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In Defense of Elizabeth Edwards

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Leslie Adler: I want to tell Naila why we should feel sorry for Elizabeth Edwards ...

Elizabeth Edwards

I feel for Elizabeth Edwards because she is being vilified for "letting" John make a presidential run despite knowing about his extramarital affair; for writing a book ("Resilience") that makes public the details of their life and that affair; and now, for doing the talk-show circuit to promote that book and tell her story. Vilified ... by the likes of Maureen Dowd and Tina Brown for "parading" the story of the affair before the public and the Edwards' children ... a story that belongs to her and which she has every right to tell.

I feel sorry for Elizabeth Edwards because powerful, smart women have more to say about her reactions than they do about John's or the "other women's" actions, and because she is responding to those women who, if you are listening, are saying, in essence, "John did what he did and yes that part was public, but the other woman has been 'mum' on the issue and John is not doing the talk-show circuit talking about his affair, so you should be a lady, for the sake of the children, and be mum about it too."

Is anyone else out there outraged about that besides me?

Elizabeth's reactions to the circumstances in her life and her "resilience" are interesting and inspirational to me. And, I am guessing, I am not alone in feeling that way.

Is her book a form of revenge? Did she really write it for her children, as a legacy? I don't care what her motivation is. The woman has suffered the tragic loss of a son, has a chronic incurable cancer that will surely bring death to her door sooner than anyone would like, and her moral presidential-hopeful husband turned out to be neither moral nor a presidential hopeful -- and I think it's a wonder she gets up in the morning ... let alone mothers three children, writes a book, does "Oprah" and the "Today" show, and ... did I mention she undergoes cancer treatment?

So, I feel for Elizabeth Edwards because the likes of Matt Lauer are asking her, "Why didn't you leave John when you found out about the affair?" as if a mother of three fighting cancer has a world of options open to her.

I don't see her calling John a victim like Naila suggested. I just see that no matter what she does, she will be victimized.

next: Meet a Self-Proclaimed Bad Mother
15 comments so far | Post a comment now
Terese May 13, 2009, 9:05 AM

Agreed! She has squarely placed blame on her husband for his actions and lies. She has made it clear he still has an enormous amount of work to do to make amends to her. The fact that she points out the other woman is responsible for her actions isn’t news. We are all responsible for our own actions so why shouldn’t she?

The people attacking Elizabeth Edwards are telling us far more about their own characters than anything they have to say about anyone else.

Naila May 13, 2009, 9:35 AM

Did anyone watch the whole Oprah interview? Miss the part where she justified him holding the other woman’s baby as ” politicians hold alot of babies” and when further pushed by Oprah wouldn’t even confirm that was her husband in the hotel in Los Angeles?
..reeks of just a tiny pit of denial to me…

I am not going to applaud her nor call her courageous for standing by her husband as he denied and lied about the affair. She has every right to fight for her marriage and I feel for her that her husband is such a jerk. If she wants to take to the talk show circut and have people rally around her strength..awesome..but don’t play my common sense for no sense. Yes she is holding her husband accountable..


but the longer she stays in denial about what really happened..the longer she will be sitting in the middle of a mess.
Of course the other woman made poor decisions..SHE WAS THE OTHER WOMAN!! that’s common sense…I am not attacking Elizabeth Edwards, but I wont sit here and say she made any sense to me.

lori May 13, 2009, 9:53 AM

I have alot of empathy for Elizabeth Edwards. She has every right to tell her story. I blame both the low down mistress and sorry scum bag husband not the wife who stood by him for years and raised his kids while dying from cancer. People need to leave this woman alone and let her tell her sde of things.

Artisan May 13, 2009, 9:56 AM

Nalia, It doesn’t have to make any sense to you because in case you haven’t noticed IT’S NOT YOUR LIFE! Get one of your own and maybe you won’t feel the need to spend your time judging others.

Brenda May 13, 2009, 9:59 AM

Naila we get it you don’t like Elizabeth Edwards speaking out but not everyone agrees with you. Some of us do see a woman who’s lost a child and battled cancer twice as resilient and courageous. So what if she’s in denial, how would you feel if you had to hear about your husbands mistress and alleged child in the media? How hurtful that must be for her and yet you would rather berate her for handling a situation in the best way she can.

