The Corner

Re: Puritans and Rogues

Derb, I was mocking the “thin-lipped puritan” caricature because it IS a caricature, one that you suggested comes from James Carville (as you mentioned Ken Starr). The idea that the meanest thing someone can say about you is that you dress nice and love church services ought to bend one in half with laughter. I simply do not get how we get from A to B here – from disapproving of Schwarzenegger’s alleged sexual crudities to forcing Holy Mass on the multitudes. It’s about as plausible as suggesting Gray Davis favors mandatory marijuana breaks in the high schools. This cartoon was just as silly when Carville was foisting it on supportive reporters in 1998.

Tom McClintock is not proposing a theocracy. He’s suggesting that one doesn’t prepare for serious political office by acting out like a spoiled teenager on “rowdy” movie sets when you’re supposed to be an adult, and then a husband, and then a father. The media (including Drudge) found the news in his suggestion of resignation, but McClintock has also been appropriately suspicious of the late-hit nature of these allegations. Forgive him if he’s not exactly rooting for Arnold to run away with the vote, and hoping his political future might reside in building a strong poll number on Election Day rather than genuflecting subserviently at every turn to the smell-the-name-ID pragmatists.

And then there’s poor, conflicted Andrew, who in one line says “All we should ask of our ‘leaders’ is competence, honesty and a certain amount of brains,” and a sentence later, insists “As to their sex lives, who cares? On the whole, it’s better to be ruled by a rogue than a saint.” You can’t prefer rogues to straw-man “saints” and then expect “honesty” as a strong point, unless of course, you expect to elect a Howard Stern-type character, who’s honestly horny and adulterous and doesn’t care who knows. I’m sure there are more qualifying traits in a politician than simply building a successful marriage (See Reagan, Ronald.) But Andrew’s sounding a little bit like he’s studying with Joe Klein at the Don Henley School of Statesmanship, where infidelity qualifies you for office, and having a very sloppy and checkered extramarital “love” life makes you interesting, even envied, as one of the boys, not so nerdy-geeky and Starr-like.

Tim GrahamTim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center, where he began in 1989, and has served there with the exception of 2001 and 2002, when served ...


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