When loyalty to a boss goes way too far

AP images/Andrew Young (left); John Edwards (right)AP images/Andrew Young (left); John Edwards (right)John Edwards' political career may be over, but the volumes written about the mess he made out of an opportunity-filled life, as well as the stunning betrayal of his wife and his supporters, are not yet all published. The latest tell-all to hit the book stores will come from Andrew Young, Edwards' longtime aide best known for taking falling on a political sword to new depths.

In a move not believable in the most cliché soap opera script, Young said he was the father of Rielle Hunter's baby. It was, we now know, a bizarre, desperate attempt to divert speculation about Edwards' affair with Hunter and whether he is the baby's father. Why would Young jeopardize his marriage, ruin his reputation and his family's peace to do something so self-damaging--all out of loyalty to his boss? Politico paints a strange, sad story of a bromance/idol worship/an extreme example of a political sycophant gone batty--take your pick. Young did everything from pick up Edwards at the airport, keep him in a steady supply of Diet Cokes, plan family Disney vacations, keep the Edwards' fridge stocked upon return from vacations, the lawn cut, and the dry cleaning neatly folded. Oh, and lie about being the father of Edwards' mistress' baby.

Elizabeth Edwards referred to Young, Politico writes, in her memoir, "Resilience:"

" 'In months of talking with [John Edwards], I have come to understand his liaison with this woman, if I have, not as a substitute for me. It was more like his relationship with a former staff member,' she wrote. She described an 'obsessed' and 'overbearing' young volunteer who 'volunteered for everything, making himself indispensable,' taking care of cars and dry cleaning - an unmistakable portrait, people close to her say, of Young."

He held some more important positions on Edwards' staff besides gofer, serving as his scheduler in his Washington Senate office, and later, after he was sent back to North Carolina, he worked as director of operations for Edwards's 2004 presidential bid, setting up offices across the country. But it was after Edwards' affair with Hunter began in 2006 that Young found his true path to the center of Edwards' life by helping facilitate the affair and then cover it up. Did he think his over-the-top loyalty and lies would lead to a position in an Edwards White House or on a new Washington staff if Edwards got a cabinet post in the Obama administration?

Clearly, there is something really off about Young's loyalty from the start, but this whole messy, awful story is a cautionary tale for all over-loyal employees who think that if they do just one more thing that their beloved/demanding boss wants, good things will happen. Book contracts aside, they rarely do.

Have you ever taken loyalty to a boss too far?

More on the Edwards' drama on Shine:

Elizabeth Edwards on "Resilience" and managing her husband's betrayal
Elizabeth Edwards on Oprah, with only one condition