Tuesday, March 27, 2007

No Cure for Cancer

What the fuck is going on with Katie Couric? When did she become a total nutbar?

[John] Edwards, 53, admitted that he'd "been focused on Elizabeth and the family,'' since he and his wife found last week that the cancer that had been in remission since 2004 had now spread to her bones.

In an interview Sunday on CBS' "60 Minutes,'' correspondent Katie Couric suggested to Edwards that people could view his decision to continue running for president in the face of his wife's illness as either callousness or "insatiable ambition.''

Those are tough questions, Edwards said, looking tired this morning in his conversation with Bay Area reporters, but Couric "asked the questions American people are asking themselves. The American people deserve answers from me and Elizabeth.''

That's John, gracious as usual. But this is some pretty ugly business. Going after a candidate for President because his wife has cancer?

And, yes, this is definitely Katie going after Edwards. She tries to pull a Hannity, to float the topic as a secondary source. "You know, Alan, some have said that Hillary Clinton met her husband Bill while working at a Tijuana donkey show. What are your thoughts on this development?"

The ol' "some have said" maneuver. Same move here. "Some may think about perceiving you as callous." I mean, Katie, either you're suggesting that he's callous or you're not. This "some people may interpret..." bullshit is just a diversionary tactic meant to throw off the incredibly stupid. They will, of course, eventually come to believe that this is their own idea formed rationally within their own heads.

"Hey, I just realized that I view John Edwards' decision to continue running for president in the face of his wife's illness as either callousness or 'insatiable ambition!' I am really insightful, isn't I?"

If anything, I think Katie should have to explain this concept that she pre-supposes some voters will eventually settle upon. How exactly does Elizabeth Edwards helping her husband campaign reflect any callousness on his part? Is there any reason to believe he is coercing her into helping him out?

I mean, okay, if she had a terrible case of the flu, and he was dragging her all around town kissing hands and shaking babies, fine, then I could understand the argument. "Hey, that asshole's making his wife run around town kissing hands and shaking babies, when she should be home in bed sipping delicious fresh-squeezed orange juice and watching The Price is Right."

Fair enough. But Elizabeth Edwards isn't ever going to get better. (I'm sorry to be blunt, and I feel terribly for them both, and find their actions of the past few weeks more than a little heroic, but that's the long and the short of her condition. It's terminal.) I think there's ever reason to believe she and her husband sat down and had a serious discussion about how they would spend the rest of her life. And they settled upon "campaign for the American presidency." Most terminal patients have to settle for much less excitement in their final months/years. It could be worse.

So, okay...What does that have to do with callousness? A "serious" couple would spend their final years together (and Elizabeth could potentially live for 5-7 years by most estimates) sitting in a darkened room waiting for the end to come? Curling up in the fetal position and quietly sobbing? Life goes on, even if your cells have gone rogue and turned on you. I mean, shit, this critique just doesn't make any sense at all.

And "insatiable ambition"? Is that anything like "unbridled enthusiasm"? Because, you know, that's what led to Billy Mumphry's downfall.

Seriously, though, anyone who is running for President is ambitious. Unambitious people don't run for President. Some of our best Presidents have been our most ambitious, starting with our first, who led a ragtag, half-equipped army against one of the greatest Colonial armies ever amassed! But he would have given it all up if Martha developed a nasty case of gout! Believe you me! To think otherwise would be exceptionally callous and even gauche by Katie Couric's genteel standards.

Oh, excuse me...By the standards of the hypothetical people Katie Couric has conjured for the purpose of humiliating John Edwards and kickstarting a nasty right-wing meme. Way to go, America's Sweetheart!

Also, I should add that the phrase "insatiable ambition" is pretty meaningless. If you achieve your goal, you would then cease to be ambitious. Therefore, all ambition is insatiable, by definition. If John Edwards wants to be President in any way, shape or form, this is an ambition that will be insatiable until such time as he becomes President, at which point he will no longer have ambition to be President. He will be President.

Now, if Katie means that campaigning along with his Cancer Wife reflects John's deep-down authoritarian Will to Power, an "insatiable" drive to conquer all that he surveys, then once again, I'm afraid I don't follow.


kathylenhardt said...

At least I haven't seen anywhere that anyone is wishing for her rapid demise, as they're doing with Snow.

The Edwardses say that Mrs. Edwards gets strength from campaigning. If that's the case, then that's what she should be doing! In any case, it's their decision, and everyone else should just shut up.

Lons said...

I agree that her decision to campaign is her own and no one else's...

But I don't get what you mean with the Tony Snow thing. I haven't read anyone actively hoping he dies.

If I did, though, I'd imagine it would be based on his anger over his past actions and statements, not just some dirty Lefty desire to watch enemies suffer.

I mean, I don't think denying the existence of systemic racism and actively backing the worst president in American history NECESSARILY means you deserve to die, but a case COULD THEORETICALLY be made. Elizabeth Edwards is merely married to a candidate and has done nothing to specifically engender animosity. So the two scenarios aren't really analagous.

By the way, my mom (who teaches elementary school in OC) was curious where you're teaching now, if that is, you're still teaching. She hasn't seen you around the IUSD lately...

kathylenhardt said...

Whoa. While I was looking for links to post, I did see a not-nice comment about Mrs. Edwards, so now I'm just disgusted with everyone again. There was also a blog that stated that "wildly inappropriate" comments about Snow had been removed. I do understand why people would see him as more of a target than Mrs. Edwards, but I'm coming from a place where, as a 10-year-old expressing a wish for De Gaulle's death, my mother railed at me like she never had before nor since about never wishing death on anyone. I can't say I don't feel it inside occasionally, but at least I've been taught to have the class to keep it to myself.

I quit teaching about 3 years ago; the system was driving me crazy. Just today, however, I looked over the web site of a charter school in San Pedro. I think I've decided to send them my resume.