The Human Filth of Politics, as Conveyed in Two Book Reviews


First, from Janet Maslin's review of Andrew Young's The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards's Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down, in The New York Times:

Mr. Young describes how he; his wife, Cheri; his children; and Mr. Edwards's pregnant girlfriend, Rielle Hunter, all moved in together ("the kids awakened to find a strange lady in the house") while Mr. Young allowed himself to be falsely named as the baby's father-to-be. The Youngs' "unnervingly surreal misadventure" is as strange as science fiction. The people in this uneasy household gathered each week to watch "American Idol" together without noticing that their own drama could out-soap anything television had to offer. […]

[A]fter Mr. Young finagled a way to explain Ms. Hunter's presence in Mr. Edwards's hotel room in Florida and get her out of there unnoticed, he says, Mr. Edwards just looked at him blankly and said: "I don't know what you're talking about. Rielle wasn't in Florida." […]

At first the duplicity was relatively minor. (Mr. Edwards, wearing an Italian suit, commandeered the "Made in America" label from Mr. Young's garment in case it showed while he addressed a labor-union audience.)

I would love John Edwards to be greeted with loud boos wherever he goes, for the rest of his life. Preferably, by children.

Next, from Andrew Ferguson's incisive Weekly Standard review of Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann:

Whether all the stories in Game Change are true or not, we do know that the authors' sources want us to think the stories are true. That's the most revealing datum of all. Game Change is much less interesting for what it says than for what it is—a town dump where awful people can unload unflattering and embarrassing stories about their employers, colleagues, friends, and subordinates, knowing that the stories will never be traced back to them and knowing too that the stories will be published willingly by mainchance reporters and read avidly by a public that loves to have it bucketed all over them. Game Change is an exquisite construction built from betrayal and deceit. It is a precise rendering of the political culture of Washington.