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March 22, 2007

Elizabeth Edwards' cancer returns


Elizabeth Edwards, originally uploaded by Lindsay Beyerstein.

Very sad news: Elizabeth Edwards' breast cancer has metastasized to her bones. Doctors say that her condition treatable, but no longer curable. The John and Elizabeth Edwards held a joint press conference to say that the campaign would continue, despite the recurrence of Mrs. Edwards' disease.

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My heart goes out to them. There are no other words to express my sorrow.

It's too bad she's ill; however, this is a shrewdly calculated campaign ploy on Edwards' part, no doubt. Any plaintiff's lawyer worth his salt knows how to exploit an audience's emotions to get attention and sympathy. Running third to Hillary and Obama, he made this announcement in a way that maximizes media coverage. How distasteful. I hope no one falls for this ploy.

How distasteful.

Well, we agree on that much...

Seriously, CatManDu, just shut the fuck up, okay? John Edwards just learned his wife is dying. If your immediate reaction to that news is to try to take a swipe at his candidacy instead of, oh, I don't known, expressing a modicum of human fucking sympathy, then you're a truly horrible person. Nobody here cares what you think.

It's a sad thing, but if E-Edwards is gonna fight hard, I'm happy that she'll be able to help others with her example.

By the way the phrase "originally uploaded" doesn't make much sense. "Photo by / taken by ..." or something similar make sense. I could originally upload an Ansel Adams photo that's never been online but that doesn't convey that I have copyright and ownership.

... Great photo. She has a natural glow.

DJA: Spare me the sanctimony. It is sad news. Still, that doesn't change the fact that he chose to exploit it.

Also, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer reports that she can probably expect to live for years, if not decades, with treatment. And you know that they can afford the best. She isn't dying. But look what's he's done to the news cycle with it.

Yeah, she's got incurable metastasized bone cancer, but Jim Lehrer said she can live with it for years! So it's a-ok to beat up on her husband for telling people about it!

Christ, what a ghoul.

CMD, what do you think he should have done exactly? Cover it up? Let it out quietly and refuse to say anything about it again and again? Honestly, how do you not shrivel up into a little ball of hate with that much cynicism?

well to be fair I plan on voting for the guy and my first reaction was still "well that'll probably boost his numbers"

His campaign could have issued a statement and asked for people to respect her privacy in that regard. Instead, they call a news conference. I may be cynical, but don't think that he didn't calculate how exactly this would be done, and don't think he didn't think about how to use it to benefit his campaign.

Thank you for the ad hominem attacks. It's clear you're all morally superior and mature.

if only terminal heartless tackiness and self-involvement could be treated....

the news about elizabeth's cancer would be public by today, anyway -- that kind of information does not stay secret. they could deal with leaks, do a press release, or stand up and explain what is happening. i have no doubt that assholes would find fault with any route they chose, but it seems to me their approach was factual and honorable.

p.s. -- we are all dying. most of us don't have to think, on a daily basis, about a particular cause that might kill us.

i also want to say, i have tremendous respect for elizabeth edwards as a person. her way is to get the facts and face things. period. she has been straightforward about the loss of her child and her breast cancer.

her approach is healthy. it is damaging to always hide frightening things behind a veil of secrecy, and to make an illness the very definition of a person's whole life. she feels well and will get treatment, she has been actively involved in the campaign so far, and i frankly do not think she would stand for being told to go home and deal with this privately. [john edwards made a remark along those lines, actually.]

I'm a huge admirer of Elizabeth Edwards. She's a political wife but she's also a senior staffer on the Edwards campaign who's really good at her job. It's to the point where I think of them as "The Edwards Campaign," not just "John Edwards for President." The prospect that EE's health might be compromised during the campaign is a big strategic threat to the campaign, not just a source of personal grief for the candidate.

hear you, lindsay. i thought the conference was amazing, really, very straightforward and reassuring. still, anyone who has spent time in cancer-land [personally, or with a loved one] knows that anything can happen. i've known people who managed their disease for years without skipping a beat [even without telling people in one case], and other times it goes differently.

she has some things going for her -- that amazing attitude, the fact she is healthy, that the new cancer was caught early and small, she has excellent care available, that because breast cancer is common there is a lot known and there are a lot of potential options.

the fact something worse might happen doesn't mean it will, though. right now, they anticipate EE might feel tired sometimes. let's say for the sake of argument that she ends up at 50% capacity for some part of the campaign. 50% of EE is still pretty amazing. she is really sharp, very inspiring.

one really can't argue that because she is not in perfect shape, the campaign shouldn't go forward. for one thing, that's not what she wants, and she is feeling great.

you don't have to look very far to find folks in government [or recently in government] who have had significant medical challenges. cheney is a heartbeat from the presidency, and he has had major heart problems. sandra day o'connor had breast cancer; and rehnquist's decision to remain the chief justice even as he battled an aggressive cancer was not challenged.

the fact a contender for first lady has a chronic medical problem that they believe can be managed should not put edwards out of the running. i have no reason to doubt that EE will want to continue her role in the campaign at full strength if possible, or that she will find ways to be enormously useful even if she is operating at a reduced speed.

