Recently, belatedly, John Edwards issued a statement admitting that the child of a former campaign worker was his and that his earlier denials were lies. John Edwards' story of a fall from grace through personal temptation and subsequent loss of a promising political career, and marital breakup is the story of hubris of classical Greek proportions. It also was another striking example from politics of an embarrassing cover up that was worse in many ways than the original offense itself. In this case, a federal investigation of the spending of campaign funds is underway.
Although my blogs are under the heading of crimes of violence and my interest is in the complex motives behind such crimes, this blog is concerned with the motives involved in another form of bad behavior-a well-publicized extramarital affair. This article is an attempt not to excuse but to explain, an attempt to find some rational explanation of why a man who had achieved such national prominence would risk throwing it all away on a seemingly insignificant relationship. To unravel the mystery, let us review from the popular literature and from Elizabeth Edwards' memoir, Resilience, some of the basic facts about Edwards' life:
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