Sunday, February 15, 2009

More Sinned Against than Sinning?

OK, so Tom Daschle's bowed out of contention for Secretary of Health, Safety and Education, effectively the President's czar in charge of putting together a viable universal health plan for all US citizens - introducing us to the joys of socialised medicine. Concurrent with this responsibility would have also been responsibility for kick-starting a stagnant education system left to rot by the fundamentalist Republicans, who abandoned science to Creationism and the state school system to chartered schools. No child left behind. Yeah, sure.

So Daschle is no more, and various and sundry names are now being bandied about. Caroline Kennedy has been mentioned, no doubt as a sop for the cack-handed attempt on her part and fostered by her family to ensconce her firmly in the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton for the State Department. That's not to say that Ms Kennedy-Schlossberg wouldn't be a good choice. At least, she's had experience lobbying for the needs of the New York City public school system, even if her children received the best private education money could buy.

But there's one name which has been left out of consideration altogether ... John Edwards. Edwards had an absolutely cracking plan for universal health care, viable portions of which were adroitly adopted by both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton when Edwards dropped out of contention for POTUS. He has experience as a legislator and advocate for people regarding safety conditions at work and his children attended local public schools. He's sincere and he was, more than most, an honest politician.

All of the above would be excellent criteria by which he should be judged in being appointed Secretary of DHSE.

But he won't be.

Because of the scandal of the affair from last year. I've lived in Europe for more than 20 years, and lived in Britain at that - probably the most puritanical and repressed of the Western European countries. After all, it was Britain who spewed the puritans amongst us - something from which we're still recovering, albeit slowly. Yet, politicians here, have affairs and are discovered all the time. The French Foreign Minister, over the Christmas holiday, gave birth to a child and still hasn't disclosed the name of the father. (Rumour has it, that the dad is the ex-Socialist Prime Minsiter of Spain). Italian President Berlusconi (a crook if there ever was one) is an avid womaniser, and even managed to become engaged to one woman whilst married to another. The Italians cordially hate him, but because he whiffs of Mafiosi and not because of his social morals. French President Sarkosy is on his third marriage. The current Mme Sarkosy once romped the beds with Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton (but not at once). Can you imagine any of that being tolerated with an American politician?

No. I thought not.

This is why I was so surprised and heartened when the pithy attempt to impeach Bill Clinton was overturned, and Clinton's popularity soared. I thought at last the American people were growing up.

In point of fact, even before I decamped to a Brit husband, I really couldn't have cared less who a President/Senator/Congressman/et al slept with (bar an underage child or an animal), as long as he/she governed her territory well, didn't break the law and listened to and catered for the needs of the people who elected him/her.

It's what's done here. And this is supposed to be 'Old' Europe as opposed to the 'New' World.

John Edwards had one affair in a marriage that's lasted and is still lasting 30+ years. He got caught. His wife forgave him. They've moved on. Together. If his missus can give him the nod, shouldn't the party he's supported and served most of his adult life welcome him back and move on?

I can't think of a better, more able and sincere candidate for Secretary of Health, Safety and Education than John Edwards.

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