Saturday, August 9, 2008

Let's Not Talk About The Edwards Affair

I'm sad to see prominent bloggers Kevin Drum and Steve Benen basically not sticking to their guns over what's okay for the media to talk about with regard to politicians. I'm pretty sure I've seen Kevin or Steve write before that the media shouldn't talk about politicians' affairs at all-- they seem like that kind of liberal, of which their are many among the more politically-aware type-- yet now they are basically participating and encouraging that kind of talk.

This isn't to say that they, I, and liberals in general haven't talked and written a lot when a Republican is discovered to have had an affair. But that is totally different. But when the Republicans have affairs, they show themselves to be politically hypocrites, so that is worthwhile news. Otherwise, whether someone had an affair or not is a person's personal, private life, and no one's business. Strangely, Kevin and Steve are now leaving out their usual, "I don't think we should talk about the affair, but since everyone else is already doing it anyway..." clauses this time. This is basically encouraging the talk.

It is the Republicans who turn their own family matters into public business by putting themselves up on a pedestal, claiming to be so unblemished that they can tell everyone else how Americans should live moral lives in every detail. It is they who elevate all sorts of aspects of sexual morality into bigger issues than whether a massive, deadly war is a wise choice for America to make or whether the war is run correctly or not. So it is a Republican's affair that is news, not a Democrat's, just like it wouldn't be news if a pro-gun Republican was discovered to own a gun and to hunt. So what? He thinks hunting and individual ownership of firearms among private citizens is moral and appropriate. Debate his stance on the issue and the reason he gives for it, and don't make an ass out of yourself by gossipping over what he does in his spare time. Similarly, Dem politicians don't think a private person's sex life is an appropriate issue for the public to take an interest in or to legislate control over through their elected legislators-- and they're right.

Good politicians should not be published for choosing the career they did by having every mistake they might have made in their personal life dragged out into public discussion.