John Edwards. Geez. The Rielle Hunter story was bad enough. Compared to Jim O’Connor in Senator, Edwards acted like a complete clown — and in a presidential race. There is probably an interesting story behind his actions. Why does someone act that crazily? The death of his son? His wife’s cancer? Because he’s been successful all his life and assumes he can get away with it? Because he secretly wants to be uncovered as a fraud?
But the really interesting story belongs to his aide Andrew Young, the guy who initially claimed that he was the father of Rielle Hunter’s baby. Married with young children. A law school graduate. How do you become so invested in another person’s success that you’d do something like that?
In the novel, O’Connor has an aide named Kevin Feeney who somewhat fits the Andrew Young type. Kevin is described thusly:
There are two kinds of Irishmen in politics. There are the conventional hard-drinking ward heeler types, who are attracted to politics because so much of it involves simply sitting around and talking and doing favors for one another. And then there are those who are looking for a cause, who need to submerge themselves in an organization that is greater than themselves. These men don’t want to talk; they want to serve. Kevin is such a man.
In the old country, in another era, Kevin might have been a priest, preaching the Vatican party line about sex and marriage to village maidens, content to have his every thought and belief provided for him from on high. Until lately in America he would have ended up a Democrat, but the times are changing, much to my father’s chagrin. Kevin embraced the conservative philosophy as a young man, and then he embraced me. He was a volunteer in my first campaign, and he immediately made himself indispensable. I gave him a job in the AG’s office, and he has been with me ever since. He seems to disappear into the woodwork for long stretches, rarely speaking at our opinionated staff meetings, but he’s always there when I need him.
But I could never have imagined someone as committed to the cause, and as stupid, as Andrew Young.