Secret tapes show that John Edwards claimed he had an affair in order to cover up his homosexuality.
The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, August 8, 2008. This blog post also appeared on Stanton's Addiction in Society blog at PsychologyToday.com.
Edwards Reveals Affair in Order to Cover Up Homosexuality
John Edwards, God-fearing, family-oriented, losing Democratic presidential hopeful, today revealed he had had an affair with a woman, Rielle Hunter, which he had repeatedly denied.
However, Edwards claims he did not father Hunter's child. Commentators were thus puzzled by the timing of Edwards' revelation - why disclose the affair now, while his wife is battling cancer, when he is not being considered for the vice presidency, and when Hunter had shown no signs of disclosing the liaison.
But a secret tape recording of a strategy meeting among Edwards and his key advisors explains his supposed admission.
Edwards: I understand someone is going to disclose my homosexuality. (Edwards, a God-fearing, Christian candidate, has steadfastly opposed homosexual marriage.)
Advisor 1: You mean, everyone didn't know that already when they found out you spent $500 at a beauty salon? What straight guy pays that much to get a haircut? (See You tube Edwards "I Feel Pretty" clip, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AE847UXu3Q)
Edwards: Yeah, but what are we going to do about that? Then everyone will know that my marriage to Elizabeth is simply one of convenience, and my kids are stage props for my election campaigns.
Advisor 2: I've got it - just tell everyone you had an affair with that Hunter woman! She IS a woman, right? Pay her off not to deny it - I understand she's a single mother and "novice" filmmaker, so she can sure use some dough.
[Note: This is NOT a real conversation -- it's farcical -- I made it up wholecloth]
Interestingly, whichever way Edwards' hypocrisy cuts, his situation answers the age-old question, "Is it just religious conservative politicians who are hypocrites?" Apparently not - all religious politicians are hypocrites. As is typical of such confessions, Edwards announced that he had been "99% honest," after previously claiming media reports about the liaison were "lies." He said he would refuse to say anything more about his affair, despite making a midnight hotel visit to see Hunter recently. He also swore he gave her no money, although reports are that supporters have paid her off handsomely.
Wife Elizabeth, meanwhile, is standing by her man, and requesting that their family's privacy be respected, despite Edwards placing his family at the center of his campaign. No one can fault a woman combating potentially terminal cancer anything, but we must wonder about a family dynamic where Edwards relies on his wife's illness for sympathy while cheating on her.
Uh-oh - isn't Barack Obama religious?
[Psychological note: Some readers complain this post isn't psychological, although I think it is psychological through and through. Let me express exactly what I think is happening with Edwards. An ardent Christian, he has suppressed his ambiguous sexuality throughout his life, and married a sexually non-challenging woman. When confronted with a younger woman who found him sexually attractive (see You Tube clip in which Hunter gushes about Edwards http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFg2Qhst1t8), he was knocked off his pins (see You Tube clip by Hunter where Edwards giggles and boasts like a school boy to her http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WY768bAO2l8). He had no defense against such emotions, along with simply feeling the power of being a politician. Presto -- a brief affair which was only secondarily sexual.]