Opinion

Commentary: What I learned about 'Johnny' Edwards from that GQ interview

Y'all can stop worrying. John Edwards, former senator, former presidential candidate — former everything, really — is all right.

Just ask Rielle Hunter, Edwards' mistress, who in this month's issue of GQ magazine, said, "Everyone talks about how Johnny has fallen from grace. In reality, he's fallen to grace."

Grace? Hmmm. The last time I stepped into what Edwards fell into with Hunter, I ended up throwing away a perfectly swell pair of sneakers. Too much grace on one of them.

Since GQ doesn't have news on the latest line of John Deeres, what type of jars Aunt Bessie should use to preserve her peaches or the pre-pre-season pick to win the ACC next year, it's not the first magazine many of us reach for when standing in line at the Piggly Wiggly.

Not to worry: I read the interview for you. Want to know what you can learn about Edwards and Hunter from the GQ article?

You can learn that one doesn't have to check into the Wing-Wang Motel under an assumed name to have what the Amazing Rhythm Aces called "a third-rate romance and low-rent rendezvous." You can be just as third-rate and low-rent in a chic $400-a-night Manhattan hotel that offers 1,000-count sheets and complimentary Haig & Chadbourne robes.

You can also learn that Edwards, despite his good hair, the good raising he was always touting and the million-dollar legal judgments he won as an attorney, seems for all the world like one of the Jeeters in Erskine Caldwell's classic novel "Tobacco Road" — a book about poor Southerners who scratch every sexual itch they get without regard for consequences.

If Hunter is to be believed — and really, folks, how could you not believe a woman who comports herself with such class — she met Edwards on a New York street corner, said to him, "You're so hot," and had an "extraordinary night" with him that same night.

Unlike the morally indignant people who think Edwards' infidelity alone disqualified him for the presidency, I find other decisions more troubling. For instance, you have to question the judgment — "judgment" my eye: the sanity — of any man who picks the duplicitous, backstabbing book-hawker Andrew Young as his wingman and who instantly has unprotected sex with a stranger he meets on a New York street corner. I don't know about you, fellas, but when a strange woman on a street corner calls me "hot," I assume she's working — as either an undercover cop or an independent contractor.

Hunter, who called the married father with whom she has a daughter "very honest and truthful," said she cautioned Johnny to abandon his run for the presidency because it was — this is her word, not mine — "reckless." Oy.

I've always liked Edwards, thought he'd make a fine president and still think he can redeem himself and make a contribution to humanity. You know, however, that it's time to reassess your decision-making process when the strumpet you meet on a New York street corner and with whom you have unprotected sex calls you reckless — and she's right.

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