Weigel

The Edwards Indictment: How He Brought Himself Down With a Haircut

A few years ago, me and 59 million people voted to make John Edwards the next vice president of the United States. We were outnumbered. Good thing, too.* Below, I’ve posted the indictment in United States v. Johnny Reid Edwards, which is as unpleasant as you’d think. Many of the details were revealed in the memoir published by Edwards’s old fixer, Andrew Young, but the 2007 note from the candidate’s benefactor, Bunny Mellon, is new:

I was sitting alone in a grim mood – furious that the press attacked Senator Edwards on the price of a haircut. But it inspired me – from now on, all haircuts, etc., that are necessary and important for his campaign – please send the bills to me… it is a way to help our friend without government restrictions.

Edwards really mattered in Democratic politics. He never pushed through any serious legislation, but in the pre-Obama era he convinced a number of powerful Democrats that he was a perfect, silver-tongued ambassador for liberalism. In 2004, his “Two Americas” schtick was the best frame liberals had found in years, and they used it. But then Barack Obama came around, and Edwards was destined to become a footnote – a glib but talented politician. He’s a footnote again, but for a different reason.

*I think this number includes the vote of Mickey Kaus, one of the very few reporters who was peeling the mask off Edwards in 2007.