First of all let me say I’m totally sympathetic to the predicament of the Edward’s family. Cancer, particularly cancer on the come-back, is a diagnosis no-one wants to hear.
At that point my empathy runs out.
It’s nothing personal. I happen to believe that, had circumstances been different, John Edwards may have made a reasonable president. The problem is that now he won’t.
Americans have this awful habit of rallying round the underdog, the guy in trouble through no fault of his own, the family that has to bear what all families dread bearing. It’s part of American nature, and in some circumstances it’s to be applauded, but this is not one of them.
What is at stake here is the US presidency. No man can be expected to give his all when his wife is dying before his eyes. The presidency demands his all. Particularly now, after eight years of an incompetent in the job. Whoever wins the top prize in 2008 will have his work cut out sorting the mess left behind by the previous incumbent. It requires a degree of focus most of us would jib at; even those of us free of family problems.
However much John Edwards wanted to win the presidency; however much his wife wanted him to be there, the fact remains he cannot do the job when a part of him is preoccupied with his wife’s condition.
It’s not just America at stake here. The whole world relies on the US president to lead and guide it through a political maze of international dilemmas and crises. The present one has failed miserably, creating far more catastrophes than were ever resolved. To render palatable the resultant poisonous stew of international relations will take a very extra-ordinary human being.
Through absolutely no fault of her own, Elizabeth Edwards – because of her cancer – effectively prevents John Edwards from ever being that extra-ordinary.
Filed under: Hand of fate