Oh Heck

by digby

It looks like the soap opera is going to continue.

I hate this stuff. As I wrote yesterday, I think it's human nature to be fascinated by the foibles of important people. There's an industry devoted to feeding it to us and it's very successful --- gossip has probably been part of human behavior since cave days.

But we use this natural fascination with private sexual behavior in the United States these days as some sort of proxy for the public character of our politicians, as if this tells us something so important about them that it supersedes anything else we might know about them. But it's a fallacy, since we can't know enough about their marriages or their inner lives, to be able to accurately judge these behaviors. So we end up with some sort of cookie cutter morality that leads us to reject a politician who steps out on his wife, allegedly because he's shown a propensity for "reckless behavior" or lying, while we accept someone who has lied repeatedly in his public life and shown a propensity for recklessness with public policy, because they are harder to understand. But the truth is that private behavior is not a good guide to leadership. There have been too many examples of fine leaders who led complicated personal lives and too many examples of bad ones who never strayed.

If history judged Richard Nixon and George W. Bush based solely on their marital faithfulness, they would be considered among the best presidents we ever had. It's not a useful proxy for public behavior, never has been.

Oh, and all the celebrity gasbags deserve to have all of their own private peccadilloes exposed to the world. They have helped create this absurd political test and they are the last people who could withstand the same scrutiny. These powerful people passing judgment on politicians for things they all do themselves is what makes the Village such phony provincial hellhole.