The much-anticipated interview with former John Edwards’ campaign aide Andrew Young aired on 20/20 on Friday. It’s cringe inducing. It’s gut wrenching. It’s disgusting. And it leaves viewers with the assurance that no major character in this saga of lies is innocent — least of all Young.
Young tries to cast himself in a sympathetic light. He apologies profusely, even while justifying his behavior. He tries to come across as a normal guy caught in a whirlwind political deception that wasn’t his own making. He was a victim, you see, caught between Edwards’ girlfriend and his wife. And anyway, he was only trying to save the world by getting Edwards elected, a delusion that many of Edwards’ campaign workers and supporters apparently shared.
The underlining theme of Young’s story is that he acted in good faith. Yet he agreed to accept cash, gifts, and perks that were nothing more than bribe money in the end. He admits that he and his wife succumbed to greed. But they’re still mired in it. When the cash dried up, he went to a publisher and agreed to throw Edwards under the bus.
Much of what Young says and writes might be true. He’s given sworn testimony to a grand jury. But he’s given us little reason to trust him and lots of reasons not to. The release of his book is one more way to capitalize on the Edwards’ implosion. Young is going wherever the money is.