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Elizabeth Edwards: Should Be Remembered for Political Legacy Over Personal Tragedy

Too often people hit by tragedy are remembered more for what was done to them instead of what they’ve done.  The tribulations of life often shape us, but they are never the full picture of who we are.  There is no doubt Elizabeth Edwards, who passed away yesterday after her battle with cancer, was a person hit hard in life multiple times and in a variety of ways.  But Edwards has a much larger legacy in shaping our country the last few years than most realize.  Obviously those on the Right don’t like the results, but she deserves her due for accomplishing so much of what she devoted her life to.

Every article on Edwards passing has given ample focus to the trials the wife of Senator John Edwards faced.  Earlier in life her 16-year-old son died in a car accident.  She helped her husband fight losing battles for both the Vice Presidency and the Presidency.  Later in life she beat breast cancer only to have it come back in an unbeatable form.  And in the midst of her husband losing his second bid for president, and finding out she had incurable cancer, the whole world found out that her husband had an affair and a child from that scandalous relationship.

Obviously all those events loomed large in Mrs. Edwards life, but her politically active accomplishments are mostly unheralded or even unrealized.  I say with absolute certainty that Elizabeth Edwards was one of the main drives behind our government’s push toward a more so-called progressive agenda.  The workings of Obama-Pelosi-Reid found much of its footing because of previous foot work done by Edwards.

John Edwards had no interest in politics leading up to his Senate bid in 1998.  In fact, he often didn’t vote in elections.  Elizabeth was the one that not only pointed him that way, but she was one of his key advisers in that election – along with his presidential runs in 2004 and 2008.  She helped shape Edwards campaign and views.

In both Presidential Democrat Primaries John Edwards was the one known for pulling others to the Left.  He was often the only major candidate pushing for universal healthcare and talking of two Americas, the haves and the have nots.  After Bill Clinton’s success most Dems wanted to come off as moderate, but John Edwards pushed them all more and more towards so-called liberal issues.  He pushed them, but it was Elizabeth who was pushing John.

Elizabeth was always more on the Left than her husband John.  She was for gay marriage when he was against it.  She was against the Iraq War before he was speaking out against it.  She promoted universal healthcare before he considered it.  Elizabeth Edwards nudged her husband to the left and he in turn nudged his party to the left.  It suddenly became okay to be called progressive and liberal.  Obama would later find a smoother path toward leftward policies thanks to Elizabeth Edwards.

Barack Obama and others on the Left recognized Elizabeth Edwards’ ability to help drive progressive policies.  In June 2008 she officially became an adviser to presidential candidate Obama on healthcare issues.  And she would also become a senior fellow in the leftist think tank, Center for American Progress.

The Center for American Progress has been described as “the most influential organization advising” the Obama administration.  It is funded by George Soros and Bloomberg news called it the ” intellectual wellspring for Democratic policy proposals, including many that are shaping the agenda of the new Obama administration.”  Elizabeth Edwards was not only a senior fellow in the organization but also testified to congress about healthcare on their behalf.

Think of that.  Obama’s biggest progressive victory is Obamacare.  It was helped shaped by Edwards and she is the one that promoted it effectively to congress.

Elizabeth Edwards’ views are opposite of mine and other conservatives in so many ways, but she deserves credit for her legacy even if we don’t politically like it.  She was clearly a resilient and effective woman of strength.  And I think it’s okay to completely disagree with her positions but still respect the woman for fighting her fight and finishing her race.


Paul Cooper is a husband and father above all else.  With a wife and 2 daughters he could use a dog, but sadly he only owns a cat – a female cat no less.  Paul is also a pastor, blogger, and business owner.  Find him on Twitter.

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