I have been watching CNN’s ‘In the Arena‘ the past few weeks just to take a look at Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. I didn’t watch the show in its previous incarnation ‘Parker & Spitzer‘ which never made much sense to me. CNN hired Spitzer because of his take-no-prisoners attitude then showed its fear (aka potential loss of advertiser dollars and the female audience) by adding Washington Post Columnist Kathleen Parker to soften him up. Watching those two banter was like witnessing one of those horrible, awkwardly scripted conversations you normally see while watching the Academy Awards. ‘Parker & Spitzer’ was a painful, eye scrape-inducing endeavor, therefore I chose not to watch it. Thank goodness CNN saw the error in its logic and shuttled Parker off into ‘media-fail’ outer space. I felt a tad sorry for her, but that’s life in the big city, especially when you’re dealing with the Spitzer.
My reasons for not watching ‘Parker & Spitzer’ were definitely different than most people. Potential viewers boycotted the show because they thought Spitzer was/is an immoral, adulterous asshole. Spitzer has never claimed not to be any of these things. Yes, he enjoyed kicking ass and taking names on behalf of the state of New York as Attorney General then Governor. Yes, he cheated on his wife with a prostitute. Yes, he showed an amazing lack of judgment which led to him resigning his governorship. Yes, he is like a heat-seeking missile when it comes to the limelight. But these are traits and actions he has never tried to hide post-being-caught-with-his-pants-down. He obviously believes that he still has much to contribute to the political and legal conversation, that his career and life are not over because of his transgressions, which is why I watch his show. He’s an asshole, but he’s smart, savvy and a fighter.
He deserves kudos for not laying down or walking away with his dick between his legs. Most people would never have been able to recover from such a public humiliation and supposed career downfall. Yet he found his way back, career-wise. And somehow him and his wife have made amends, so to speak, with each other and moved on. If his wife can do this, then who are we, the general public, to condemn him to pushing boulders uphill like Sisyphus or living in perpetual shame like his philanderer-in-arms, Former 2004 Democratic Vice-Presidential Candidate John Edwards. Spitzer does not act like someone who has been permanently shamed and that is why some people just can’t stand him.
I am not justifying the fact he cheated on his wife nor the fact that he put the state of New York in a politically and financially-precarious position. However, he does not need the public’s forgiveness for his actions. He knows he’s an asshole. He knows that we know he’s an asshole. He seems to be okay with that, though he probably doesn’t give a shit what we think about him, which is as it should be.
Update: On July 6, 2011 CNN canceled Spiter’s talk show ‘In the Arena.’ In 2012 Spitzer became a host of his own show ‘Viewpoint with Elitot Spitzer’ on Current TV which was cancelled that same year. On July 8, 2013 Spitzer announced that he was a candidate to be New York City’s next ‘City Comptroller. He ended up losing the Democratic primary in September 2013 to Scott Stringer (Manhattan Borough President) who eventually was elected Comptroller. On January 13, 2014 Eliot Spitzer and Silda Wall filed divorced papers. The divorce was finalized in April 2014 with Ms. Wall receiving a $7.5 million divorce settlement. In February 2016 a woman accused Spitzer of assault, an allegation which he denied. The woman, Svetlana Travis, later stated that she fabricated the accusation. The New York Police Department’s (NYPD) investigation is ongoing.
This week John Edwards’ former mistress, Rielle Hunter was on Oprah Winfrey. Hunter talked about the political scandal/affair that involved former 2008 democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, his wife Elizabeth and herself. She espoused about the lovechild she had with John, their relationship and its ramifications.
I didn’t actually watch the program since I was at work. Even if I had happened to be home that day I still wouldn’t have watched it. What’s the point? Would I have learned anything that I didn’t already know? We all know the media spin that was put on this story. John is a cad who cheated on his cancer-stricken wife. Hunter is a slut who took advantage and along with John could have almost cost the Democrats the presidential election. Then there’s poor, sick, salt-of-the-earth Elizabeth Edwards (John’s wife) who has been embarrassed by her husband’s wayward penis.
I wish I could say that I felt sorry for Elizabeth when this whole sordid news came about, but I didn’t then and I don’t now. Call me cynical, but I just never bought the ‘Poor Elizabeth’ story. Yes, she has cancer. Yes, she had a child die in a car accident, but that does not mean that she is a saint. Let’s be honest, some of the empathy directed towards her is because she is a fat, frumpy and all-around not a very physically attractive person. Heck, her husband might as well have been a Greek god in the looks department when compared to her.
Elizabeth knew what people thought of her and played this hand of cards to its fullest, whether it was lying to the public, the Edwards’ campaign workers or the democratic party. John was not the only narcissistic person in this relationship, she held her own as well. She wanted to be in the White House just as badly as John did – make no mistake about that. She was completely complicit in trying to keep John’s tryst with Hunter under wraps as long as possible. When the shit hit the fan she was pissed and let everyone know it in a very passive-aggressive manner. If she really cared about her family she would not have written a book or showed up on every talk show talking about her feelings about John’s philandering while never referring to Rielle or her husband’s lovechild by name. Sometimes she referred to John and Rielle’s daughter as “it.” What made the situation worse and downright mean was that during Elizabeth’s interviews John would be sitting next to her quietly, looking absolutely pathetic while his balls were being cut-off on national television. I actually felt sorry for him even though he could have caused the republicans to get back in the White House if Edwards had been the democrat’s presidential nominee when the Hunter-Edwards scandal hit the news world. I’m not saying that John Edwards’ downfall isn’t deserved because this incident shows that he is reckless and his decision-making skills are extremely faulty. Yet, Elizabeth’s behavior is not without fault.
Whenever I expressed my thoughts on Elizabeth Edwards I was told that I had no pity, that I was being harsh towards poor, poor Elizabeth. I must admit that I felt some vindication when Edwards’ former aide, Andrew Young wrote in his book about Elizabeth’s controlling and vindictive behavior. I’m not saying that Young is 100% right since he has his own agenda, but I believe that there is some truth to his allegations. As for Rielle Hunter, she is as clueless as the day is long. I’m not sure if she is in love with John Edwards or suffering from extreme infatuation. Unfortunately for John he allowed his dick to do his talking and he got run over by his wife and mistress. Yet I’m sure that he is surprised by the depth of the tread marks that Elizabeth has left on his back since stereotypically that is the mistress’ job. I guess he didn’t know when to fold them or when to hold them or when to walk away. Oh well.
Note: In January 2010 John and Elizabeth Edwards separated after 32 years of marriage. However, they were never legally divorced. The split could not be finalized until the couple lived apart for 12 months–Elizabeth Edwards’ died of metastatic breast cancer on December 7, 2010 one month shy of the requirement. In January 2011 Elizabeth Edward’s final will and testament revealed that she left nothing to John Edwards. He was not mentioned in her will. The couple’s oldest daughter was named executor and everything was left to the couple’s three children.