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August 11, 2008
Edwards sex scandal enrages Huffington Post's female pundits
Over at the lefty Huffington Post, John Edwards' confession of being a cheat has, interestingly, provoked fury among some of the gal pundits. They're mercilessly trashing the pretty boy populist -- spitting a toxic venom that even their like-minded male counterparts cannot match. Some, incredibly, are even digging their nails into Edwards' wife Elizabeth (who is battling cancer) for having aided and abetted her husband's public lies.
What's going on?
Could these ladies be writing with some deeper understanding of the issues at play, perhaps having suffered, like so many American women, at the hands of philandering boyfriends or spouses? According to one survey, 50 to 60 percent of married men have broken their marriage vows -- compared to 45 to 50 percent of women. Perhaps the columnists are subconsciously tapping into their outrage over the humiliation that their sister, Hillary, suffered in the White House.
However, perhaps their outrage underscores something really profound: Yes, America is in the midst of a culture war -- but marital infidelity, it seems, is definitely not an issue that any longer divides many Republican and Democratic women -- if it ever did. Indeed, none of the Edwards-hating Huffington Post lefties reveals a trace of the sophisticated "European attitude" about cheating husbands: the belief that flawed marriages with wandering men are not a big deal, even with all the lies (both public and private) that usually go along with keeping mistresses and fathering "love" children.
"What a C.R.E.E.P" declares columnist Nancy Snow, sniffing that the Edwards scandal distracted her from writing about the Olympics. "Now the 300 million dollar extravaganza in Beijing will have to wait as I contemplate the rise and fall of the 400 dollar haircut man."
"Infidelity affects the daily rhythm of life," columnist Jill Brooke thoughtfully observed, before letting loose some choice words: "It's easy for many women to say, 'I'd dump the bastard,' until it actually happens to them."
"Imagine being Elizabeth Edwards," she wrote. "Not only is she battling terminal cancer, but she now must muster the strength to deal with the news that her husband had an affair with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter."
And then there's Bonnie Fuller, whose column is perhaps the most perceptive of the lot:
On the other hand, there's Jane Smiley: Parting company with her sister columnists, her column argues that the that the sex scandal is much ado about nothing. After all, there are things "a lot worse than adultery," such as "denying people health care, swindling the taxpayer, starting an unnecessary war by forging documents and lying, and stealing the oil belonging to other nations..."
Yet Smiley in her way reveals some feminine outrage, too, observing that she'd "never thought adultery was a big deal in the abstract, because, as we all know, I am a liberal..." Well, Ms. Smiley, if adultery is not a big deal in the "abstract," what might it be like if it really did happen to you? And interestingly, Smiley's not-to-worry conclusion is out of sync with her column's title: "Hiding the Scumbag."
Regarding Edwards' wife, Fuller offers these trenchant observations:
The title of Fuller's column: "Elizabeth Edwards Drank Her Husband's Kool-Aid And Became his 'Ambition Enabler.'"
As for Arianna Huffington, she endeavors to look at the big picture:
Well, it's interesting that telling the truth, in this context, is now so important for Huffington, one of the left's de facto spokespersons. This criterion, after all, was not one that most Democrats (including women in the party) used to judge Bill Clinton when his cheating scandal broke; and nor was it a criteria Democrats applied to Clinton when he was running for office and was known, at the time, to be a serial philander, and lier, in respect to his womanizing in Arkansas.
Could it possibly be that Huffington, a native of Greece who lived for years in Europe, has shed some of her sophisticated views about such things, too?
All in all, it will be interesting to see if the gal pundits on the conservative side of the fence muster as much venom over Edwards martial infidelity as the lefties at the Huffington Post.
David Paulin blogs at The Big Carnival.