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The Return Of John Edwards

In case you missed it, John Edwards crawled out of his hole last night.

The Democrat's speech covered politics, poverty and his hopes for America and the world and he later discussed President-elect Obama and other topics from the audience. But the question-and-answer period featured only written queries that had been submitted before his speech.

The affair he acknowledged with filmmaker Rielle Hunter wasn't mentioned. After his public statements in August, Edwards said he did not plan to speak about the affair again...

Edwards said wanted to continue working for poor people struggling to survive in America and abroad, whether he remains in politics or not.

"That's what I want to spend my life doing," he said.

Edwards may see Bill Clinton's post-White House charitable foundation work as a model. Clinton did so many good deeds around the world that Monica Lewinsky seemed to recede as the defining fact about his character. One big difference, however, is that Hillary at least implicitly seemed to forgive Bill and continued to share a home with him. Even Gary Hart, whose wife stayed with him, spent many years in exile out in Colorado before slowly returning in an elder statesman role. You see various reports about Elizabeth Edwards and it's not entirely clear just where things stand, but if that doesn't prove the case with Edwards it's hard to see him ever reaccepted into society. (Another problem is that there remain some serious unresolved questions about the nature of Edwards's affair, which was not the case with Clinton or Hart.)

P.S. Anyone seen Bob Packwood lately?

--Michael Crowley