The Magazine

Biden the Boastful

From the Scrapbook.

Apr 2, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 28 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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When we left the saga of former senator, vice presidential candidate, and presidential candidate John Edwards, he was being prosecuted in U.S.A v. Johnny Reid Edwards for using campaign funds to cover up his affair and subsequent love child with bit actress and game show contestant Rielle Hunter. Edwards was aided in this effort by centenarian heiress Rachel “Bunny” Lowe Lambert Lloyd Mellon—who had given him $725,000 that was used to help take care of Hunter and hide her away. The now deceased and notoriously shady trial lawyer Fred “King of Torts” Baron also helped funnel funds to Andrew Young, the former Edwards aide who was taking care of the Hunter situation. Oh, and let’s not forget that Edwards’s wife and the mother of his children was dying of cancer while Edwards was carrying on this affair and trying to hush it up.

At the time Edwards was charged with campaign finance violations last year, The Scrapbook observed, “The moral depravity of John Edwards is seemingly boundless, so expect a few more surprises as the trial gets underway.” Well, betting on Edwards’s moral depravity isn’t exactly going out on a limb. In February we were treated to the headline “ ‘John Edwards Sex Tape’ To Be Destroyed As Part Of Court Settlement” (Huffington Post). It might seem hard to top that, but last week we learned that “John Edwards Denies Reported Link to Soccer Mom Madame’s Service” (Daily Beast). 

If the mainstream media once erected a cordon sanitaire around candidate Edwards while the National Enquirer was left to expose the truth, they sure haven’t been pulling any punches of late. (Of course, that may be only because Edwards’s brazen lies made them look like fools.)

Rielle Hunter was once involved with novelist Jay McInerney, who wrote a roman à clef about their relationship, Story of My Life. The book’s jacket copy described the lead female character as a “postmodern Holly Golightly.” Given last week’s revelations that Edwards may have been patronizing prostitutes, his relationship with Hunter now looks comparatively wholesome.

In the end this is a tragedy, if for no other reason than that Edwards’s children have to live in the shadow of their father’s legacy. But Edwards was right about one thing—there are two Americas. There are those willing to do anything in pursuit of power, and then there are those (more numerous, we hope) who believe that the moral character of leaders does matter.

Gray Eminence

The Scrapbook is always on guard at the intersection of fashion and politics, and often our vigilance pays off. Case in point: The news that ex-governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, now resident in federal prison in Colorado, dyes his hair. And because hair coloring is not an option at that prison, “His hair will turn gray,” says his longtime barber, “like Jay Leno’s.” 

Well, we may not recognize the governor when he finally emerges from stir, but at least we’ll like what we see. Truth be told, The Scrapbook was not shocked to learn that Blagojevich’s lustrous locks had been artificially enhanced: He is, after all, 55 years old. And there is a point beyond which heads of hair without a hint of gray are, shall we say, implausible. 

Nor, should we add, was The Scrapbook ever particularly offended by the luxuriant squirrel’s nest atop the governor’s skull; if Nature has been kind to you, there’s no harm in flaunting your good fortune. Blagojevich always looked to us like a quiz show host, circa 1980, which is not a bad thing. 

We do draw the line, however, somewhere in the precincts of male vanity, and so officially deplore the practice of dyeing hair. Not for actors, necessarily, or magicians, or gigolos; but certainly among public servants. The Scrapbook acknowledges that life is unfair when it comes to hair—why should Dwight D. Eisenhower have been bald while Jimmy Carter is not?—but there is no particular reason to believe that gray hair is a political liability. Some of our most respected statesmen of recent vintage—John McCain, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Robert Gates—have sported gray/white/silver locks, while all the dye in the world never quite rescued Richard M. Nixon from Tricky Dick status. 

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