The Real Problem

I’m thinking more about this business with Jack Ryan and the sex clubs, and now there’s some push to get John Kerry to release his divorce papers as well. Others are pushing back, standing up for Kerry’s and Ryan’s right to “privacy.” I think this is a mistaken view of what’s going on. A right to privacy is never going to stand up in this sort of case. After all, rights can be waived, and an innocent man has nothing to hide, right? Plus, simply hassling someone about their sex life will force them to say something about it, and once they’ve said something, the case becomes about their all-important credibility. The real culprit here, I’m afraid, is not an over-intrusive press, but an extraordinarily silly electorate and reading public which seems to feel that a candidate for office’s sex life is an important consideration in decided whether or not to vote for him (or her).

Near as I can tell, there’s no reason whatsoever to think that a candidate who’s cheated on his wife (or pressured her to visit sex clubs or whatever else) will do any worse than a candidate who likes vanilla sex in the context of marriage. I mean, honestly, what kind of difference could it possibly make? I’m totally stumped. But people really seem interested in this stuff, and as long as they are the press will cover and politicians will lie about it and then the press will say they’re raising questions about the person’s honesty (as if there are any adult people who’ve never told a lie about anything and we live in a George-and-the-cherry-tree fairy tale) and there will be more pressure to disclose etc., etc., etc., etc.