How Important is Morality to the Presidency?

Herman CainCal Thomas is a conservative columnist. Bob Beckel
is a liberal Democratic strategist. But as longtime friends, they can
often find common ground on issues that lawmakers in Washington cannot.

Today: Morality and presidential politics.

Cal: Adultery is as old as biblical times, so it’s not exactly “news” when someone — oh, Herman Cain,
for instance — is accused of infidelity. But the unsettled question in
American politics today is whether such behavior should disqualify a
person from public office.

Bob: If cheating on one’s spouse was cause for dismissal from a job, this country would have 100 million job openings overnight!

Cal: I’m talking about jobs that require the public’s trust, and specifically jobs to which people are elected. Should Cain have suspended his campaign because of the allegations of sexual harassment and adultery?

Bob: He was so politically damaged that he didn’t have much choice, really. Should GOP front-runner Newt Gingrich
walk away from the race because of his checkered marital past? Based on
current polling, it seems like a lot of folks in Republican circles
might be looking beyond his past indiscretions. Is all forgiven?

Cal: That’s between Gingrich, his family and his God.

Bob: And the voters.

True. I wonder, though, are such matters best left to the husband and
wife, or does this type of behavior reveal critical information about a
candidate? The defenders of Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky
affair made the case that it’s just about sex between two consenting
adults, so worry not. Perhaps we didn’t have the paradigm shift that
many thought we did after the Lewinsky affair.

Click here to continue reading…