It’s facile to look to Spitzer and Vitter and see a path to redemption for Edwards. But the comparison misses the mark.
Unlike Spitzer and Vitter, whose spouses stood by them and pledged to make it work, Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, passed away in December 2010. There was no forgiveness. And there will be no chance for it.
Unlike Vitter or Spitzer, who can hope for future stories about how they weathered a very rocky time in their relationship, Edwards will forever be burdened by the fact that he cheated on his terminally ill wife.
In the eyes of the American public, that makes any chance to forgive and forget about what Edwards has done next-to-impossible. For Edwards to have any reasonable hope about re-emerging as a public (or political) figure, there would need to be a parallel storyline about how his wife was prospering and enjoying her life. And that’s not possible.