Saturday, February 23, 2008

Clinton, Condit, Vitter, and Craig: Why I'm Not Laughing

For all the back-and-forth we've heard on political sex scandals in the past decade, and through all the late-night TV jokes, there's a key point that's been almost altogether left out of the discussion -- the very real danger that these individuals have posed to our national security.

So, you might be wondering, what in the heck does a gay liaison in a Minnesota public bathroom have to do with our national security? Or someone paying for the *privilege* of wearing diapers, or sleeping with an intern? All are fair questions, and here's the answer:

All these men are a) in positions of serious power, and b) hold security clearances. All were (at least initially) in denial about the aforementioned "extracurricular activities." If the Iranians, the Russians, the Chinese or whoever else were aware of these politicians' sexual peccadilloes, it's not that hard to imagine a blackmail scenario. In fact, the "honey trap" was among the most successful Cold War spy tactics used against us (most famously, it led to the compromise of the vault in our embassy in Moscow in the mid-1980s).

Bill Clinton's "lapse in judgement" address in August 1998 will go down in history as one of the worst presidential speeches ever, for the finger-wagging condescension with which he told us, "Even Presidents have private lives." In that sense, he's completely wrong.

Just ask yourself this -- what lengths do you think Bill Clinton or Larry Craig would have gone to in order to protect their secrets from getting out to the public? Given their initial vigorous denials and then the smug sense of righteous indignation they've displayed toward the media and the public, I think the answer should be self-evident.

And now it's not so funny any longer, is it? I, for one, am not laughing.

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