As you probably know, the latest chapter in the John Edwards saga is that he didn't just cheat on Elizabeth with Rielle Hunter, but had also apparently availed himself, back in 2007, of the services of an upscale brothel. He denies it, but then he denied the Rielle Hunter story at first.
Anyway, here's Pierce:
My track record on this guy is pretty clear — and, occasionally, the topic of some hilarity around the home office. This is what I do know about him. John Edwards was the only Democratic presidential candidate since Jesse Jackson who went out of his way to talk about poverty in America. Not in an oblique way. Not as an afterthought after blathering for hours on the pressures on The Middle Class and how he wanted to unleash Small Business, The Engine Of The Economy — both of which, in purely political terms, meant discussing the not-inconsiderable economic perils of struggling white folks. Talking about poverty, and about poor people, meant talking a lot about black people, and that's the kind of thing that Al From and the Democratic Leadership Council convinced a generation of ambitious Democratic politicians was a vote-killing extravagance that the party could no longer afford. I thought that it mattered that there was someone out there at least talking the talk on the big stage about how there are pockets of unforgivable hunger and want in this nation the existence of which should embarrass us all.
And, today, I think about the people in those places who may have heard the same thing in John Edwards that I did, who believed in him more fervently than anyone because of what he was saying about the people like them. Now, they're largely invisible in our politics again, except as people whose interests can be used as chips in our grand bargains. If you want to be pissed at John Edwards, be pissed that he let those people down. I am.