The XX Factor

Elizabeth Edwards, American Medusa

John Edwards abused his loyal aide Andrew Young beyond reason, making him play gopher during his affair with Rielle Hunter and then convincing him to say the baby was his. And still, in his new tell-all book The Politician , Young is apparently harder on Elizabeth than he is on John. Young is filled with “rancor” toward Elizabeth, one early account says. He paints her as “obsessive” and “paranoid,” a micro-manager who fired staff for petty reasons, held grudges, and constantly left furious voice mails on Young’s wife’s cell phone calling Young a liar and cheater and Hunter a “completely crazy, desperate, pathetic woman.”

Has ever a woman been tortured to such a degree? There must be something to these accounts, since they all sound the same. But they only make me pity her more. Clearly, she was a woman driven to insanity, our own American Medusa, a beautiful maiden transformed by the abuse of men into a poisonous monster. Listen to this conversation between Young and Edwards in the final days of their waning friendship:

“Elizabeth’s taken all my keys.”

“Elizabeth’s taken all your keys?” I wanted to embarrass him by making him explain.

“Yeah, and she’s got me sleeping in the barn. She yells at me all night, and when I sleep she gets in my face and screams.”

Some more revelations:

-Edwards said he would never seek a divorce, because he still loved Elizabeth “in certain ways.”

-John had a private phone for Rielle called the “Batphone.”

-Edwards buys HairTec Thick & Strong Shampoo by the case.

-Hunter employed her own personal guru named “Bob” who was present at her daughter’s birth, and often refused to stay in hotel rooms because they possessed “bad energy.”

-She believed Frances Quinn was “some kind of golden child, the reincarnated spirit of a Buddhist monk who was going to help save the world.”

-Hunter had no health insurance, one of Edwards’ obsessions.

-Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton phoned his wife to say they were sorry about what was happening and to tell her she was in their prayers. Bill Clinton, a veteran of his own sexual disgrace and attempted cover-up, called Edwards and said, in effect, “How’d you get caught?”

Correction, Jan. 28, 2010: This post originally incorrectly called Andrew Young’s book The Candidate .