Ex-John Edwards aide Andrew Young has been ordered by Superior Court Judge Abraham Penn to return all copies of a sex tape allegedly made by Edwards and his mistress, Rielle Hunter. Failing this, Young and his wife Cheri face jail for contempt of court.
It’s hard to have sympathy for any of the players in this sad drama–certainly not the Youngs, who are accused of holding extra copies of the sex tape, nor for the ostensible victims, Edwards and Hunter.
Edwards, who came close to capturing the vice presidency in 2004, has since then systematically shredded every last vestige of his reputation, and sent his once-promising political career spiralling wildly beyond Gary Hart territory, finally settling in the land of posterity’s bottom-feeders, featuring the likes of Spiro Agnew and future Trivial Pursuit answers Rod “Blago” Blagojevich and Eliot Spitzer. According to Game Change, Edwards was so self-deluded even after being outed as Hunter’s babydaddy by a supermarket tabloid, the pretty North Carolinian was still angling to be Obama’s Attorney General.
Edwards’ decision to make a sex tape with Hunter, let alone allowing it to fall out of his possession, is a course of action so decidedly reckless and even stupid that it begs the question: Did Edwards sabotage himself intentionally?
It’s doubtful–Edwards appears to be divorced from reality. What does remain open to debate is the question, to what degree? Despite all the storms Edwards has weathered in the past two years, the former senator remains capable of Herculean feats of self-deception, even if increasingly he can’t fool much of anybody else. Most recently, he’s taken his act to Haiti, vowing to help the Haitians as only John Edwards can. Presumably, this means suing the manufacturers of faulty swimming pool pumps. If this is the indeed the case, the Haitian swimming pool supply industry may need to apply for some of the international relief funds which continue to pour into Haiti: Edwards may be cheap, but his bill won’t be.
Rielle Hunter might be the most interesting player in this drama, not only for her role as a future footnote in the annals of history, but also for both for many lives she’s lived– among them actress, a savvy videographer who could make YouTube work for political candidates, game-show contestant, fraud victim and the inspiration for a literary character. Perhaps her ability to reinvent herself is what Edwards saw in her in the first place. Like Hunter, Edwards is a chameleon, in which the search for identity is life’s meaning.
Hunter is shedding her most recent skin for GQ. Painted for so long as “the other woman,” Hunter wants to show the world the kind of wholesome gal she is.
Young, Edwards’ former lickspittle and author of the recent political tell-all The Politician, wants us to know that he was a pawn in something beyond his ken. Edwards was a Rasputin, Young would have us believe, and caught his innocent aide in the web of his machinations. It was for those reasons–loyalty, esprit de corps, hero-worship–that Young humiliated his own family by claiming to be the father of Rielle Hunter’s child. Sadder yet, it appears this deception fooled no one, except perhaps for Elizabeth Edwards.
At first it seemed that Cheri Young’s only wrongdoing was exercising poor choice in agreeing to marry Andrew Young. When most of the public knew that Edwards was almost certainly the father of Hunter’s child, it was still possible to pity the humiliated Cheri when her husband ridiculously claimed to be the father of Hunter’s child. With the potential contempt charges hanging over Cheri as well as her husband, it appears that the wronged wife has at least a little of the grifter in her. In this, she’s found herself in welcome company.
Currently, the bizarre quartet comprising Edwards, Hunter and the Youngs is now split into two very distinct–and opposing–camps. Promethean Times predicts that in a few short years, when the money’s run out and the notoriety isn’t enough even to keep the National Enquirer interested, what is now two will most likely be four.