"A Clinton Who Hadn't Read the Books"

More

Sure, Bob Shrum's book is doubtless tendentious and self-serving, but Michael Crowley's excerpts only confirm my abiding distaste for John Edwards, and my abiding mystification at his appeal. I understand that he's made himself over as the standard-bearer for smart lefty ideas of the sort that haven't had many standard-bearers of late, and I suppose that if a Republican candidate went around calling himself the Sam's Club candidate and talking up policies I favor I'd be willing to overlook a lot . But even so, every time I hear him speak I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of smarm - and I don't care whether he told John Kerry about crawling up on the slab with his dead son and vowing to make a difference in the world once, twice, or fifty times; the fact that he would tell the story at all creeps me out. (Particularly since it's of a piece with this bit of repellent mummery.)

But then again, I was also somewhat put off by his decision to stay in the race in spite of his wife's cancer, and the American public decidedly disagrees with me on that score - so maybe my Edwards-hating just shows how out of touch I am. Also, I should note that everyone I've known who's worked on his campaigns says he's the nicest boss imaginable. So maybe it's just a sign of the weird power that Barack Obama exerts over impressionable minds that I can't fathom why any anti-Hillary liberal would opt for Edwards over him.

Update: Speaking of Obama's appeal ...

Jump to comments

Ross Douthat is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down