Far more interesting and damning to McCain is the breakup of his first marriage and shotgun wedding with Cindy. I expect that will play a role. Why?

    Jack does play the "family values" card here, and he's right--there are tens of millions of Americans who think what you do with your crotch is a bigger deal than what you do with your brain. (No jokes about Bush's flightsuit codpiece, please.) He's right that this has been a club with which the Democratic Party has been regularly beaten--gleefully, as he does here. But so what? That doesn't mean we need to beat ourselves with it. As Paul pointed out, the giants of the 20th Century screwed around (and probably every century before). I have no doubt that Bush has not. Find me the correlation.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Jeff Alworth brings a dose of sanity to the discussion. McCain's Keating Five association won't be discussed, and Dems need to ask why. Is it for the same reason that Gore failed to fight for his victory in 2000?

    When your money changers are the same ones who fund the Republicans, you have to dance to the puppet master.

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    You obviously have no idea what I believe and your attempt to hang on me every position of the Republican Right makes it obvious you don't follow Oregon politics.

    Jack, I think you brought that on yourself with your "all the better for us" rhetoric.

    Given your positions on the issues, why do you retain that yoke to Karen Minnis, Tony Marino, Bill Sizemore, Loren Parks et al?

  • Miles (unverified)
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    The frame on that discussion is whether a person who screws around can be expected to be an honest leader and a competent policymaker. Let's lay to rest the second issue--I don't think anyone can credibly make the argument that screwing around has anything to do with governance.

    I don't think I'm willing to exempt governance so quickly when it comes to ethics and morality. As I noted above (August 11th, 2:29 p.m.), there are lots of ethical and moral issues that leaders deal with on a daily basis even when dealing specifically with policy and governance. The hard part about being president isn't picking one option and moving forward, it's the morality/ethics that form the context of each decision. If someone has a propensity to disregard commitments and throw away the trust of allies, that's going to play strongly into one's ability to govern.

    Clinton was a cheating slimeball, which was somewhat clear in 1992, pretty clear in 1996, and crystal clear by the time he left office. He also engaged in triangulation with the Democratic Congress in order to boost his own popularity. Can you really argue those two things are completely distinct? I see a similarity between his infidelity to his wife and his infidelity to his party.

    So let me reframe the question to you: Why do you think that someone who cheats on a loved one will refuse to cheat on his party or the American people if it comes to that? Why do you think he'll be faithful to his beliefs/values if he won't be faithful to his spouse?

  • Lani (unverified)
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    McCain cheated on his first wife and dumped her while she was recovering from a horrible accident--after she raised their three children alone. He also lied about it.

    But it's okay when a Republican does it.

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    Miles, it's not enough to surmise it, let's see some examples. As noted, famous philanderers and stellar presidents were often one in the same. I think if you're going to draw the correlation, it has to based on real data, not just a moral gut feeling.

  • No dem (unverified)
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    "First you choose a right-of-center, anti-populist candidate who can run no better than even with a psychopath like McCain, and now you ignore the fact that the infrastructure has been laid for another rigged election. Who will you blame for this?"

    Ralph Nader, no doubt!

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    That's you that is quoted, Jack. You snark and avoid the question regarding the ethics of your Party Of Values you proffered Dems advice from. You played partisan hack and you want slack? Stay away from people who say what they mean and stand by it, then. You want to play 'better than'? You best not bring up your Party when it comes to ethics. There was a time...but it ain't now. As for what you believe - you just made yourself clear.

    Do I seem a little pissed off? 'Better than' from the likes of you might just do it, I get to look at this country's plight from your Party's BS and be very sad. But you're 'better than'. I'd suggest an anatomical impossibility to you, but you've evidently already indulged.

    I told you, whatever respect I had for you was ashcanned by you. You think your politics of yester-year mean something to this discussion? If you wanted your standing of then, you should have stood on it rather than your latest crap. What ever you think you were, this was partisan hackery and you get what it deserves. Disdain. Dismissal.

    By the way, it is neither original nor witty to use old tired comeback lines with no content regarding the "comeback." You should have your carotids checked if that's your best. You care to use your supposed "values" superiority to explain the "values" demonstrated by McCain cheating on his banged up wife with the pretty rich little heiress? Something he learned from "hero" school was it? Oh yeah, I'm reeeeaaal impressed by what you think we don't know how to do. Sad, tired, old, and lacking in originality and content, I'm impressed, Hack...er Jack. Blame QWERTY for that...

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    Jack, Save your prayers for somebody in need of them, or with any desire for your version of god - (R) is a good qualifier on both counts. Thanks, but I sleep real well.

    JR: "I was primarily referencing national elections, although I think the urban/rural split is applicable to Oregon as well."

    JR: "You obviously have no idea what I believe and your attempt to hang on me every position of the Republican Right makes it obvious you don't follow Oregon politics."

    Funny how that works when a person can read, comprehend, and remember what was written by whom. Values includes selective memory does it? Or memory loss - you and Gonzales? More values. Real class act there, Jack.

    You decided to play. You wanted to play Craig (R) vs Edwards (D) reactions on the basis of a couple comments? You've earned every bit of this with your dishonesty and then trying to weasel it. Jack Roberts (R), no kidding...? You think I don't know who you are? So what? You wrote what you wrote, so I guess that's who you are, also.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Democrats and Republicans continue to see only the crimes of the other, and they ignore the most egregious crimes. That Clinton should be called "a slimeball" for his sexual embarrassment, but not a slimeball for his crimes against humanity is the most telling of all the comments here. The man, along with the Bushes, is a war criminal, and all you see is sex. Shame on you.

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    Chuck, let me keep this short so maybe you can track it:

    My posts have not been about Republicans being "better" or acting "better" than Democrats. Lord knows there is plenty of disgraceful behavior on both sides to go around. The whole thrust of my comments here have been that the way many Decomcrats (by no means all, not even most if you're talking office-holders rather than political activists) but the way many Democrats react when their candidates get caught in something like this to often makes it seem that you aren't willing to acknowledge that this kind of conduct is wrong and that people have a right to be angry about it.

    Among Republicans, the reaction is generally different. There may be embarrassed silence or arguments over the facts and there will usually be complaints about double standards ("What about Bill Clinton!") but I have never heard Republicans trying to suggest that these kind of things don't matter or that we shouldn't care about them.

    For example, I can't imagine Republicans writing "The fact that this is news is reflective at [sic] how primitive American culture is" or "There's no way at present that an american [sic] that's talented and honorable in government but has a wild or freaky, open sexual appetite, can be open about that to the electorate and have the slightest hope of being elected"--both of which statements are taken from posts above (albeit, not yours) and which I suggest really does suggest a point of view out of step with "Middle America."

    <h2>The Achilles heel for Democrats is the inability of so many of you to simply say, "This conduct is wrong and there is no excuse for it." But I'm sure if you keep screaming your position loudly enough, eventually your neighbors in Eastern Oregon are bound to see the light.</h2>

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