The public hardly blinks an eye when powerful men and politicians are embroiled in extramarital affairs. Extramarital affairs of public officials barely register on the scandal-o-meter. In fact extramarital affairs are the fodder of gossip columns and make for a ratings bonanza for news network panels and late night talk shows. Instead of the general public being aghast at such revelations, audiences are captivated by the sordid details and the injured spousal reactions.
As long as the alleged govern well and win the publicity war, most have gone historically unscathed for their personal indiscretions: JFK, Clinton, Mark Sanford, Jesse Jackson (Sr. and/or Jr.) Politicians are temporarily shamed then lauded, oftentimes given promotions or rewards on behalf of the egalitarian set. Case in point, Anthony Weiner has a strong chance to become the next mayor of NYC. Sure, he likes to post pictures of his unmentionables–but where does he stand on gun control?
That leads us to General David Petraeus. After being caught in an extramarital scandal, not only did he resign his post as Director of the CIA, but he has also hardly been seen or heard from since. General Petraeus did make a public appearance back in March 2013 addressing veterans and the ROTC at University of Southern California, prefacing his remarks with an almost dutiful apology for his extramarital affair. Is it that General Petraeus adheres to a higher personal code of conduct than his civilian colleagues, or did he agree to pre-remark apologies as part of his plea agreement with the DOJ?
The colon-cleanse received by Petraeus biographer Paula Broadwell and fellow tryst, Jill Kelly, is noteworthy. Monica Lewinsky certainly received her media cavity search, but she seemed to escape this level of scrutiny by the FBI, NSA, IRS (take your bureaucratic Polyethylene glycol of choice). Marilyn Monroe ended up dead, so perhaps Monica should count herself lucky and stay in hiding.
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