The Washington Post's resident "compassionate conservative" and proponent of good Evangelical Christian family values, Michael Gerson, today brings us a defense of infidelity.
Even if the accusation of infidelity were true, this kind of past relationship is hardly disqualifying for high office anymore, given a series of more prurient precedents.Yeah, even if the Presidential candidate of the "family values" party has cheated on his wife, yawn, no biggie.
An affair between adults is a far cry from President Bill Clinton's exploitation of an intern, which involved not merely a failure of character but also an abuse of power.Let's see... Monica Lewinski did not work for Bill Clinton, nor was he involved in supervising her. At the time their relationship started, Lewinski had accepted (but had not yet started) a staff position at the Office of Legislative Affairs. She was 22 years old and, if Gerson investigates, I'm sure he will be able to figure out that a 22-year-old is an adult. Lewinski has never claimed to have been "exploited" or even misled by Clinton.
Don't mistake this as a defense of Clinton. His judgment in this context was atrocious, both in having the relationship and in lying about it. But it is repulsive that people like Gerson (self-professed Christians and otherwise) are still lining their pockets by lying about the affair, or (giving him the benefit of the doubt, as such) that our nation's leading newspapers give immense compensation to columnists who are that stupid and ill-informed.
Am I attributing to stupidity what might better be explained by misogyny? Why the eagerness to infantilize a 22-year-old woman? Have any of the men who get all weepy about how Lewinsky was "exploited" ever engaged in similar infantilization of a 22-year-old male?
Compare and contrast:
Gov. George W. Bush - whom I worked for at the time - was forced to admit a youthful DUI conviction, which reinforced a public image of frat-boy recklessness. The Bush campaign questioned the timing and source of the revelation - both of which were questionable - but police reports are usually accurate.You have G.W., admitting to a conviction of drunk driving, yet Gerson is still trying to imply that it may not have actually happened and is giving G.W. the "wink wink, nudge nudge, you know how frat boys are" treatment. Incredible.