At a time when sexual mores were better, and healthier, than they are now, John F. Kennedy is acknowledged by almost everyone to have been unfaithful to his wife. Further, MANY epople evidently knew it. It did not become a pubic "issue" because "jounalists" were better then, as well as sexual mores. I won't belabor the many examples from history. Powerful men have always tended to be unfaithful to their wives. It is only in recent times that we have become total prigs about it. I say that as a person who does not even believe premarital sex to be the corret decision for almost anyone.
As I have said before, I regard adutery as irrelevant to whether a person should hold public office--at the very least, to use the approach of the law, the relevance is so slight as to not justify the "prejudicial", emotional effect of pubicity about it.
The problem lately has been that too many politicians are going way beyond mere adultery. That has made it hard to makre this principle stick. For example, I thought Bill Clinton's various affairs were irrelevant. Only the sanctimonious hyocrites of the left would think it is irrelevant whether a President had SEX WITH AN INTERN IN THE OVAL OFFICE (not to mention later lying abuot it to the American people, dand under oath). Governor Spitzer arranged sex with a PROSITUTION RING, while governor--virtuallly involving the governor's office with orgainzed crime. And now Mark Sanford has simply acted bizarrely including the way he handled the situation.
Well, before leaving Mark Sanford, I am going to tell future politicians who are dumb enough to get in this fix how it SHOULD be handed. You will further thave the satisfaction of knowing you stoold up agaisnst the hypocrites of the media in a way that will hel all posterity, and maybe get us back to the better days of JFK.
Here is what Mark Sanford should have said:
"I was burnt out personally and professionally. I needed a vacation away from it all. Where I spent that vacation, and with whom, is not the pubic's business. That is all something between my wife and myself. we all make mistakes, and I have made my share. Private mistakes, however, should remain the private business of the people directly involved. I refuse to accept that politicians have no private life. We may be heading in that direction, but I think it is the wrong one. On a personal level, I accept the consequences of my actions. The Bible says we are all sinners, and that is certainly true in my case. But the details of my private sins are notne of the public's business, and definitely none of the media's business. I will be glad to talk about whether my decision to abruptly take a vacation hurt the state, and whether I missed any important business that hurt the sate. I willl not otherwise talk about my vacation, or any of the details. For purposes of your questions, you can assume I spent the time in Zen meditation, away from any human contact. The only thing I am willing to discuss is the fact that I was gone, and whether that adversely affeted the state in some specific way. I thought the sate could survive some days without me, and I am glad to repoort it has I am ready to get back to work, and I am confident of my ability to continue to lead this state to a better future. Whether my vacation has adversely affected my personal future is irrelevant, and I will not discuss that."
A variation of the above speech can be given in any situation where a politician is accused of adultery. The actual response of Mark Sanford only compounded his problems.
You sputter: "A politician can't get away with THAT!!!". yes, he can. Bill Clinton did, up until Monica Lewinsky. Oh, it takes a little courage and ability to take heat (which Sanford obviously did not have). However, it really is none of the pubic's business, and we need to get back to the time that was true. It is no different for Republicans than it is for Democrats. Who is the last Democrat you heard actually come out in FAVOR of adultery. A Democrat betrays his vows just as much as a Republican, and the idea that it is more hypocritical to talk publicly about the virtues of values you find yourself too weak to live up to than it is to suggest that you are not trying to live up to those values at all is HYOCRISY on an unimaginable level (except for leftists). If Democrats want to come out and admit they are SLEZEBALLS who don't respect marriage or the family, fine. Toherwise, this idea that Republicans who violate their marriage vows are more hypocritical than Democrats is the height of leftist HYPOCRISY. Remember all of those pictures of JFK, Jackie, and the children? Hypocrisy anyone? The whole thing involves private "sin", and it is not the public's business--whether the sinner is Republican or Democrat.
Would I vote for Mark Sanford. Of course not. His behavior was, and still is, BIZARRE. But I would ignore the adultery asnone of my business. Among the bizarre, logical absurdities you get into with any other positon is the question of whether past adulteries are more "forgivable" than current adulteries. For example, there seems little question McCain committed adultery once upon a time. Biuliani and Newt have done so more than once. Do we really want to go into the bedroom activities of every cnadidate for office, from adulthood on? No? Why not? Why is it more acceptable to commit adultery five years ago than it is today? Ten years ago? Do we really want to suggest tthat "journalists" should be buging every politician's phone and hotel room to "tet the goods" on adulterous spouses? No? Are you saying it is okay to commit adultery if the person is GOOD at it (unlike Sanford), such that the politician is not CAUGHT? In other words, are you saying that once it comes to light, even by accident, it is fair game, but it is not okay to LOOK for adulterous behavior> How HYPOCRITICAL is that?
Nope. We need to get past the idea that private adultery is the public's business. It is not, and I wish politicians would develop the courage to start dayig so--instead of dragging the wife out for one of those degrading scenes where the husband "apologizes" and the wife "forgives" him. The thought of avoiding those scenes alone should convince you I am right on this.
If only idiots like Sanford and Spitzer would help me out here by being satisfied with garden variety adultery with a relatively ordinary woman in a hotel room. Even Marilyn Monroe in a private jet (or wherever JFK did it). Rambling, crazy interviews after a tri to Argentian? Prostitution ring you are supposed to be prosecuting, and have prosecuted in the past? Give me some help here, guys. Do some normal adultery, and then TRY MY APPROACH. It cant be worse than what you are trying without me.
Hint: People dont' LIKE "journalists" (for very, very good reason). Make this an issue of PRIVACY, and you against the "journalists", and you WIN (with a little more difficulty, if you are a REpublican). Someone needs to start standing up for the old, correct distinctions between pubic and private morality--the distinctions between moral WEAKNESS and intellectual dishonesty. I am willing to state that there are NO people on this Earth who live up to their OWN moral standards (other than sociopaths and psychopaths). If you believe otherwise, by are BOTH a prig and a hypocrite. And you are a hypocrite to hod a politician to standards to which you do not hold yourself.