With Andrew Young’s book, The Politician, now out in paperback, it doesn’t cost as much to get an inside account of how “progressive” politics involving rhetoric about the rich and poor is an absolute fraud. The current White House-generated controversy about tax cuts “for the rich” is an extension of what former Democratic senator and failed presidential candidate John Edwards had tried to master. It is one of the oldest tricks in the progressive playbook.
The progressives believe their path to success lies in Marxist-oriented class warfare. They want to generate envy and jealousy toward people with more money and bigger houses and cars.
Young believed that Edwards was one of the “great progressives” that came out of North Carolina and notes that one of Edwards’ big Hollywood supporters was the actor Danny Glover, who also happens to be an advocate of the Marxist policies of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.
During one appearance with Edwards, Glover said Edwards understood the needs of the working poor and that his campaign for president was “telling their story.” Glover said, “This is a campaign about real democracy.”
Edwards was famous for decrying the existence of “two Americas,” rich and poor. He wanted to cut the rich down to size. In fact, Edwards was himself a rich trial lawyer who received $400 haircuts. He was a complete fraud and an adulterer with a “love child” he didn’t want to admit. Many progressives in addition to Glover were fooled by him.
Young says about Edwards, “As a candidate, he had sold himself to the public as an especially moral, Christian family man.” It worked—for a while, with the help of the liberal media.
The disgraced Edwards repeatedly said, “I’m the son of a millworker,” to emphasize how he was one of “the people.”
Now, the people, in the form of federal authorities, are investigating his campaign financial practices and could bring an indictment against him.
There is also the unresolved matter of the 2006 Edwards sex tape mentioned several times in Young’s book.
In fact, the multi-millionaire Edwards was not only a notorious adulterer but money hungry, to the extent of wanting to supplement his fortune as he was running for president with a salary of $500,000 a year with a hedge fund called Fortress Financial. He got big money for his campaign run from the super-rich and trial lawyers richer than he was.
Remember this was a time when Edwards was vowing to fight a global war on poverty by launching a poverty center.
“As he did with the poverty center, the senator put very little time into his Fortress job, but it allowed him to become an investor in exclusive funds generally closed to newcomers,” Young writes. “He put $16 million into Fortress, which before the economic collapse of 2008 used a variety of creative and controversial schemes to deliver high rates of return.”
He goes on, “If you think that hiring on with a hedge fund that avoided taxes by incorporating offshore accounts conflicted with Edwards’ political concerns about ‘two Americas,’ rich and poor, you aren’t alone.”
Some of Edwards’ speeches about poverty netted him up to $55,000 a piece.
When his baby out of wedlock was born, Edwards wasn’t there, and the child did not have health insurance, Young notes.
One of the funniest examples of the hypocrisy came when Edwards’ wife acquiesced to a plan to get her son a newly-released PlayStation 3 video game system from the local Wal-Mart by dropping the former senator’s name and getting it through special treatment and access. Edwards had been a critic of Wal-Mart’s business practices.
Ordinary people had to wait outside the store, sometimes for many hours, for their chance to get the game.
Wal-Mart blew the whistle, noting in a release that Edwards had tried to jump to the front, “while the rest of America’s working families are waiting patiently in line.”
Edwards was extremely conscious of his looks. “Naturally thick and lustrous, his hair was a fixation with him,” Young writes. “He insisted on using one kind of shampoo—HairTec Thick & Strong Shampoo for fine, Fragile Hair—which Mrs. Edwards bought by the case.”
The problem was that Edwards became perceived to be “actually prettier than his wife,” he says. Perceived by whom?
The insider, however, was an instrumental part of the fraud. And while Andrew Young eventually saw the light about the candidate and blew the whistle, he made a lot of money with his book and has failed to draw some important lessons about the scandal. He, too, was drawn to the money and the power.
One of the most important lessons that he does get right is that the mainstream media were almost completely useless in ferreting out this scandal, and that it was the tabloid National Enquirer that got the goods on Edwards and his mistress, campaign aide Rielle Hunter. As part of the cover-up, Young took the blame, under Edwards’ direction, by issuing a false statement that he was the father.
“In fact,” Young writes about the major media reaction, “if you got your news from the big papers or TV networks, you probably didn’t know a scandal was rumored.” The cover-up was working. The major media refused to believe this progressive champion was a first-rate deceiver.
“I couldn’t see that I had any options but to continue playing John Edwards’ game,” Young says. What about the option of telling the truth about this scoundrel and not covering up for him? What about acting morally? Young seems almost as blind as Edwards.
Finally the truth caught up with Edwards, as the Enquirer pursued him and the major media did not. Eventually, Edwards admitted the child was his.
In the afterword to the paperback edition of his book, Young gets confused, thinking that because the Enquirer pursued his former boss, all of today’s candidates face “extreme scrutiny.” He writes, “The National Enquirer and other media outlets that chase stories about the character of our leaders are doing us a service.”
What other media outlets?
He goes on, “It’s far better for us to find out about a politician’s troubles and deal with them directly. Otherwise, a candidate or public official could be blackmailed by those who know his or her secrets.”
Good point. So why not apply it to other “progressive” candidates?
He proceeds to call for “transparency” about politicians. “If you have skeletons in your closet, clean them out and tell the truth about them,” he says. He then credits Barack Obama for admitting that he had been a drug abuser and so he was “elected president.”
Obama was elected because the financial system collapsed in September 2008 and many voters decided that Mickey Mouse was preferable to the Republicans who had already voted for big bank bailouts under President Bush as a phony solution. Hedge fund managers such as George Soros, a major supporter of Obama, precipitated the crisis by selling short on the housing market.
Obama has still not come clean about (1) the circumstances surrounding his birth, (2) his religion, (3) his relationship with Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis, and (4) his relationship with former communist terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.
These are just a few of the issues he has not been “transparent” about. So the fact that he admitted smoking marijuana and using cocaine is almost beside the point.
The tragedy is that while Edwards has faded into obscurity and reportedly now hangs out at a North Carolina bar and restaurant, another liberal Democrat named Bill Clinton has survived what Young admits was “his own sexual disgrace and attempted cover-up.” Young reports that Clinton had called Edwards to ask, “How’d you get caught”
In other words, the only thing wrong about adultery is getting caught.
Despite being caught lying about a sexual affair with a former White House intern named Monica Lewinsky, Clinton today is considered an elder statesman of the Democratic Party and is much in demand for liberal candidates around the country.
If there were an honest and objective press, he would be described in media reports these days as the disgraced former president.
In regard to Edwards, Young admits watching him tell a “thousand different lies, ostensibly in the service of some greater good,” but finally recognized that the candidate “didn’t care about anyone other than himself” and was “deeply flawed.”
But Young is flawed as well, concluding in his afterword that the major solution to such deception is campaign finance reform.
What we need, quite clearly, are candidates with moral integrity and character.
On the matter of the media, Young says that they should expose candidates’ secrets and secret lives but argues, at the same time, that such scrutiny might drive “good people out of the political arena.”
Young has no answer to this admitted paradox.
The obvious answer is that candidates who act morally and tell the truth do not need to fear the media.
The other important lesson, which Andrew Young desperately avoids, is that while Edwards himself may be gone from the political scene, his phony rhetoric lives on. The current White House attack on “tax cuts for the rich” is proof of that.
Now drinking beers at a North Carolina bar and grill, Edwards must be watching the Obama White House with envy. If not for the fact that his appetite for sex was just as great as his desire for money and power, he might be sitting in the White House today spouting similar rhetoric.
Cliff Kincaid is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and may be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graphic images added by Gulag Bound