John Edwards, Entering Year Four of his Hairshirt Modeling Career

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 17 2012 10:52 AM

John Edwards, Entering Year Four of his Hairshirt Modeling Career

The New York Post's story about John Edwards getting his hair done at Supercuts reminds me of this insightful commentary from the late 1990s.

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David Margolick summed up the Edwards defense pretty well: He's arguing that he carried on his affair and cover-up with money from a campaign donor, but not money from his campaign. That article kicked off the current, sub rosa liberal argument about Edwards -- he's horrible, but beating him up at this point is just politicized overkill. The key figure of the Enough Already school of Edwards is CREW's Melanie Sloan. To NPR last week: Edwards is a "despicable and loathsome human being, but that doesn't also make him a criminal." To the NYT: "Everyone wants to punish him because he’s a crappy human being. But in America we prosecute conduct, not character." Sloan announced herself as the D.C. dial-a-corruption-quote who'd had enough, already, of the Edwards story. You can see where she's coming from.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.