August 12, 2008
Politicians: Guilty of being caught
After former presidential candidate John Edwards admitted Friday he had had an affair in 2006, it was pretty much a guarantee the big Sunday columnists were going to scrapped their previously edited 20-inches of newshole to take on l’Affaire Edwards.
The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd did just that with “Keeping it Rielle,” in which she wrote: “It’s bizarre the way these pols spend millions getting their faces plastered everywhere and then think they can do something in secret.”
See, that is what a philosophy professor would call an invalid argument. It assumes one very important unsupported premise—that cheating politicians usually get caught. How long did it take former U.S. Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham to get nailed?
The list of politicians whose indecencies go unnoticed would be quite long.
“Every time a scandal breaks, people love the throw up their hands and say, ‘Aha, caught again. When will they ever learn?’” Isaac Chotiner wrote on the TNR blog, The Plank. “But how many famous politicians are conducting affairs right now that will never be discovered?”
That is the question Dowd’s assertion begs.