The Problem With the Edwards Estate

Last week, Carolina Journal took the story of the John Edwards’ Chapel Hill mansion national with a story and picture of the 28,000 square foot house on over 100 acres. Now Michael Medved explains why he finds the Edwards’ estate worthy of scrutiny, including the following.

Has Edwards spoken to his pal Al Gore about his lavish, energy soaking plantation? Anyone calculated the “carbon footprint” of a 29,000 square foot home? Can you imagine how much natural gas or electricity or nuclear power (only kidding) it takes to heat that puppy? Consider the huge contribution to Global Warming (identified by Edwards and all other Democrats as a dire threat to civilization) by chopping down a hundred acres of forest and installing this monstrously excessive residence.

I posted a picture of the Edwards’ estate here last weekend. I didn’t get into the detail Medved did in my thinking about the monster house because I could not get past the political considerations. Here is the thing about that house — it is something everyone can understand. It is not necessary to understand law or public policy or national politics to know that no one needs a house that big. I am all for people enjoying the fruits of their labor, including having a big house and other things beyond their basic needs. But when you are preaching about poverty in America, in fact, basing your entire presidential campaign on that issue, you have to be an idiot to think people won’t find such excess socially insensitive at best. Obnoxious and completely out of touch at worst. There is a difference in having a big house, and having a house that might have been contender for largest house in the state, but for the fact that North Carolina is already home to the largest house in the country, the Biltmore Estate.

It will be hard for even diehard Democrats to ignore the obvious question. How could Edwards be serious about addressing poverty in America if he would choose to spend his vast fortune on his private residence, rather than build a somewhat less monstrous mansion and donate some of the money saved to Habitat for Humanity or another worthy cause that could help the economically disadvantaged? I think that house is going to be a huge political problem for him and the fact that he does not see it as such makes me question his political instincts. Doesn’t he remember that the last Democrat elected President was homeless, for goodness sake?

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