(below) Elizabeth and John Edwards...united on the campaign trail!
Newsweek Magazine writer Jonathan Darman has written an article about Rielle Hunter (aka Lisa Druck), John Edwards' mistress. He had met her early on, before there was any speculation of an affair. The article is interesting for the portrait it gives of this mystery lady who lured John into cheating on his wife. Below are a few excerpts from the article that I find most telling:
I struck up a conversation with the woman at the next event, as we waited outside. She told me her name and asked me what my astrological sign was, which I thought was a little unusual. I told her. She smiled, and began telling me her life story: how she was working as a documentary-film maker, living with a friend in South Orange, N.J., but how she'd previously had "many lives." She'd worked, she said, as an actress and as a spiritual adviser. She was fiercely devoted to astrology and New Age spirituality. She'd been a New York party girl, she'd been married and divorced, she'd been a seeker and a teacher and was a firm believer in the power of truth.
Okay...so, she's a former party girl who became a flaky New Age practitioner and claims to be a spiritual advisor interested in "the power of truth." What a crock! I'm saying this as a guy who is interested in some "New Agey" spiritual ideas. One of my biggest complaints about "the New Age movement" are the huge numbers of flaky people who fall into the "spiritual but not religious" category. I think the two go hand in hand, unfortunately. If Hunter was sincerely interested in the power of truth and a spiritual advisor, why would she get involved with a married man whose wife was recovering from cancer? She has no integrity at all and I find it deeply offensive that she claims to be a "spiritual advisor." Doesn't she understand the karmic implications of getting involved in someone else's marital relationship? She's the worst kind of New Age flake imagineable and anyone who seeks her out for "spiritual advice" hasn't a clue about authentic spirituality.
Her latest project was John Edwards. Edwards, she said, was an old soul who had barely tapped into any of his potential. The real John Edwards, she believed, was a brilliant, generous, giving man who was driven by competing impulses—to feed his ego and serve the world. If he could only tap into his heart more, and use his head less, he had the power to be a "transformational leader" on par with Gandhi and Martin Luther King. "He has the power to change the world," she said.
Sounds to me like she's a star-struck teenager. Edwards came across as a phony. I thought it was interesting in 2000 that even though he made Gore's short list of Vice Presidential picks, Gore supposedly said something about how looks and a lot of money can buy a Senate seat but he didn't see much substance beyond that. Maybe Gore also found him to be a shallow phony? In his single Senate term, Edwards voted for the USA PATRIOT Act and the Iraq War. His most notable moment happened in the 2004 presidential election cycle when he received wide acclaim for his "Two Americas" speech. After the electoral defeat, his Senate term ended in January 2005 and he devoted his time to fighting poverty with a non-profit organization he founded as a way for him to keep himself viable for another run at the presidency, since he no longer held political office. I also thought he was trying to channel Robert F. Kennedy, but as the late Senator Lloyd Bentsen might say of Edwards: "You are no Robert Kennedy!"
For someone who claims to be passionate about ending poverty in America, his actions did not show it. He already lived in a large house, but after 2004, he moved into a new 28,000 foot mega-mansion that is supposedly across the road from a trailer park (flaunt your wealth in front of poor folks!). Then there was the $400 haircut, which is a slap in the face to the people he claims to want to help. Who pays $400 for a haircut? It was a very Marie Antoinette thing to do. When people are having to choose between buying medication or pay their heating bill, or the dilemma of buying food or filling up the gas tank, $400 is a lot of money. What does it say about a person who claims to be passionate about eradicating poverty, yet acts like the spoiled and thoughtless wealthy asshole that he truly is?
This New Age flake thinks Edwards has the potential to be the next Gandhi or Dr. King? She really knows how to stoke his ego (among other things)! Gandhi lived in poverty to be close to the people he wanted to help while Dr. King was willing to go to jail many times for what he believed in. What is Edwards willing to sacrifice to show some serious commitment to ending poverty? Mega-mansions and pricey haircuts are a dead-giveaway that he's a phony who hoped to be seen as the next incarnation of Bobby Kennedy. It's a good thing that most voters didn't buy into that false image. Interesting that Hillary hanger-ons are now angry about the revelations, thinking that had this info come out before the Iowa Caucus, Hillary would have won and now be the nominee. Um...have they forgotten that Obama WON Iowa and Edwards came in second?
At lunch at the Soho House in late spring of '07, Rielle told me that she and novelist Jay McInerney were working on a "genius" idea for a television show about women who help men get out of failing marriages by having affairs with them. She said they wanted to pitch this idea to Darren Star, creator of "Melrose Place" and "Sex and the City."
So, the truth about Hunter comes out. She's a phony too (no surprise). What a concept! She sees herself as a savior, rescuing men out of "failing" marriages by having an affair with him. I bet she was motivated purely by looks, as she probably wondered why someone who looks like him would still be married to a woman who looks her age. She needs to understand that marriage is more than just about looks. John and Elizabeth have a thirty year history. Their marriage certainly didn't look like it was failing. Hunter is an interloper who wants the Edwards marriage to fail so she can get her prize. She's every bit as narcissistic and egotistical as John admitted himself to be.
I think Rielle Hunter would fit in well in Hollywood (John did recently pay a visit to her Beverly Hills hotel room). Only in Hollywood would you have a convergence of convenient spirituality (Scientology, Kabbalah, Deepak Chopra, and other assorted New Agey faux-religions), designed for narcissitic people who don't want the responsibility and challenges of living authentic lives. Hollywood values are about indulging your passions. If you desire someone and they happen to be married to someone else, you don't let that minor inconvenience stop you from getting what you want. Nothing is sacred, no relationship, no personal integrity. It's all about you.
It's a shame that Hunter's "New Age" spiritual beliefs is going to be one more example of the flakiness inherent in that spiritual catch-all category. When I investigate New Age spiritual ideas, I do it with my feet firmly rooted in my Christian heritage and don't abandon my values. It's unfortunate that others have no moral grounding. At least we have Jesus' warning about how to spot charlatans: by looking at the fruit of their actions. Because of that, I wasn't fooled by Edwards phony concern for the poor nor am I fooled by any New Age-practitioner who acts like a hormonal teenage groupie wanting to have her idol's baby for a souvenir of a great affair.