What kind of spoilsport wouldn’t enjoy watching John Edwards (should he change his name to Jonathan Edwards?) in his latest incarnation as a faith healer?

As somebody observed of Dickens’ novel “Little Nell and the Old Curiosity Shop,” you’d have to have a heart of stone to read it and not laugh out loud. Lucianne Goldberg describes Edward’s new faith healer mode as “Breck boy goes Jimmy Swaggart.”

Here’s “Snake Oil” Edwards’ quote:

“When John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.”

There’s a hilarious picture of Edwards in his “be he-aled” pose on the Drudge Report. (I can make fun of the accent–I have one, too.)

But before I choke laughing, I want to point out that what Edwards is doing here really isn’t that funny. He is raising false hopes among people who have already had enough in the way of hard knocks. This is incredibly cruel or just plain ignorant, take your pick.

“Many scientists see stem cells as a potential cure for a host of diseases,” the New York Post reports today. “None, however, has claimed, as Edwards did, that paralyzed people could walk again in just a few years.”

The article quotes Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist–who is a doctor–calling Snake Oil’s assertion “shameful” and “a falsehood.”

“They’re trying to shamefully use the death of people like Christopher Reeve to promote falsehood and dishonesty,” Frist said. “To me it’s crass and opportunistic. It’s giving false hope to people.”
Frist, who is an important Bush ally, told the newspaper that there are 120 to 140 stem-cell therapies now in use for paralyzed people and that all involve adult-type cells from bone marrow and none involves stem cells.
Still, you have to admit “Vote for Me and Be Healed” is one of the most original slogans in U.S. political history.