Well, can anything top Mike Huckabee's kid torturing and killing a dog? How about John Edwards' love child. The National Enquirer is now trumpeting the alleged fact that a former campaign worker for Edwards, Rielle Hunter, is six months pregnant with his child. Edwards has been dodging affair rumors for months; if Rielle does turn out to be carrying a little Edwards, this will trump the Clinton scandals of the 1992 campaign--in fact, many blame the Clintons for spreading this particular piece of dirt, ironically enough. There is a further problem for Edwards in that the story comes with a a further note attached--political operative Andrew Young, close to Edwards, is supposedly claiming he is the father--which seems a transparent cover-up.
Of course, Rielle denies all this adamantly -- not the pregnancy, but the involvement of both Edwards and Young. Is it true? Sans DNA or incriminating photos--remember Senator Gary Hart on the yacht with Donna Rice in 1988?--who can tell. Certainly, love child smears have long been popular, indeed staples, of political smearing. They've been used against Thomas Jefferson, Grover Cleveland, Warren G. Harding, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Clinton, of course. and John McCain, just to mention a few.
In some cases--Jefferson, Cleveland, Harding--this happened to be true. In others, not. But as I have been saying, it is all getting nastier and nastier, proving the main point of Anything for a Vote: dirty campaigning is not the exception to the rule in American presidential politics--it IS the rule.