What lessons in moral behavior for aspiring presidents may we take away from the events of recent campaigns? With Herman Cain's campaign suspension over accusations of extramarital affairs, the candidate who has risen to first place among Republicans is none other than former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich -- a man who left two wives for women with whom he was having affairs -- the second, a House staffer.
Keeping in mind, too, the Clinton mess and the John Edwards we never really knew, four simple lessons emerge for anyone who may think of running for the highest office in our land:
1. Schedule adultery so that it does not occur in close proximity to or during your election campaign.
2. When condition 1 is observed, you may leave your spouse for the other person even early in her/his fight with a life-threatening illness like cancer or multiple sclerosis.
3. Serial indiscretions are fine so long as number 1 above applies.
4. Always appear above criticism about your infidelity. Maintain that your message is more important than past personal behavior, that you have a handle on family values, and don't forget to mention what you and God have worked out.
If recent polls are correct, this is the emerging lesson young people may take from future presidential primaries: Do as you please, lie, hurt people close to you even when they're possibly at death's door. Just don't commit the cardinal campaign transgression of inauspicious timing and you may one day be president.
Kathleen also blogs at Comebacks at Work.
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