Saunders: Trial makes the Youngs seem as unsympathetic as John Edwards

bsaunders@newsobserver.comMay 3, 2012 

Over the decades, women’s tears have made me do stuff such as return a purloined purse, stop drinking and perform the Electric Slide in public while wearing a Duke University basketball jersey.

But the tears flowing down Cheri Young’s cheeks as she recounted this week what an ordeal it was for her husband and her to help John Edwards hide his mistress left me unmoved. Remember that 1970 song “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” that goes “I didn’t care how much they cried, no sir: their tears left me cold as a stone”?

That’s how anyone hearing Young’s testimony – or was it testimoney? – must feel. Oh sure, the mere memory of being called upon to deceitfully deposit fat checks into her checking account using her maiden name gets the waterworks flowing years later.

At the time, though, it appears that Cheri and Andrew Young had no problem slicing off some of that Bunny Mellon cheddar to sustain themselves in a lifestyle to which they felt entitled, a lifestyle that included living in a fabulous house in a gated community.

Now, they are trying to help federal prosecutors send Edwards away to a gated community for using campaign funds to hide Rielle Hunter and their bundle of joy.

The main problem with the feds’ case is that the Youngs appear as unsympathetic and duplicitous as Edwards. With a dollop of greed on top.

Avarice is not unique to the Youngs. And to anyone who wants to condemn them for that particular vice, I say – in the words found in the Book of Fred (Sanford, that is) – “Let he who is without sin ... pick up some.”

Lack of patriotism

No, if there are grounds upon which to lambaste the couple, foremost among them would be their treasonous lack of patriotism.

In his tell-all book about Edwards and during his trial testimony, Andy Young said he went along with the deceit because he feared Edwards would have him killed. Cheri Young said the same thing about Edwards’ late wife, Elizabeth.

Yet Cheri Young said, “I didn’t want to be responsible for blowing up the campaign.”

Why the hell not? If they cared anything for America they would have. Had the Youngs pulled back the covers off of Edwards and Hunter – I mean that figuratively, since the couple actually made a sex tape and that’s nothing anyone wants to see – they would have alerted the public to what kind of man was running for the nation’s highest office.

Had they done so, Cheri and Andy Young’s names might today be spoken in the same revered, hallowed tones of great patriots like Betsy Ross and Paul Revere.

Instead, they went along with a scheme that could have resulted in a couple they portray as the political equivalent of Bonnie and Clyde – or perhaps Ma and Pa Barker – ascending to the White House.

Keeping a secret

I’m guessing the true reason they kept quiet and kept depositing those checks was because they knew they could continue sucking on the intoxicating teat of power if Edwards were elected. And they had a dark secret they could use as leverage over the president.

How long into an Edwards presidency do you think it would have been before Andy Young was pounding on the door going “Say, how ’bout an ambassadorship on the Riviera for me and my ol’ lady?”

And they had it on video. Among the items seen in a video the Youngs made in their home, ostensibly to protect themselves but possibly for increased blackmailability, are New Age-y crystals and a list of baby names belonging to Hunter.

Considering that Rielle got herself knocked up by a rich married man running for president who would go to any lengths to hide his indiscretion, she could’ve named the baby “Jackpot.”

And she could’ve named the Youngs godparents.

barry.saunders@newsobserver.com or 919-836-2811

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