I admire her, too.

People are talking about Elizabeth Edwards as if her husband were the only decision maker. She is not some passive non-actor here. Frankly, one of the things that gives people the will to fight a massive disease is a sense of purpose, the will to go on. So if you want to criticize someone, don't criticize her husband: treat her like a damn grownup and challenge her for daring to exploit her life-threatening illness. To her face. If you dare. But maybe sick women need to STFU and get back in the kitchen or the sick ward to avoid being considered "distasteful" by some. She's an adult, probably smarter at strategy than her husband, not some plastic-hair politician's mannequin prop.

It's a given that every candidate other than Kucinich will be trying to win every minute of the day; that's what "not being Kucinich" means, trial lawyer or not. I do not see what's distasteful about it. Frankly, I find political suicide distasteful (i.e. Kucinich) and fighting strong in the face of adversity admirable - of both of them.

Viktor Frankl wrote about this most eloquently in Man's Search for Meaning. People who have the right "why" can overcome any "how." She wants her husband to become president of the United States; that's her "why."

bruce, i think frankl's book is my favorite ever.

i wouldn't say that EE wants her husband to be president in the same way that, for example, nancy reagan did. [and i don't think that is what you meant -- EE doesn't do the doe-eyed fawning show wife in designer clothes thing.] i think she'd be dovoted to the cause even if they weren't a loving team after all these years.

he is the closest major candidate we have to a populist who understands and advocates for regular citizens, and i get the sense that sEE is staunchly committed to what his candidacy stands for -- if i'm remembering correctly, she mentioned his candidacy being "bigger than us" or more important, and that is the sense in which i heard her.

I get it now. If pulls out of the race, that means the cancer wins.

She's been dealt a rotten hand, there's no doubt in that.

I remember back in 1991 when Magic Johnson announced that he had HIV. Everyone kind of assumed that he'd be dead soon. But 16 years later, he's still seems like he is fine, living a good life. Magic benefited by rapid advances in medicine.

Maybe Elizabeth Edwards will similarly benefit by new technology, and by a strong family.

I find all talk of politics ugly today in her context. Just now, I heard Hillary saying that she "looks forward to seeing Elizabeth Edwards back on the campaign trail". It gave me a shudder. I don't care if she ever returns to the fucking "campaign trail" again. But I'd like for her to live another two or three or four strong decades more doing -whatever.

Well, I have no opinion about Elizabeth Edwards, and since I don't know her I have no particular feeling about her health, other than vague generic sympathy. But god, is John Edwards a toad. Some of you adore him because of his "two americas" blather. well, I got news for you. He's staking out these positions to the left of Clinton because that's the only possible shot he has to win. If he promises to give every fucking teacher and farmer in Iowa their Christmas wish list, and he gets enough of the Democratic party fuzzy left (the nutty left will vote for Dennis) in a few early primaries, and if the trial lawyers shower money on him, maybe, just maybe John Edwards can be President. Ugh, what a transparent fake. And his career as a lawyer? Cherry picking tort cases based on their payout. His firm took only about 1% of cases that came to them, or were shopped to them by other lawyers. And I won't even try to explain to you people how Edwards' style of law practice actually, net net, harmed poor people in NC.

I met Mrs. Edwards on her book tour, and I was really impressed by her. Her book moved me a lot.

The courageous anonymous asshole who attacked the guy with young children who lost a child for announcing that his wife had an incurable cancer is all upset about ad hominem attacks.

The world constantle amazes me.

Golly. Look what slipped in before my comment.

Did I mention about the world and me?

and your point is?? That I'm an asshole for merely pointing out that Edwards is an unusually unprincipled politician, and that his werkin' man's candidate posture is just that, a posture? Jeepers, at least explain on what basis you judge me rather than just making broad but opaque statements.

Yes. I "attacked" him, if that's what criticism is called these days. I'm sure that no one posting here reveled in the news that Rush Limbaugh had a drug addiction either. Or thought it was a crying shame that Jenna Bush--or her father for that matter--has substance abuse problems.

I, for one, wish Bill Bradley would return to politics. I'd like to have a candidate representing liberal values who is actually worth considering. For all his rhetoric about a working class background, Edwards is an opportunist, as many class action trial lawyers are. I've dealt with several professionally. As Mark says, they tend to cherry pick cases based on potential payout, not on whether they're going to get social justice. They often don't even know anything about their clients, the class representatives. In fact, many of the settlements they reach are of little or no value to the class members (e.g., discount coupons to purchase another defective product, etc.), but they yield millions of dollars in counsel fees. And doesn't Edwards know that property is theft? How many poor children in North Carolina could he feed and educate if he were willing to live more modestly? His wife would make a better candidate than he does.

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