Annette May 13, 2009, 12:09 PM

People are beating up on Elizabeth Edwards, it is not right. She is a woman and she loves her cheating husband. Love is strong, it make you do stuff, that you would not normally do. She losted a teenaged son to a car accident, she have other kids to raise, her husband cheated on her, she is a poliital wife, she have Stage 4 cancer and she knows that the cancer might shorten her life…She is going thru alot right now..She can not deal with all those issue without making a mistake. John Edwards put her in this position…She is trying to be a Strong woman and push on. She is trying to tell her story while she is still healthier enough to do so!!!

naila May 13, 2009, 12:34 PM

Where did i say I am beating up Elizabeth Edwards? I have much admiration for her and her battle with cancer..I am not judging or standing in judgement of that at all…my piece was NOT about the tragedies that have happened to her..I can’t nor will I try to imagine that article no where said that she didn’t have a right to share her story..
I was talking about what I saw as a denial of where the blame and fault should be!
Amazing to me how people’s own personal issues can turn my view point into an attack on her personal life..I didn’t imply anything..I was very clear with what I saw and stated as such..I didn’t discuss her losses or cancer because that wasn’t the focus.
My article was about the other woman..and the wives that hide their head in the sand preferring to put a bulls eye on the awful other woman. I still say a husband CHOOSES to cheat..If a man is faithful, it wont matter how many moral less women ” throw themselves at him..he will stand by the vows.
Save the tar and feathers….it’s my opinion and I am standing by it.

Barb May 13, 2009, 2:20 PM

I appreciate Elizabeth Edwards telling her story. I don’t condone cheating by any means, but she really helped me understand her point of view when she said she loved him for many reasons, and she’s trying not to let this one thing cancel out all the many other things that are important to her. I had never heard it said like that before, and I’m glad she’s telling her side of things. It’s clear she’s still angry at him (with good reason), but from my perspective, she’s trying to live the rest of her life in a positive way, rather than negative.

Anonymous May 13, 2009, 7:15 PM

My beef with Elizabeth Edwards is not about her decisions to stay with the cad, write a book airing her family’s dirty laundry, her non-resilient, emotionally-unhealthy inability to put things in the past and move forward while trying to give advice to others, but with the fact that she lied to the entire country to further her own selfish ambitions to be first lady, jeopardizing the Democrat party, the election, deceiving people into working for or contributing to John’s campaign—and has YET TO APOLOGIZE to us for that. (Her explanation aka excuses for not shutting it down revealed her own narcissism and denial of reality.) She committed FRAUD. In my book, what she did was even MORE despicable than what John did, because sadly, we expect caddish behavior from politicians, but Elizabeth was the one we trusted. As far as what she’s gone through—I’ve known women who have gone through what she has, and a lot more, but they didn’t put their selfish needs before the country as this one did, they don’t have to plaster their problems all over the place—nope, they show more dignity, more resilience than this pathetic woman ever has. She needs to OWN UP TO HER OWN MISTAKES and APOLOGIZE—if not, she needs to just go away.

Leslie May 13, 2009, 7:41 PM

Naila you are entitled to your opinion no one is denying that. But this article was in defense of Elizabeth Edwards and yet you chose to post more negativity about her. Just like you’ve opened yourself up for possible criticism when you write a blog and describe yourself as a an unmarried single mom pregnant with another child, Elizabeth Edwards is opening up her life for those who want to hear about it. True, you can bash her but Im sure you wouldn’t like if it the momlogic audience was as rude to you about your trials and tribulations.

Naila May 13, 2009, 9:21 PM

Your article seemed to deliberately paint me as someone who was bashing Elizabeth Edwards..the posters here suggest that by stating my own opinion about her handling of the other woman that I am being callous to her other issues.. those were not mentioned..
I write my feelings and opinions not to win friends and audiences but to state how i feel on topics..I expect response just as I don’t expect everyone to agree with me…or my choice to be a single mother with another child on the way…a fact that I am proud of..( which is why i mention it my bio) I am not bashing her Leslie, but I don’t agree..and the only time I respond is when I think my position is mis understood, which it seems to still be.
You took aim at me, and I am responding..I never said you bashed me, although clearly many of your words were inflamatory and what you inferred from my post, not what was stated.
And for the record, I welcome opinions not of my own, being a black, single mother republican..I am used to standing a shade away from the rest..
Plus I grow and learn and when things make sense, I shift, but I will never do so, nor have I done so to appease an audience.

Leslie May 13, 2009, 9:49 PM

Im a different Leslie not the author, sorry for the confusion.

Leslie May 13, 2009, 9:56 PM

The point is Elizabeth Edwards is opening up about a painful experience and if you don’t agree with her thats one thing but to criticize how she handles herself on Oprah or in her book is wrong. She’s dying have some empathy. My other point about you being a single mom is that you maybe you are not the best person to be judging a woman who is choosing to keep her marriage together. You are single by choice or circumstance but Elizabeth Edwards is trying to forgive her husband and rebuild her marriage for the sake of her children before she dies.

Chrissy May 14, 2009, 1:01 AM

Thank you Leslie for writing. I’m pretty sick over the vile being dumped on Elizabeth Edwards .
The pundits who cry family values are bashing a women, dealing with terminal cancer and two small children (one grown) trying to preserve her 30+ year marraige. And other are jumping on the bandwagon as well.
None of us would know what we would do in this situation, and lets be thankful that we will never have to deal with all that Mrs edwards is dealing.

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