Saturday, August 09, 2008

Political marital problems

Man, that would be a really sleazy move to have an affair with another woman when your wife got sick or injured. So, shame on John Edwards. And shame on the guy the Republicans actually nominated for President, John McCain, who didn't just have an affair but went so far as to leave his crippled first wife for a younger, richer woman. And good for Slate for bringing up the similarity.


At Monday, August 11, 2008 at 1:35:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Victor said...

Lemme ask ... why are adultery or divorce relevant AT ALL in a presidential candidate?

It seems to me that if the reason is an absolute moral judgment that the acts are a priori permanently disqualifying (like how formal cooperation in an abortion is a canonical bar to ordination) ... that's one thing.

But if the reason has anything whatever to do with such acts being a reflection of current character and judgement, then there are some quite fundamental differences between the Edwards and McCain cases, both in their acts themselves and how the men today speak of them.

At Monday, August 11, 2008 at 2:21:00 PM PDT, Blogger Adam Villani said...

1. Ideally, they don't. Many perfectly capable or even exemplary Presidents had messed-up personal lives.

2. In modern politics, though, it seems to be fair game, especially since Republicans made "family values" an issue in the 1990s (conveniently forgetting Newt Gingrich's sleazy family life). And concentrating on the failings of a former Democratic candidate without mentioning the failings of the Republican candidate seems about as wise as unilateral disarmament.

3. More broadly speaking, there are a lot of irrelevant things that become relevant to political campaigns. I touched on this earlier when I pointed out that the fact that McCain is old is just about the least of my problems with the guy, but if somehow that's what makes him unpalatable to the public, then I'll go with it.

At Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 11:50:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Victor said...

Wow ... and I though *I* was cynical. Let's see if I have your position accurately drawn. You think divorce and adultery are irrelevant, but as long as the ignorant public buys this nonsense as reason not to vote for the party you don't like, that's fine by you.


So on those grounds, pray tell, what is wrong then with spreading the word that B. Hussein Obama is rumored to be a Muslim (and put that way, the statement is true). After all, if somehow that's what makes him unpalatable to the public, then I'll go with it.

At Friday, August 15, 2008 at 1:19:00 AM PDT, Blogger Adam Villani said...

I'm going to try to get around to writing a more lengthy blog post on the election over the weekend, but just a few points here.

I don't think a candidate's personal failings are *totally* irrelevant --- character counts, but I think the emphasis people place on certain things are skewed. I think McCain's hotheadedness is a bigger character flaw than his adultery when considering one's fitness for the Presidency.

But I think it's pretty evident from the last 16 years of politics that a lot of Americans *do* care about a politician's bedroom problems. If the voters think it's relevant, it's worth at least making them aware of it.

But basically I'm sick of the Republicans winning elections by being able to control the narrative of the public debate. People voted for George W. Bush because they wanted to have a beer with him, but Bush doesn't drink and he's never been a "regular guy" no matter how much he pretends.

McCain is a "maverick" and a "centrist" who "talks straight." Obama certainly got a lot of good press early on, but since Hillary went on the attack it's all been about how elitist he is. Oh, sorry, the press is balanced... they *debate* whether he's elitist, but asking the question is more important than any conclusions.


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