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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sex, drugs and politics QUESTION

Here's a promise for you: I'm never running for elective political office. You never know what skeletons, or even perceived skeletons, might pop up. Well, maybe when I'm 70, when I will be able to honestly say, "I don't remember" when asked about my presumably sordid past.

I'm thinking about this because New York's NEW governor, David Paterson, is caught up in some sexual infidelity. Truth is, I don't much care because it's none of my business, and, unlike his predecessor, "I'm a f***ing steamroller" Spitzer, he hadn't set the morals bar so high that his affairs are major disappointments. Mostly because most people outside of Albany didn't even know who David Paterson was until a little over a week ago. In any case, he's likely to survive this politically because he would be succeeded by the Senate Majority Leader, who is a REPUBLICAN, Joe Bruno.

This begs the questions:
1) How much of a person's personal life should be open to the public when he or she is considering running for public office?
2) How far does one get to dig about someone's history and place as relevant? I recall that GWB said some years ago that he had not done certain drugs (cocaine, I believe) in the previous 25 years, answered in such a way that it suggested that perhaps he HAD used it earlier than that. As much as I dislike GWB politically - and I mean a WHOLE lot - I don't much care about an old drug bust.


1 comment:

Uthaclena said...

There is an editorial in my local paper that takes the point of view (regarding Governor Paterson's affairs) that 'a vow is a vow is a vow,' and that if you can't keep one, the public has the right to be suspicious that you can't keep others. By extension, one could make the argument that, for instance, drug use in your early years just sets a predictive pattern, or if you were a criminal member in your youth, you are forever on social probation (unless, of course, you Found the Lord, in some quarters).

Iself think that this is an adolescent and simplistic view; the fact is, we humans are very good a compartmentalizing our lives. You may not want to trust a former alcoholic with prescription narcotics; but that does not necessarily speak to their ability to manage a budget or command a battalion.

David Paterson and his wife's marriage was apparently on the rocks when they both had affairs; expectations of fidelity, or living celibate lives until their signatures were both on that Final Decree are accordingly unrealistic. Spitzer, on the other hand, was hypocritical in the performance of his job.

Investigate background patterns of relevant issues? Sure. Emphasis on patterns, or egregious incidents. Otherwise, it's just digging for dirt.