Commentary

Saunders: Edwards trial offers showcase of vanity

bsaunders@newsobserver.comMay 30, 2012 

You walked into the party like you were walking onto a yacht.

Your hat strategically dipped below one eye, your scarf - it was apricot.

You had one eye in the mirror as you watched yourself gavotte.

Eureka, y’all! One of the enduring mysteries of pop history has now been solved. For four decades, figuring out who Carly Simon was singing about on her song “You’re So Vain (You probably think this song is about you)” has been a parlor guessing game.

Warren Beatty? Mick Jagger? Billy or Franklin Graham?

Nah. It looks like the object of her desire and ire was John Edwards. Watching Edwards stroll into and out of court lo these many weeks, it’s apparent that he thinks this and every song is about him and that the theme from “Shaft” is likely playing in his head as he walks down the courthouse steps.

Oh, sorry: That’s me.

The Edwards trial show, fascinating though it sometimes is, is still not worth the hundreds of thousands, or perhaps millions, of taxpayer dollars being spent to put it on. To all but his most virulent critics, Edwards’ prosecution on nebulous campaign finance violations is a politically inspired knee-capping. And even if he gets convicted and hit with the maximum sentence – about 30 years – we the people will still be slighted.

We paid how much?

That’s why we should all hope the jury deliberates for another two months, so that we have to confront the farcical nature of the proceedings. After the bill hits, say, $15 million, anyone with an ounce of fiscal conscience will have to ask, “We paid that much for this?”

The downside of that is if the jury doesn’t reach a verdict soon, expect the national reporters and photographers covering the trial to start getting even sillier than they have already. So eager are some to believe the worst about Edwards and impute to him impure motives, that the unconfirmed – and uncomfirmable – story that he was flirting with a female juror gained credence.

(Insert barnyard epithet of your choice right here.) As someone who has stood and sat before a few juries, I’ve never had a juror smile at me. Had someone with my future in her hands smiled at me, though, I’d have smiled back – which is what Edwards supposedly did.

No baseball pal

From the calls and letters I’ve read and received on the trial, it’s obvious that many people just don’t like the dude. Even I, someone who thought Edwards really cared about people whom life had dealt a bad hand and who thought he would make a good president, don’t think I’d want to watch a ballgame with him while knocking back some cold ones.

He is not, however, on trial for being so vain, so unlikable or even for cheating on his dying wife with a professionally unaccomplished coquette who wiggled her tight Capris into a lucrative gig as a professional Baby Mama.

The unhurried jury, thank goodness, apparently knows that.

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

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