Last week the Boston Herald, not one of my usual go-to sources for CMM! news, published a report that former Senator John “The Codpiece” Edwards was about to be indicted. The Herald‘s source is the always-reliable National Enquirer, which in turn reports that The Piece’s indictment would likely be for the misdirection of campaign funds 1) to provide a comfortable lifestyle for his videographer turned paramour turned mother of his fifth child and 2) to ensure sufficient hush money to keep his procurer Andrew Young from ratting out the star-crossed cheaters.
While it is also true that earlier this year I stated there is nothing left to say about Edwards, it turns out that I was only half-right. About the indictment I couldn’t care less. Or about the divorce drama that I am certain will ensue. Not even do I care whether Rielle visits him at Club Fed.
No, what makes John Edwards worthy of another mention is not the man himself, but rather his prominent role in the life of Andrew Young, whose The Politician is the worst-written book you won’t be able to stop reading, as it spins a tale in which nobody is likable, nobody is the kind of person you’d want to have a cup of coffee with or even admit you know. You cannot put The Politician down, in spite of the poor quality of the writing. You know what’s coming: juicy revelations about the hash John Edwards has made of his career and his life; an unflattering portrait of his supposedly sainted wife Elizabeth; and TMI about how a powerful man manages to delude himself into thinking he can have a little something on the side without anyone being the wiser. You get all this and more.
You get Andrew Young, whose picture ought to be in the dictionary illustrating the word “hack,” revealing his greed, consuming ambition, and lack of moral compass on every page. Just as you think your opinion of Young cannot sink any lower, you turn a page and once again you learn he has sold a little more of his soul for another raise.
We first meet Young as a newly minted lawyer attracted to politics. Not as an office seeker, for he is “too shy” to speak in public. His attraction, rather, appears to be based on the proximity to raw power the job of a campaign staffer or an office dogsbody would bring him. He gets his chance when he slips into a hotel conference room filled with trial lawyers listening to John Edwards opine. It is love at first sight for Andrew. Just like a teenager with a crush, he hangs around the hotel lobby, successfully ambushing the object of his affection. And from this “chance” meeting grows a beautiful codependency as the two buddies immerse themselves in the fetid swamp of good ole boy politics and puerile shenanigans.
Edwards needs Young to do his dirty work; Young needs Edwards as his meal ticket. Since neither man gives any evidence of having a conscience, it’s a perfect match. What fun these soulless mates have. Illicit rendezvous! Secret cell-phones! Private codes! Imagine the hilarity that ensues when Andrew sneaks Edwards’ gal pal into the family home for a roll in the marital bed that’s half Elizabeth’s, with the Edwards kids, and their babysitter, in the next room. What merry mayhem when Rielle gets trapped in the candidate’s suite and clueless staffers call security to have her ejected.
And through it all, stalwart Andrew tells us that although he hated the deception, it was worth it for the “130 percent” raise. I think this is logic we can all relate to.
Please do click on the link to the Herald report, for it is accompanied by a revealing picture of John Edwards. His piggy eyes squeezed tight, his capped teeth bared in a semi-snarl, the color of his improbable hair looking a tad chemically altered, Edwards reveals the selfish, self-created noxious concoction of deceit and hubris that he is.
If you have a low tolerance for really inferior prose, skip The Politician: it will drive you crazy. If, on the other hand, you can overlook the writing, please do read it because it is as rich with intrigue, hubris, irony, comedy and tragedy as anything you’ll find by Shakespeare.