I hate defending Republicans, I really do. Nothing galls me more than being backed into a corner because the media is overreaching and the values I espouse are suddenly needed to protect the GOP. It happened a few months ago with that moronic “book” (it really doesn’t deserve the label) that referenced Sarah Palin and Glen Rice. It happened again last week when The Roots played “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” as Michelle Bachmann walked on stage on Jimmy Fallon. And here we are again, and this time I’m defending Herman Cain. Sigh.
When the Palin/Rice rumors started flying, I laid out my ground rules for when judging the sex lives of politicians is appropriate:
1. Did they abuse their power? (i.e. sleep with employees, use sex to curry political favor)
2. Did they break a law beyond the archaic ones about adultery? (i.e. soliciting a prostitute after you’ve thundered on about cracking down on vice, sexual assault, etc.)
3. Did they misuse the trappings of their office? (i.e. spend taxpayer money to fly to see a mistress)
A few weeks ago, Herman Cain’s sex life was my business (and the media’s) because it was alleged that he broke Rule 2. Sexual harassment is a crime, and a candidate’s criminal record is absolutely fair game. But today, a story emerged about a potential 13 year affair. As quickly as that, it’s no longer my business. As much as family values hypocrisy slays me, I’m not willing to condone the inclusion of the sexual behavior of consenting adults into the campaign dialogue. It’s a slippery slope that we’re already halfway down, and I’d rather not nudge us any further into the abyss.
The Cain campaign agrees:
“This is not an accusation of harassment in the workplace – this is not an accusation of an assault – which are subject matters of legitimate inquiry to a political candidate. Rather, this appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults – a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public. No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life. The public’s right to know and the media’s right to report has boundaries and most certainly those boundaries end outside of one’s bedroom door.”
Damn… couldn’t have said it better myself.
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