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Friday, April 04, 2008

Politicians and Affairs: A Dangerous Game

It's not simply about sex as some Democratic activists claimed during President Clinton's troubles. It's not simply about power as many felt during the Elliot Spitzer situation. Politicians having affairs is dangerous for their constituents, for the process and for the country.

My view on this subject is about as conservative as it gets, or as puritanical as it gets despite my liberal views on most other issues. I do not believe someone prone to having an affair with a young lady should be allowed to live in the White House or chair an important Congressional committee. Thus someone like Senator David Vitter or Senator Larry Craig should be barred from serving as the head of a major committee should the GOP regain control of the Senate anytime soon.

Here's why:

1- Let's say a young lady turns out to be a foreign agent, or worse yet someone who later sells information to a hostile foreign government.
2- What if the young lady is a lobbyist for some industry or corporation affected by legislation pending in front of Congress or the President? What if as in the first case after having an innocent affair, the young lady spills the beans to people with influence among a corporation or industry with regulatory legislation pending?
3- Ultimately many politicians who have affairs are male chauvinists who see Women in an ancient sense. These male politicians in most cases look down as females as a way to demonstrate their manhood and power.

Far fetched? Perhaps, but not that far out of the realm of possibilities and certainly not worth taking the chance with so much at stake for our nation.

Public service is a special calling. Elected officials to high offices have a moral obligation to serve the public and not behave a fraternity brother or a good time Charlie. If a male official has a fondness for the ladies or other similar weaknesses they should not run for higher office. The stakes in this post 9/11 world, where China and India's economies are becoming threats to the United States and Russia is behaving more like a cold war adversary than a friend coupled with all the threats from the Islamic world to me say we cannot afford the risk of having a politician in the White House or a high position in the Congress prone to being compromised so easily.

I'm not saying female elected officials don't have affairs, but one case for Senator Hillary Clinton
's candidacy is that women who are in public office tend to be more consciousness and interested than serving the public than men. While that seems like a crass generalization, I believe it after fifteen plus years of being involved in the process to be very true. However Senator Clinton has her husband to deal with. Campaign cash in many ways behaves like sex does for a politician. President Bill Clinton proved this on two occasions when he altered US foreign policy because of a campaign donation. The first occasion as we have talked about previously was when he got a phone call from donor Charlie Trie who was bust illegally raising foreign money in Little Rock. The second time was when President Clinton thanks to his dealing with an internationally infamous arms dealer (who also had some White House contacts in the Reagan years) approved an oil pipeline through the Caucucus Mountains in a reversal of longstanding American policy. Now can you imagine if Monica Lewinsky had been a foreign agent and hadn't been given a hush job by master Clinton donor (and co-author of the recent letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi) Bernard Schwartz?

Politicians having affairs is nothing new. However in this new information driven age, when blackmail is possible, and the challenges abroad are immense, having a leader less susceptible to compromise is not only wise, it's essential.

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I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.