John Edwards, the Dorian Gray of the Democratic party, is one of the most loathsome characters in American politics, corrupt himself and a source of corruption in others, a preening, moralizing fraud who went so far as to have a staffer claim paternity of the illegitimate child he fathered with a campaign contractor. Even after he was exposed, Edwards denied that he was the father of the child until a paternity test forced him to own up to the fact. But for the charms of John Kerry, he would have been vice president of these United States. But for the labors of the National Enquirer, he might have been president, Democrats having learned in the 1990s how to make their peace with such situations.
If being a louse were a crime, John Edwards would hang for it. But he is instead facing prison for alleged campaign-finance violations, and it is our obligation to come unenthusiastically to his defense. He may be guilty of bribery, and if he were a sitting senator he would likely be guilty of gross ethics violations, but the facts do not support prosecuting Edwards under campaign-finance laws.
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