For some reason, I can’t think what, that story in the New York Times brings to mind one of the classic anecdotes about Disraeli. The background to it was that the Tory leader’s principal political opponent, the 70-something Lord Palmerston had (as a writer in the Daily Telegraph put it a couple of years ago) “been caught with a chambermaid on a billiards table in a stately home in Suffolk” (as it happens, I’ve read other, marginally less colorful versions of what it was that Lord Palmerston had been doing, but let’s just say that all of them would have been disappointing to Lady Palmerston). One of Disraeli’s advisers then suggested that the story be spread around, to which the great man replied: “Good heavens, no! If this gets out, he will sweep the country!”
Those were the days.