The XX Factor

John Edwards: Protective Family Man or Narcissist?

As Jessica mentioned earlier , John Edwards finally admitted what everyone else had already guessed: He fathered Rielle Hunter’s daughter, Frances Quinn. Coming on the heels of Mark McGwire’s announcement that he took steroids and given the superstition that things happen in threes, I can only expect that next week we will learn that Larry Craig really was looking for love in that airport bathroom.

What’s sticking in my craw about the whole story is the statement by Edwards’ friend Harrison Hickman that Edwards had to wait so long to ‘fess up because “[t]here are a lot of adults involved, there are a number of families involved, and there are also a lot of kids involved.” Even now, his political career extinguished and his personal credibility at less than nil, Edwards has to hold up Elizabeth, Rielle, and his various children as shields. He’s blaming the victims! He wanted to protect his kids? Then the right thing to do would have been to get this out of the way a long time ago. His younger children with Elizabeth are 11 and 9. They have been old enough to be aware of the rumors and the news coverage this whole time, and so have their peers, which means that these months-years-of speculation have probably subjected them to a lot of confusion and embarrassment and taunts from other kids. He needed this long to work out child-support payments? He’s a wealthy man. He can afford not only the support but also the lawyers to deal with it. No, I don’t believe for a second that John Edwards was protecting his famil(ies) with his denials and evasions. He was just being narcissistic.

Photograph of John Edwards here and in mantle by Matthew Hinton/AFP/Getty Images.