Friday, June 26, 2009

Dangerous Liaisons

There are worse things than having a governor slip quietly out of sight, and out of the country, for a romantic rendezvous with a woman other than his wife, in my opinion. Arguably more alarming is when your governor is jetting off to that den of inequity, Washington D.C., to have flirtatious fundraising liaisons hosted by some of the city's most powerful lobbyists -- here and here -- and the only reason you find out about it is because a group of union goons is following the governor around, tossing a tantrum about something.

Mark Sanford's betrayal of his wife raises questions about his personal integrity, but has little relevance to the question of how well he functions as governor, in my opinion. Bill Ritter's dalliance with Washington lobbyists and out-of-state donors, by contrast, raises serious questions about his political integrity, and could directly impact the decisions he makes as a politician and a governor.

But Mark Sanford's dangerous liaison in Argentina likely will ruin his career, while Bill Ritter's fundraising trip to Washington will help his (unless his Colorado constituents begin to wonder why he's attracting so much interest and money from liberal Democrats out of state). I see some ironies in that.

Mark Sanford fell for a woman other than his wife. Bill Ritter is seducing, or being seduced by, out-of-state donors and organizations that expect some policy payoff for their political support. Sanford acted out of love and passion, apparently. Ritter acted out of lust for campaign contributions and his burning political ambition.

Which is the more serious breach of the public trust -- and which individual is the bigger reprobate -- in your view? Who's the bigger whore, in short? Just a question to ponder as we wander the foggy borderlands between personal and public morality.

1 comment:

Todd H. said...

I mostly agree. Sanford's affair is unfortuate for his family and he should have handeled it differently (ie leave his wife if he loved the other woman more, and come clean about the affair), but the way he did it raises questions about his judgement. He is one of the most high profile politicians in the country and he thinks that he can dissapear for 5 days over Father's day weekend and no one will get suspicious. In a time when we reallyy don't trust our politicians, now is not a good time to be playing games like that. His own stupid behavior made the story more interesting and shows his lack of judgement. This Ritter story, though does sound like it should be a bigger deal, this is the first I have heard of it though. I think the moral of this story is all politicians are whores and we should take their power away from them, because they are all scum.