Elizabeth Edwards expired today of breast cancer at the age of 61. Here are my thoughts on her passing. I’ve always liked intelligent people that care about public policy, whether I agreed with them or not. You see, I spend nearly every working hour of my life considering the connection between politics and policy. Well, Ms. Edwards thought about policy; you could tell when she spoke that she considered different options and, within her paradigm, was able to articulate her position with poise and humor.

Elizabeth Edwards, seen at a Senate committee hearing on cancer in May, 2008, died from breast cancer at her North Carolina home at 61 on December 7, 2010.  UPI/Patrick D. McDermott/FILE Photo via Newscom

She then got caught up in a maelstrom caused by the disaster that was her spouse, and made some choices which could have caused the nation a lot of harm, and probably turned a number of people off of politics forever. I think that I would have made a different choice than she did. On the other hand, I know a number of women whose husbands made a public mockery of their marriage, but continued to pretend to the outside world that everything was copacetic. So, I sort of have learned to understand women who somehow thought that if they pretended that their husband was not a ‘jerk’, the rest of us would pretend as well. And sometimes we did, until it just became too obvious.

But Elizabeth cared more about policy and understood more about it than the beautiful dolt whom she chose to marry. Once she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she did not hide with her children and her wealth. No, she kept trying to achieve the policy ends that she had spent a great part of her life working to attain. She showed courage and aplomb even though she knew that the rest of her journey in this life would not last as long as she might wish. I know that she positively impacted my life, even though I disagreed with some of her beliefs. But we are a community in this nation, and we are all lesser with her passing.