John Edwards finally admits he had the affair. Duh. He's still denying the child, though, even though his behavior has been strange (to say the least) if the child wasn't his. I think I'd be more than a little pissed off if my husband went to see a former love interest at 2:30 a.m. at a hotel under any circumstances. But at least there would have been some logic involved if he'd wanted to see his child.
Patterico has a full range of posts on the subject, including Justin Levine's great post, How Many More Times Does the Enquirer Have To Prove Itself Before People Stop Dismissing It? Golden.
Of course, the fun part is watching idiots try to dismiss this as unimportant.
Now, we get to the most relevant question - if John Edwards' political career is done, why isn't John McCain's? John McCain had a well-documented affair on his first wife, with his current wife. He has admitted in the books he has written about his life that he ran around with several different women while still married to his first wife. And don't forget that he left her for a younger, richer woman - multi-millionaire Cindy Hensley who is now Cindy McCain - after she had been severely hurt in a car accident.
So, why are McCain's actions any more excusable than Edwards'? Because it was thirty years ago? Does that wash it away? Will we be fine with Edwards running for office again in a couple of years because then it will all be in the past? What is the statute of limitations on an affair?
In a word, yes. John McCain had an affair 30 years ago. It has been public knowledge for three decades. Did it tarnish McCain's career ambitions? Sure it did. There are still evangelicals who don't want to vote for him because of it. And Ronald and Nancy Reagan didn't speak to him for years because of it. Who knows how high and how fast McCain's career could have risen if he'd just stuck with his first wife.
But having an affair some time in the distant past is quite different from having an affair while you are running for president and you have publicly clung to your cancer-striken wife, using her to garner sympathy for your flailing campaign.
McCain has written about his behavior during his first marriage and taken responsibility for it. He didn't have the National Enquirer break the story during a presidential campaign. He didn't deny repeatedly that the newspaper that broke the story was "tabloid trash" and the story was a lie.
That's the difference.
UPDATE: Simon at Bloggasm has an interview with L.A. Times blog editor Tony Pierce discussing the paper's blackout of the Edwards story. Hmm. I wonder how they will cover it now?