When Bill Clinton was caught up in that messy bit of monkey business with Monica Lewinsky, liberals and the French sprang quickly to his defense. The French, especially, couldn’t wait to sneer at us for our obvious lack of sophistication, although their linguists, to their credit, expressed some contempt for Clinton’s apparent inability to define “is.”
The French feel that a man without a mistress is something of a freak. In fact, if it ever got out that a French politician didn’t have a woman or two tucked away, the Parisian press would label him a sissy boy or, worse yet, an American.
By the time Clinton rolled around, most of us were aware that John Kennedy had had his hands on more Hollywood starlets than costume designer Edith Head. Still, in spite of that, our politicians — at least so long as they’re Republicans — are dead in the water if they’ve been discovered wandering off the reservation.
That’s why I find it so absurd that anyone, including Newt Gingrich, thinks Newt Gingrich has even the slightest chance of garnering the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. After two divorces, each the result of his philandering, the man is carting around more baggage than a redcap.
I realize that there are many people who would argue that a man’s sex life has nothing to do with his ability to govern. They would point out that, at least for those of us who have no plans to be intimately involved with them, how they perform with their clothes on is a darn sight more important than how they perform with their clothes off.
The counter-argument is that the president of the United States isn’t just its chief executive or even just its commander-in-chief; he is the living, breathing symbol of the nation. And as symbols go, a guy whose zipper is always at half-mast isn’t most people’s ideal.
The way I see it, we don’t really know the politicians who represent us. We may see them on TV or even at meet-and-greet events, but that merely tells us what they look like, what they sound like and whether, without a Teleprompter, they can utter a coherent sentence.
Therefore, we can’t pretend to know what sort of people they are anymore than we can evaluate the character of those actors, singers and dancers, we see performing in the movies or on the tube.
Unfortunately, except when politicians have been caught taking bribes, dealing drugs or voting for ObamaCare, one of the few salient facts that ever reach us is when they’re discovered carrying on adulterous affairs.
Perhaps the French would dismiss us as a nation of naïve rubes, but the prevailing attitude is if these guys don’t have a problem cheating on their spouses, those people to whom they have pledged their eternal fidelity, why the hell should we trust them?