Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Monday, November 26, 2012

Behavior not considered a scandal

Wash. Post columnist Dana Milbank writes:
Petraeus resigned as CIA director because an FBI probe uncovered an extramarital affair with his biographer. Lawmakers are demanding to know why the FBI didn’t tell them sooner.

Yet the investigation has found no smoking gun — just a few steamy e-mails. President Obama said he sees “no evidence” that national security was compromised, and there’s no serious allegation that the affair harmed Petraeus’s spy work, so it’s baffling that the director of national intelligence suggested, and the president accepted, Petraeus’s resignation.

In truth, Petraeus’s behavior doesn’t even merit the label “scandal.” L’affaire Petraeus lacks every element of the definition.

For those too easily scandalized, let’s review what makes a Washington sex scandal: ... Idaho Republican Larry Craig had to resign from the Senate because the man he interacted with in the neighboring stall was a police officer. ... And former presidential candidate John Edwards might not be quite so reviled if not for the hush money collected from wealthy donors to keep his affair quiet. ...

If Petraeus is guilty of anything, it’s the hubristic belief, endemic in this town, that he was too powerful to get caught. But in this case, what he got “caught” doing is his business and his wife’s — not the nation’s.
No, Larry Craig did not resign. Some people doubted his story, but no one ever proved that he was lying. John Edwards was acquitted of the corruption charge, but that was not the scandal that drove him from political life. He fathered a child with a campaign worker and denied it, while forcing another worker to falsely claim paternity.

I post this to point out that the mainstream press sees nothing wrong with a married general being seduced by a married homewrecking biographer. Milbank is not even bothered that one of his Wash. Post buddies ghostwrote that biography, or that these unstable women got generals to write letters to the family court to take sides in a child custody dispute.

Once there was shame in a top military officer being compromised, in a wife leaving two small kids to chase a married man on the other side of the world, and in lying to the family court. Now I think that Petraeus only lost his job because the Obama administration wanted to make him a scapegoat for the Benghazi scandal. They kept quiet about the affair until the election, and then used his FBI file to force him out of office.

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