Sunday, June 28, 2009

June 26, 2009

"The bottom line is this," he said, "I have been unfaithful to my wife."  He said it all started about a year ago, "that whole sparking thing."  Then the relationship went into "serious overdrive."  They met twice in secret;  third time, not so lucky. So, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford joins a distinguished list:  former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, Republican Senators John Ensign of Nevada and David Vitter, Louisiana.  Want to go back a littler earlier?  Add President Bill Clinton, former Republican Senator Larry Craig, former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey...  What gets into these guys?  I used to think it was simply arrogance - "I'm big and powerful;  I can get away with stuff.  You can't."  But there have been so many now who didn't get away with it that it's hard to imagine a thoughtful newcomer to the gang adopting that rationalization - especially a Republican who has run as "Mr. Family Values Guy" knowing perfectly well that he isn't. It's also possible that it's easier for Democrats to cheat.  Did John Kennedy?  Everybody I knew back then who covered him thought so.  Did his brother, Edward?  Same answer. And perhaps the most flamboyant -  "In your face, voters;  I got away with it" - was Bill Clinton, a reasonably successful, easily re-elected two-term president.  I remember covering stories in Cuba (the Pope was visiting Fidel) when half of us suddenly got cables:  "Come home!  There's this intern!  Come home!"  Well, we did go home and we did all learn about the intern.  Monica, her name was.  And we learned about the blue dress, cigars and kneepads.  Lurid?  Yes.  Vulgar?  Yes.  Gotten away with?  Damn straight.  You can argue about the tarnish on his presidency.  You can't argue that he survived impeachment. Is it easier for Democrats to sin unpunished?  I don't know.  The only thing we can be sure of, to paraphrase Yogi Berra, is that it ain't over 'til it's over.  And, in fact, it ain't over.  You can almost hear the anchor announcing, "Joining Mark Sanford and John Ensign is...."  But I'll leave the next name up to you.  I'm sure we both agree, there will be one.
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1 comment:

Mark Harmon said...

Dear Bruce Morton,

I am doing some research for a book on news coverage of antiwar veterans during the time of the Vietnam War. I'd appreciate your thoughts on one particular question. In April 1971 more than a thousand Vietnam Veterans Against the War protested at the Capitol and received substantial coverage. Little more than a year later more than a thousand members of the same group did some very dramatic protests at the Republican Convention and received very little coverage, print or broadcast. What factors do you think led to the difference?

Cordially yours, Dr. Mark D. Harmon, associate professor, University of Tennessee,
333 Communications & UEB, Knoxville, TN 37996-0333