Saturday, July 07, 2007

Personal Politics

Another politician, another affair. I know that this is hardly a new phenomenon, but it almost feels like it is becoming the norm. Democrat or Republican (ex: Bill Clinton & Newt Gingrich), there is adultery on both sides and at all levels of government. This seems especially true if you are the mayor of a big city (ex: Rudy Giuliani, Gavin Newsom, and now Antonio Villaraigosa).

As details about Mayor Villaraigosa's affair with a reporter sweep the national headlines daily (City Hall Saga Put Telenovelas to Shame is my favorite thus far), I think a lot of people are asking if it matters. Do what politicians do behind closed doors matter?

For the sake of full disclosure, I have never cared for the Mayor. I am one of the few people in Los Angeles who voted against him twice. I always got the sense that he was fake, selfish, and media-obsessed. While he charmed the masses of LA, people I know that had worked with him described him as one of the sleaziest politicians around. Now this affair pretty much affirms what I always thought about him, though it gives a whole new meaning to "media whore."

But does it matter? If the Mayor had actually been accomplishing good things for LA instead of just seeming to pop up at any event where there is a camera, I think people wouldn't care about this story as much. If the Mayor hadn't been having an affair with a reporter that raises serious questions about conflict of interest, then I think people wouldn't care as much.

And people didn't care so much about his previous extramarital affair when he was running for mayor. That's because they thought he had been doing good things in the State Assembly and didn't let his personal life interfere with his work. But that seems different now.

In the end, I know I shouldn't judge the Mayor as a person, even though I know I do. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

However, as one of his former constituents, I can judge him as a politician. And if his character and things in his personal life (which by the way, he has made very public by holding several press conferences after he asked for privacy) confirm doubts about his leadership ability, then it does matter.

No comments: