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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The whole world's laughing

There are two basic rules involving men: 1) Men are obsessed with sex and will often do stupid, foolish things and 2) men will lie when they get caught doing stupid, foolish things.

But only in the United States are men who are caught cheating on their wives held accountable in the media. Check that: only politicians are held accountable. So if you are a corporate raider of a mass murderer stepping out on your wife, relax.

Let's stipulate a few things: John Edwards is a (fill in your favorite word) for cheating on his wife who has stood beside him throughout her own ordeal with cancer. Let's also stipulate that the political media is totally out to lunch by making this story the lead in major newspapers and broadcasts.

Edwards is a two-time presidential candidate and a two-time loser. In basic terms, his political career is toast. This story, generated by the same National Enquirer that brought you Gennifer Flowers, was a short item in the political briefs section deep in the A-section -- if that.

Spare me the excuse that he was on a short list for No. 2 (though a good case can be made that he is that substance). Does anyone honestly believe he would have accepted a second shot at second banana? Does anyone believe he would have been offered it in the first place?

But what infuriates me is the selective interest the media displays in tracking the foibles of our so-called leaders. Can someone tell me why the same full court press wasn't directed at George Bush's flip admission that "when I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible." What happened to the candidate "vetting" process then?

Here's an admitted recovering alcoholic surrounded by rumors of worse misdeeds. Not to mention someone who, time has clearly shown, lied about weapons of mass destruction so that he could start a war.

Why wasn't he put on the couch in the same way -- presuming we accept the rationale that the media must vet the moral code of our leaders.

And for that matter, why the short shrift his drunken driving record?

In the spirit of media zest for the truth, I have a few questions: tell me, in full detail, about the admittedly wild days of Naval Academy midshipman John McCain III. Tell me, in detail, about the the circumstance surrounding his divorce from his first wife and his marriage to the heir of a beer distributorship.

I want those stories on the front page and at the lead of television newscasts. Equal treatment and all that. McCain insists that the press treats Democrats differently -- and in this case he is quite correct.

In the meantime, the boys (and girls) on the bus should take a long cold shower and start covering real issues -- are we heading to a military intervention in the other Georgia? Why does Iraq project a $79 billion budget surplus while we are swimming in debt rebuilding their country?

The world is really starting to wonder about our priorities as a leader when we obsess on gossip over policy.

Or is too much fun to chant Johnnie and Rielle sittin' in a tree, kissing...

CORRECTION: Astute reader Dan Kennedy points out it got my supermarket tabloids mixed up. He is of course correct in noting it was The Star, not the Enquirer, that brought us Gennifer Flowers.

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