Mickey Kaus’ long post here about John Edwards’ alleged affair with Rielle Hunter is almost self-refuting. Basically, we have an anonymous source saying Hunter said she had an affair with Edwards, versus Hunter, on the record, saying that’s not the case. Then there’s Edwards, also saying it’s not the case. But Kaus initially deems Edwards’ denial too vague and non-specific. But then:[Banging my head against the wall] Basically what we have here is that if we assume the anonymous hearsay is true and the on-the-record first-hand denial is false, then Edwards is either mishandling the story by denying it too vaguely ("the story is false") or else is mishandling it by denying it too directly ("made up") but what if the story’s not true? No doubt by now we’ve had all the legitimate news organizations in the country looking into it and it seems that . . . nobody can come up with any evidence. As we saw with Scott Beauchamp, and the fake John Kerry intern affair story, if you just operate from within an assumption of guilt it’s very hard for someone to prove his innocence but that’s why we . . . don’t operate with an assumption of guilt!
Update: The AP has Edwards adding "It’s completely untrue, ridiculous" and saying the story was "made up." By the Enquirer? Or by one of the people the Enquirer cites? Either way, it’s a direct attack on the integrity of someone (not necessarily a smart move for a politician in Edwards’ position). …
Atrios makes the same point, albeit with snark:
According to an anonymous source, Mickey Kaus regularly blows goats. Either he fails to deny this strongly enough, in which case his goat blowing proclivities are assuredly true, or his denials will impugn the integrity of my source which makes him a tremendously bad person. And, of course, a goat blower.
Thanks, Slate, for all you’ve done for our discourse.
Be sure to read the comments in both posts.
I ignored the Edwards’ affair story when it came across my transom last week. I think I will continue to, especially since the "source" is the National Enquirer, and nobody seems to actually admit it (including the supposed woman).