Monday, July 2, 2018

Quickies: Philanderers In The White House

     It seems that it’s become obligatory to criticize President Trump’s history of dalliances even in an article that expresses overall approval of him as president:

     Now, this shouldn't be understood as me saying that I think Trump's character is good. He has a long history of stiffing small contractors, he made a whole television career out be being a blowhard and a bully in The Apprentice, and he seems to have a real problem with keeping his pants zipped when he should. He seems to be only indifferent honest. At best. [Emphasis added by FWP]

     For the record, all the following presidents are known to have had mistresses and affairs while in or campaigning for the office:

  • Grover Cleveland
  • Warren Harding
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Bill Clinton you see, Donald Trump is not the first man of somewhat relaxed sexual mores to sit in the Oval Office. (I could go on about the terrible presidencies of some of the bluenoses, but I don’t think it’s relevant at this time.)

     We elect our presidents on a sheaf of criteria that’s only partly connected to their characters. (If character were the only relevant consideration, we certainly wouldn’t have elected William Jefferson Clinton.) Donald Trump, the great majority of whose questionable involvements occurred twenty years or more ago, attained the presidency for reasons other than his unswerving fidelity to his first wife. And for my money, he was a damned good choice.

     Recently a friend suggested that while Trump is indeed an effective Right-leaning president, nevertheless we shouldn’t be so reluctant to criticize him when he deserves it. Her point deserves sober reflection, but not because a president is expected to display high standards of personal conduct. Rather, we should take into account both changes in the national mores on marital and sexual conduct, as well as the lowering of marital and sexual standards that the aforementioned presidents brought to the office.

     This could be seen as a tu quoque argument. In a way, it is one. My point is merely that previous presidents had already lowered the standards, while the rest of the nation was following along in its homes and social gathering places.

     Many aspects of American life changed over the course of the Twentieth Century. Anyone who remembers the rapid changes in sexual morals that followed the Pill and the Motel will be nodding at this point. It would be foolish to think that those who roam the corridors of power would go unaffected. Indeed, given their penchant for awarding themselves privileges and exemptions the rest of us would never be allowed, it was always more likely that they would be the ones “leading the way.”


daniel_day said...

I used to have civil conversations with a certain loyal Democrat and supporter of 0bama. One day she and I agreed to reveal, the next time we met, what we actually disliked about the 2016 candidates we supported.
"You go first," she said. I explained what I disliked about Donald Trump.
When it was her turn, she reflected for a moment, then said that there was really nothing she disliked about Hillary Clinton.
I didn't argue the point. It is a waste of breath to talk politics with such. I knew that whatever I came up with, she would discount as lies or exaggeration.
The left has long had the rule Pas d'ennemis à gauche (No enemies on the left), i.e., to refrain from public criticism of its allies, no matter how warranted. See above comment on wasting one's breath.

bryanb said...

for personal reasons in keeping with my family's best interest, i spent some time myself looking into the origins of the so called sexual revolution, at least the 20th century's manifestation.

i found this article informative.