The media's reverence for John McCain is really beginning to look silly. For a while, after the John Edwards sex scandal broke, a few people in the blogosphere thought that perhaps in the interest of journalistic integrity, questions surrounding John McCain's fidelity might start being kicked around in the political media.
Democrats have known better.
Of course, the tire-swingers would tell us that it was the National Enquirer that broke the story, that no respectable media wrote about it before Edwards admitted the affair on 20/20, that the rumors swirling around McCain need substantiation before they can be asked in good faith, that a candidate's private life should be respected unless it might interfere with their ability to run the country and that even Barack Obama is tired of the old politics of personal destruction.
But that ignores two key reasons (and a couple of ancillary reasons) for asking the question.
First, John McCain has absolutely no shot of winning this election of the Christian Right does not turn out for him in substantial numbers. (Witness his VP pick). To the extent these voters rely on the media to provide an accurate and complete picture of the candidates, they are being massively underserved by the 4th Estate. The question of whether or not John McCain has followed the 10 Commandments -- whether the elites in the media think it is tasteful or not -- is relevant to a key segment of his base. It is unforgivable for the media to ignore their concerns.
Second -- and more importantly -- is the fact that John McCain has claimed that his "greatest moral failing" was the failure of his first marriage.
I don't think any reasonably informed observer could have possibly come away from that exchange without believing that McCain was referencing his well-known philandering that eventually led to his meeting, bedding and marriage to Cindy McCain. At the time, Cindy was 24. John was 42.
The point is this: if John McCain says his disrespectful behavior toward his first wife was loathsome... If he considers it his "greatest moral failing"... Well... Is there anything in his more recent past that he would also consider morally repugnant? And if there is, does that say anything about John McCain's ability to learn lessons from history? Does it say anything about how he may handle other emotionally-charged situations? Does he have the capacity to draw upon experience and reject the morally-repugnant path when an easier, more tempting path lies before him?
I want to show you something:
Roberta McCain -- John's Mother
Cindy McCain -- John's Wife
Vicki Iseman -- the lobbyist McCain is rumored to have courted. She's 41; 13 years younger than Cindy McCain. Do you see a pattern here, Oedipus?
Anyway, I mentioned earlier that there were also a couple of ancillary reasons that McCain's peccadilloes may be newsworthy.
This is John McCain during the 1998 impeachment proceedings:
Presidents are not ordinary citizens. They are extraordinary, in that they are vested with so much more authority and power than the rest of us. We have a right; indeed, we have an obligation, to hold them strictly accountable to the rule of law.
Oh, and for the record, John McCain voted guilty on both counts of impeachment.
Finally, I think we will all recall the conservative caterwauling about Bill Clinton being too preoccupied with his zipper (and its consequences) to properly hunt down Osama bin Laden. If that is the case -- and you'd be hard-pressed to find a conservative Republican that does not stand by the assertion -- then how wise it to install another president that may very well be easily distracted by every passing skirt? Especially today -- with a hot war on terror, a boondoggle in Iraq, the domestic mess we're in on the economic and cultural fronts... Won't conservatives agree that we need a stable family man that respects the 10 Commandments and upholds family values in the Oval Office?
So again... given that such a large slice of the population has expressed such grave concern for the rule of law and traditional values... Why does the media refuse to ask the simple question so many demand: John McCain, has your marriage to Cindy McCain always been monogamous? If not, when was the last time sexual intimacy took place outside of marriage?