Saturday, March 24, 2007

Elizabeth Edwards’ Choice

Posted by olvlzl
The decision of Elizabeth and John Edwards to continue with the campaign for president in the face of what is euphemistically called a life threatening illness is bravery of a kind that is so rare among the well off that it seems incredible to a lot of people. Having watched both of them but especially Elizabeth Edwards they seem to be something rare in the United States these days, people who believe that public service is the highest calling.

I agree with John Nichols that the decision was Elizabeth Edwards to make, John Edwards would certainly have stopped if she had wanted him to. There doesn’t seem to be anything about their marriage that is staged for the cameras. I also agree with him that Elizabeth Edwards seems to have taken the place in John Edwards’ political career that was so unfortunately held by an incompetent and back-biting idiot like Bob Shrum .

Shrum takes what he assumes is credit for being one of the professional losers who talked a reluctant Edwards into voting for the authorization of the war:

Shrum writes that Edwards, then a North Carolina senator, called his foreign policy and political advisers together in his Washington living room in the fall of 2002 to get their advice. Edwards was "skeptical, even exercised" about the idea of voting yes and his wife Elizabeth was forcefully against it, according to Shrum.

But Shrum said the consensus among the advisers was that Edwards, just four years in office, did not have the credibility to vote against the resolution and had to support it to be taken seriously on national security. Shrum said Edwards' facial expressions showed he did not like where he was being pushed to go.

Even before her husband abandoned such bad council and apologized for his vote Elizabeth Edwards came out in support of Cindy Sheehan:

"Whether you agree or disagree with every part, or any part, of what Cindy wants to say, you know it is better that the president hear different opinions, particularly from those with such a deep and personal interest in the decisions of our government. Today, another voice would be helpful. Cindy Sheehan can be that voice. She has earned the right to be that voice."

Ms. Edwards must have considered the cost so involuntarily paid by Cindy Sheehan for the added burden of having public service thrust on her. Both have had a child die young, she must have known more than most of us what that means. Being intelligent and brave, Elizabeth Edwards must have looked into what both her original diagnosis with cancer and this recurrence means in terms of the possibilities and the percentages. There is no way that she can know at this stage which of those possibilities she will be forced to face but none of them will be easy or good. She must believe that John Edwards would be a very good president, she is willing to sacrifice her private life for the public good.

John Edwards isn’t “my” candidate since I don’t have one yet. As I've repeatedly said, I will support whichever Democrat seems to have the best chance to defeat the Republican nominee, the world cannot stand another Republican presidency. I respect the decision that Elizabeth and her husband have made. If some people are too cynical to think that it was made out of a deep commitment to public service then maybe that only shows how badly needed such people are in our politics these days. Facing the loss of everything, in the most literal meaning of that phrase, Elizabeth Edwards has given us an example of what service to the public can entail so as to shame the typical politician who makes the same claim.