A jury acquitted John Edwards of one count of campaign finance crimes last week, and hung on five other counts, allowing the smarmy ex-senator to go free. Afterwards, Edwards offered a self-serving but fairly innocuous comment to the media (it appears at around the 2:15 mark above, and lasts around a minute.) Innocuous to me, anyway; on Hardball with Chris Matthews a couple hours later, it set HuffPo‘s Howard Fineman and Cap’n Huffinpuff himself into arias of denunciation.

HOWARD FINEMAN: He has so veered off into the land of creepy self-delusion. I–I’m watching–I’m watching a, a, a, a, a car crash of, of, of craziness here. And I know there are second lives in American politics. But the notion that he took this occasion to weave the story of his children, of all his children, including the one that he had with the mistress that he was having relations with while his wife was dying of cancer, that he’s going to weave the story of those children into the story of the poor people of America and the world, and thus I am going to be the Pied Piper leading the Americas and the children of the world together into a new public role for myself, that was so beyond any level of self awareness as to be almost pathological.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: (sounds like) Yahhmmmmmm.

HOWARD FINEMAN: Did I make myself clear?

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Yah, I did, I did, I think you captured it.

HOWARD FINEMAN: It’s just, sometimes the shamelessness–shamelessness of public figures, especially of politicians, is astounding to me. You have to have to a certain level of shamelessness to be in political life, let alone to run for office–

CHRIS MATTHEWS: You put it so well.

HOWARD FINEMAN: –let alone to run for office–but to but to do that, on the occasion was just mind-boggling, completely mind-boggling. I’m sorry, it’s mind-boggling.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: You’ve never been better, you’ve never been better at explaining the reality of political thinking, which is, it’s all id. It’s all ego.

Matthews and Fineman went on and on, working themselves into a froth about the specter of an Edwards comeback. Thank goodness in the next segment Melinda Henneberger came on and coolly suggested that Edwards was just chucking platitudes, mercifully throwing a bucket of cold water on the poor heated puppies before they dry-humped themselves into exhaustion.

[Cross-posted at JamieMalanowski.com]

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Jamie Malanowski is a writer and editor. He has been an editor at Time, Esquire and most recently Playboy, where he was Managing Editor.