Marital Infidelity No Longer a Barrier to Public Service

Cal Thomas | Syndicated Columnist | Monday, July 16, 2001

Marital Infidelity No Longer a Barrier to Public Service

There are calls by some members of Congress -- most of them Republicans -- for California congressman Gary Condit to resign his seat in the wake of the Chandra Levy affair. Excuse me, but some of the Republicans calling for Condit's resignation have some problems of their own. Georgia's Bob Barr, for example, has had three wives. Congress may be the last place to call for resignations based on immorality, given it's own checkered past and present.

During the Clinton administration, we were told that sex doesn't matter; only a politician's position on political issues. What makes the Condit situation different from other sexual improprieties is that in his case, the woman in the affair is missing and police are conducting a criminal investigation.

In days long gone, an extra-marital affair would have been enough to bring shame on and the resignation of a political figure. Once, a politician could not be elected if he had been divorced. Condit's situation depends on how outraged his constituents are, and, of course the polls. Moral standards have long been abandoned.

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