I grew up in a liberal town in the very un-liberal state of North Carolina. In 1998, when John Edwards busted on the scene and took down Republican stalwart Lauch Faircloth, Edwards instantly became a local hero. For years, I thought he and his wife Elizabeth were the bee’s knees—a loving couple who’d had hard times (the death of a child, her cancer battle) but were still dedicating their lives to making the country a better place. Of course, after the revelation of John Edwards’ affair and subsequent love child, my impression of the couple shifted drastically. But a new book, Game Change, by journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin—which delves not only into the Edwards’ lives but all the major political figures involved in the 2008 election from Obama to Palin—has completely squashed any teenage idolization I had left for the Edwards. If you haven’t already read the excerpt of the book that ran in New York Magazine last week, please do right now. The piece paints John Edwards as both egotistical and delusional, Elizabeth Edwards as a rage-a-holic, and their staff as going to outrageous lengths to cover up their bosses’ exploits. The book even alleges that Edwards’ staffers feared he’d get the Democratic nomination, and that all this dirt would come out during the campaign, basically handing the White House to John McCain.
This interpretation of the Edwards’ lives isn’t going away anytime soon. HBO has just optioned Game Change and will be turning the story into a movie or mini-series. Author Mark Helperin is pretty pumped. And when someone asked him who should play Elizabeth Edwards, he said, “Rosie O’Donnell.” Double yowch. [NY Post]