The Ultimate Comeback Kid

Well, from one southern white “populist” to another: here’s today’s most unexpected news, from The Hill’s Jonathan Easley:

Embattled former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) will hit the speaking circuit beginning this June.

The 2004 Democratic vice presidential candidate will address PMP Marketing’s annual client retreat in Orlando, according to an itinerary posted on the firm’s website. Edwards is slated to speak on June 6, the second day of the three-day retreat, for about 45 minutes.

Edwards has kept a low profile since he was found not guilty last May on one felony charge of accepting illegal campaign contributions from heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon. The jury was deadlocked on five other felony charges and the judge declared a mistrial.

Now it’s not clear from this report that Edwards is actually hitting any “speaking circuit,” since only one speech is mentioned and sometimes corporate conference facilitators get a wild hair and invite someone infamous just for the sensation of it (I know nothing about PMP Marketing’s clients, but if I was one of them, I sure wouldn’t miss Edwards’ act).

But he wasn’t likely to stay out of circulation forever, and despite his once-legendary wealth, Edwards may actually need the jack a speaking gig might bring in. I mean, it’s not like anybody’s going to put him in front of a jury as a trial lawyer, and I suspect he’s given up the expensive haircuts for good.

You do have to wonder, though, what with Mark Sanford back in Congress and Anthony Wiener running for mayor of New York, if there’s some slight glimmer of hope in the Son of a Mill Worker’s mind of becoming the ultimate Comeback Kid and resuming a public, if not political, life. I’d imagine his skin is tough enough by now to endure endless ridicule, but the Court of Public Opinion is one tough venue, even for the guy once regarded as sort of the Wayne Gretzky of trial lawyers. I’m guessing a book, and then maybe a movie, would have to come first.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.