Thursday, July 25, 2013

Personal lives are immaterial in politics


Another week has come and gone and another political sex scandal has steeped. This time with former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner — again.

Weiner is fighting like mad to make a rapid political comeback after resigning his congressional seat due to a sexting scandal. He seeks the only mayorship in America that matters — New York City. But he also finds himself right back in the thick of it, it having been revealed that he didn’t exactly stop sexting random women he meets on the Internet after he resigned in disgrace and promised to be a changed man.

By the grace of God — or something — his wife has again forgiven his virtual indiscretions and asked the people of New York to elect her husband despite his tomfoolery. But the question remains: Will sexters in the city forgive Weiner’s dalliances? Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, in the same city, former (disgraced) Gov. Eliot Spitzer is also seeking political redemption. His personal shortcomings were discussed in this column two weeks ago. In short, while governor, he sought out high-priced hookers and more eggregiously (in my opinion) cheated on his wife. But as I mentioned previously, he paid the price for his mistakes and somehow his wife has also forgiven him.

Personally, I couldn’t care less who Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner send nude photos to. It matters not one iota who they sleep with on their own time. And as stated previously, I don’t even care if they pay for it — and the voters of the Big Apple shouldn’t either.

What should matter to people is whether these people can do a good job at the offices they’re running for.

The concept of “character counts” when it comes to politics should be thrown right out the window. We’re not voting for the position of best friend. We’re not hiring a nanny. We’re looking for people who can make decisions that are in the best interest of our communities as a whole.

You may recall about 15 years ago or so when the biggest problem this nation had was the fact that our Commander in Chief had an affair with an intern. Sure other people had other issues with him, but really his biggest flaw was his sexual ego.

After Bill Clinton left office, we got a member of the moral majority in charge and things kind of went to pot. Coincidence? Maybe. But I’ll take Bill Clinton’s flaws over George W. Bush’s any day.

There is, however, a portion of the country that would disagree with me wholeheartedly. They’d rather have a squeeky clean moralist who royally stinks at running the country than a jerk who’s really good at it.

I want my friends to be nice people but I don’t really care if they’re good at their jobs. I want my employees to be good at their jobs but I don’t really care if they’re good at their marriages.

When it comes down to it, politicians are our employees and unless their personal lives make them incapable of doing their jobs, they should remain personal. Not public.

Scott Leffler is an expert in character flaws and schooled in politics. Follow him on Twitter @scottleffler.