Monday, August 11, 2008

I wonder why politicians always seem so immoral?

It makes me heartsick to see another woman standing by her skeezoid man, in the press at least, while he warbles on about narcissism and power and temptation (and frankly – do any of these women who have affairs with politicians these days look tempting to you?) And she is made the fool in front of the entire world, while he oozes all over television screens and praises her up and down, hoping that words will speak louder than actions.

It makes me angry to know that the man was willing to seriously compromise his party’s chance at regaining power in the Executive branch by running for the Democratic nomination, knowing he had this skeleton in his closet. As my husband pointed out - what if it was he, and not Obama, campaigning right now? What would our chances be of a Democratic president? Regardless of our readers’ political affiliations, I think we can all agree that to pursue the presidency with such an explosive, candidacy-crippling secret is to be both (a) na├»ve and (b) selfish.

It makes me disgusted to know that yet again the woman he trotted out with was an air-headed bottle blonde with no personal or professional accomplishments to speak of. . . that is, unless you count being the antihero in a McInerney novel, which (as Maureen Dowd acerbically points out) is not an accomplishment of which one should be proud. He left the lawyer at home to run their dead son’s charitable foundation, so he could step out and make diddly with a floozy. Why can't they ever at least be smart floozies?

It makes me a disenchanted voter to know that he let me down. What if his policies were the best thing for the country, as he (and his wife and oldest daughter) declaimed during the most recent primary? What if he has some real solutions to minimize poverty and care for the weak? He gave up the opportunity to have them taken seriously. A momentary temptation, a brief bit of pleasure – for this was the public’s rosier future sold. You can argue, as the eyebrow-cocking, snicker-into-their-sleeve Europeans do, that we as a voting public are much too hung up on these personal indiscretions, and miss the forest for the trees. But, for better or worse, it is an American electoral reality, one that this politician has used as a stick to berate his own philandering fellow party-members. He knew what he was risking, and has now lost, for the sake of a couple of orgasms.

Politicians sleep around. Absolute power, and all that. I don't think this is the way it has to be, but (because of the bad behavior of this man, and many others) I have lowered my standards to recognize this as the norm, and fidelity as the shining exception. The particular sting for me this time is that I feel that the woman who was betrayed had the better potential of the two. Despite her own impressive skills, she chose to hitch her cart to a man’s horse rather than drive it under her own power. He has, in the time-honored tradition of powerful political men, let her down. He isn’t President, and now it is likely he never will be, but now he’s also compromised his chances of a high profile Cabinet placement or, God help us, Vice Presidency. For what, her sacrifices?

Not to mention the personal betrayal. She married him. She bore him two children. She helped him bury one, and then, to soothe their pain, she bore him two more, taking the toll on a much older body. She sublimated her own legal career to support his political aspirations. She got cancer. She campaigned with him anyway. She went into remission. He spat on her. She stood by him.

So I guess I’m a wee bit disappointed in her, too. The handling of an infidelity is a personal choice, and she has obligations to her children that surely come into play - but I believe her public status assigns her, too, an obligation to us, the married women of the world. Expectations, standards of behavior - they are lowered that tiny bit more, and womankind takes that half shuffle backwards. These high profile wives are standing behind their men, holding the kids' hands outside the bathroom door while the Good Old Boy gets his quickie in the stalls, and then fake-smiling for the press while hoping that he at least had the good sense to wash his hands after. In a passive way she is telling me that this is the best I should hope for.

But let's not end this little rant by making it her fault. Stuck between a rock and a hard place - ahem, pardon the pun - she is left with a couple of crappy non-options, and that's the self-confessed narcissist's doing. Although I wish she'd stride outta there with her head held high, I won't add to her burden by calling for her head on the stake.

I hope that homewrecker showed him a Rielle good time.

1 comment:

MSO Rin said...

How eloquently you've expressed it. I'm just saddened by the whole affair. Stupid, stupid, stupid man. I had just watched with pride as he was on C-Span talking about how we need to make the hard choices to end poverty in this country. Now I don't believe even his contrition.