Monday, June 9, 2008

Ross Pretzels on Cue

Picking up this discussion begun by Matt Yglesias, salty unleavened piecework moralist Ross Douthat tries to explain how supporting John McSame is consistent with frothing over "family values":

[A]n America in which politicians had a more difficult time recovering from flagrant private misbehavior would be a better place to live and vote and marry in.
Definitely. The difficulties faced by Bill Clinton for his flagrant private misbehavior made the America of 1998 better to live, vote, and marry in. Whereas living, voting, and marrying have become all but impossible in post-1998 America, an America in which Bill Clinton roams free (cue terrifying music).
It's not that I think an adulterer can't be an effective political leader;
Unless, of course, the adulturer's name is Bill Clinton, or he belongs to the Democratic party. In which case every possible resource must be devoted to purging the moral taint.
it's that I'd like to see the social costs of sexual misconduct go up, at least on the margins, and having certain avenues to prominence closed off to you if you decide to ditch your family and take up with a younger, richer, healthier woman seems like a reasonable cost to impose on would-be divorcees.
Unless, of course, the adulterer-divorcee is named John McCain, or he belongs to the Republican party. In which case the social costs should be the broadest possible support from right-wing hack moralists.
All of that said, though, we're obviously a long, long way from that state of affairs
A long way indeed: look at Bill Clinton! What did he ever suffer for his private transgressions?! Or take Gary Hart -- no consequences to be seen!
and things being what they are, I'm not going to argue that social conservatives should deliver the White House to Obama in order to make a futile protest against the decline of masculine honor among our politicians.
Vote McSame! We're powerless to hold politicians accountable to the moral standards we claim to uphold!

I believe Ross Douthat has insulted all pretzels everywhere.

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