One of the major themes in the news lately has been the sex life of Republican candidates for President. Will Newt Gingrich’s standing with “values” voters suffer because he was “dating” his current wife while his then-wife was recovering from an illness in the hospital, or will his current wife be an asset to him? And what will the voters think about Mitch Daniels, whose wife left him with the kids for two years to shack up with another man?
I for one never cared about Clinton’s peccadilloes and I don’t care about what Gingrich, Daniels, Nikki Haley (who has been accused of getting around a bit), Donald Trump, or any other Republican candidate does in his or her private life. And I don’t care what Democratic candidates do, either.
There are, however, two exceptions:
- When candidates condemn what they themselves are doing, as Senator Larry “Wide Stance” Craig did by condemning homosexuality while trolling airport men’s rooms for quickie gay sex. As most of us know, Newty dallied while condemning President Clinton for his liaison with Monica Lewinsky.
- When the private actions suggest a pattern of wrong-doing that goes beyond adultery, such as sexual harassment, nonconsensual sex, pedophilia or, as in the case of Senator John Ensign, bribery.
As an adjunct to this “live and let live” philosophy, I am also not ready to condemn the adulterer who lies about his or her adultery, as long as there is no proof that he or she lied about anything else. Just as you can’t score a home run without touching home plate, most adultery involves lying. The “act” of lying is part of the “sin” of adultery, and not a separate sin.
It would be great if all our politicians and public figures were saints, but they’re not. Who is any of us to define sainthood for other people anyway? And no one can get inside a couple’s marriage and really know what it’s like in there.
I would rather see the news media focus our attention on these factors:
- The candidates’ past actions in elected office and past record of accomplishments and stands on issues.
- What the candidate is currently advocating.
- How often the candidate follows the line of his or her party and if that party line conforms to what you want.
The news media does a disservice to the voters by wasting time on speculation about the private lives of any candidate, again, unless that candidate’s private life involves illegal activity or demonstrates hypocrisy.