Damn it, John. What were you thinking?
No, I don't mean what were you thinking when you cheated on your wife. It's not like that is an unusual occurrence among the American population. I don't care what you were thinking when you did that. I don't care if she knew. I don't care if you told her right away. I don't care if this isn't the first time. We're all sinners. And you are not the first great man to be brought down by human emotion.
I don't care why you did it. THAT mistake you have to live with. THAT mistake you have to face your wife and children and your God about. Frankly, it's none of my business or anyone else's. You appear, at least publicly, to be married to a saint. So good luck with that.
What you do as a private citizen is your own business. Nobody has the right to pry into that, and even public figures deserve private space. And, to tell the truth, I've stopped being shocked at how people who enter public life think they can get away with peccadilloes. Invincibility, public adoration, it all adds up to a feeling that you won't get caught. I get that. If Jim McGreevey and David Vitter can run for office thinking nobody will discover their private lives, then self-deception is certainly has no regard for party label.
So no, I don't care what you were thinking when you allowed someone who was close to you to get too close. I am not judging your morality. That isn't for me to judge. Or anyone else, for that matter. I am, however, stunned at your timing. I am judging your common sense. At a time you had the hopes of a good portion of America on your shoulders, you shirked it.
I want to know two things. How the hell could you, a man who ran everything through a careful filter, allow that to happen during a political campaign in which so many people had so much riding on you? And what the hell were you thinking when you denied it when asked about it? You're a lawyer. You know that questions keep coming. And nothing delights a cross-examiner like a false answer. So, tell me, Senator. What the hell?
The private feelings and actions of people in their sex lives don't amount to a hill of beans in politics, even though they may amount to EVERYTHING in their private realms. So, it shouldn't matter, EXCEPT to the extent that how you deal with that information is revealing of your decision making - what you do in a crisis. We have a President who deals with unhelpful information by denying its existence. Not sure we need another one.
This is painful for me to write. Truly. Nobody who reads this can deny that this comes from the heart. Anyone who has read this blog or the DailyKos for the last six years will know what this whole story costs me.
I believe in you as a political thinker, as the most gifted natural orator I have ever seen. I gave six years of every spare moment of my professional life to get you elected President. When I handed my son to you and then begged the N&O photogropher to send me this picture:
I knew I was getting a memento to be passed from father to son for generations. Proof to my son and his son that good people went into politics.
The night I stood in Boston and took this picture:
as the party I loved gave the nomination for Vice President of the United States to my fellow member of the Wake County Bar, was the greatest night of my political life. You, and your promise, your hope, redeemed the American political process for me. Frankly, that's why I spent the night after the election in 2004 wrapped in a fetal position around a bottle of Jack Daniels. They had almost killed that hope.
But in 2007, you started to rekindle it. No other politician in America has expressed what truly, truly needs to be done in this country the way you have. No other politician identified the despair, inequity and division that is killing our politics and our society. You talked about the elephants in the room. And, lo and behold, people listened. You didn't win, but you made them talk about the right things.
All of that -- All of it -- Can now be dismissed by the smirks and giggles of the cackling jackasses who would rather our system fail, who would rather government fail its citizens than serve them. The same people who support the current regime as it leads us into the gaping maw of hell, regardless of morality or truth.
They will, of course, use this to destroy you. It won't matter that their leaders treat torture like a fraternity prank. It won't matter that fundamental ideas of the freedom of individuals from tyranny and oppression have been cast aside like dirty napkins. It won't matter, because they'll ask how many girlfriends you have in that big house. And they'll laugh. And nobody will listen.
It won't matter that the next President will probably enact your health care plan. It won't matter that the poverty about which you spoke so eloquently will continue to devour this country until it is dealt with. It won't matter that only you chose to address the ongoing genocides in West Africa and to condemn the laissez-faire attitude that lets Americans continue to live their lives blissfully unaware of the deaths of 9 year old soldiers in jungles a half a world away. t won't matter because they'll be able to finish it with a big "yeah, but....". And nobody will care.
It won't matter because now you've given them something to hit you with.
I feel like I'm talking to a brother. I can see the promise, but be disappointed as hell in how you just acted. I can love you, forgive you, but still be brokenhearted at the waste of it all.
So understand me when I ask this question. It comes from the heart. It comes from someone who was quite willing to lay down in front of a bus for you and your campaign.
Think about it. All of it. Think about it for a long time.
Damn it, John.