The indictment of former presidential candidate John Edwards is the sober end to a sordid tale that involved everything you could possibly ask for in a political scandal: adultery, a hidden child, hush money, a wife dying of cancer, and finally, felony charges. But how does it measure up to presidential scandals of the past?
Watergate: the grand-daddy of all contemporary political scandals. It's also why the media adopted the insufferable habit of attaching the word 'gate' to all manner of tempests in teacups.
Bill Clinton & Monica Lewinsky: if I did the math correctly, this fall's freshmen will have been six years old when this happened. Yikes -- how did that happen?!
Ronald Reagan & Iran-Contra: ok, I have to admit that I have no memory of this one. Iran-Contra was to me as Monica Lewinsky is to this fall's freshman. I was six years old.
History is littered with many other presidential and quasi-presidential scandals, but those are some the big ones from the post-War era ('post-War' in this instance meaning 'post-World War II'). Frankly I'm not sure where the John Edwards scandal should lie on the scale of bad to worst, but at the very least, I guess we can be happy that the sordid tale is coming to an end. Of course, based on history, it is only a matter of time until the next one rolls around!