Recent events remind us, again, of the dangers of believing that public figures ever live out that sort of fairy tale. To reach the highest levels of politics, sports, or entertainment in our world requires an insane level of ambition, and it rarely turns out that people with that level of ambition are particularly admirable in how they carry on their personal lives.
It wasn’t just that Elizabeth Edwards — who looked considerably older than her eternally baby-faced husband — was a woman they admired and believed in.
Her story made them believe something good about themselves. It was a kind of Everywoman’s fable: behind the imperfect physical shell, a gem of inner beauty resides. And is loved and recognized.
This story was a dream come true for many women. “I like that he’s got a fat wife,” a woman in a focus group told an Edwards pollster in his 1998 Senate race, as recounted in Game Change. “I thought he’d be married to a Barbie or a cheerleader.”
If it was thus for Elizabeth Edwards, there was hope for us all.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
I despised John Edwards from the moment he first stepped into the political spotlight, and I never thought much of his wife, either. But Elizabeth Edwards became a sort of hero for many women, and, I think, she was big part of her slimy husband's impressive runs for the Presidency in 2004 and 2008. I always had a nagging suspicion that women liked her because she, a smart but ordinary-looking woman, managed to marry such a handsome golden boy, and they liked her husband better because he married a less beautiful woman than he might have. Now I see that the NY Times agrees: