Making a Virtue of Vice

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Feb 24, 2010 12:41 PM
Just how starved is the media world for instances of good behavior?

Inexplicably, columnist Jonathan Darman takes to the pages of Newsweek to extol "The Quiet Dignity of Rielle Hunter" (John Edwards' mistress).  Apparently, we are supposed to be impressed because Hunter has not frequented the talk show circuit to defend herself despite the many unflattering comments that have been made about her.

Look, none of us is without sin.  But it's morally perverse to praise a woman who, as Darman himself admits, "insinuated herself" into a family and had an affair with a married man (what's more, one with a cancer-stricken wife and three children).  Should we also admire John Edwards for declining to appear on national television?  Of course not -- what he did was indefensible (and because he was married, worse even than Hunter).  But what Hunter did was indefensible, too.

At risk of appearing cynical, it's tempting to suspect that Hunter is keeping her mouth shut because her foremost priority is becoming the second Mrs. Edwards, and she realizes that a bathetic TV tour is not going to help her cause.

In any case, while it's a waste of time and energy to spend time throwing stones at Hunter and Edwards, I think it's likewise wrong to start trying to make a virtue of vice, as Darman does.  Instead, let's let the twosome languish in well-deserved obscurity, and hope that some privacy will redound to the benefit of their daughter -- who, along with Edwards' other children, are the real victims in this mess.