Remember when being a serious candidate for a serious political position such as governor or president often involved stories of great deeds, sacrifice, gallantry and honesty?
I grew up hearing stories about George Washington’s truthfulness, his daring, his bravery and leadership qualities. About Abraham Lincoln’s honesty and humble beginnings and Teddy Roosevelt wanting a fairer deal for all Americans. Stories about the first President Bush being a combat pilot in WWII and John Kennedy saving lives when his PT boat was destroyed during WWII.
When you mature you come to know that these people were never perfect but they never found it necessary to tout their mistakes as a means of gaining political position.
It must be different these days, however. For several years now America has been aware of David Vitter, the senior US Senator from Louisiana. Vitter was formerly a member of the US House of Representatives and is running for the governorship of his state. The thing that first brought Vitter’s name to the public was his being listed in the notebook of the famous DC Madam. Further investigations revealed Vitter has a long history with prostitutes. Most recently he has been accused of fathering a child with one of his long-time favorites.
David Vitter is not the first politician to shack up with a woman of the night and he won’t be the last. But when did having it publicly known not end one’s political career? In spite of all the bad news coverage, Vitter still has a chance of becoming his state’s next leader.
Another one that’s got me scratching’ my head is the revelation from Dr. Ben Carson that as a fourteen year old he had attempted to stab his friend. Recently Carson was accused of being “low energy.” In his own defense Carson brought up his bad behavior as a teenager as an example of how high energy he can get. He said, “As a teenager I would go after people with rocks, and bricks, and baseball bats, and hammers. Of course, many people know the story when I was 14 and I tried to stab someone.” Apparently Carson had attempted to stab a friend in the stomach and was unsuccessful because the knife blade broke when it struck the friend’s belt buckle.
Again, when did bringing up a violent side of one’s nature become acceptable as proof of not being low energy? How does that become a career maker and not a career breaker? These ain’t my granddaddy’s politics.