I was listening to NPR today at work and an interview came on that I thought was very interesting.
Here's what's going on:
The gist of it is, this guy, Narendra Modi, is running for prime minister in India with the persuasive platform that because he is living the bachelor life, he will have more time and ability to devote himself to the job. It turns out he actually still has a wife, although he contends that the marriage was loveless and purely a business relationship, which based on the limited evidence presented, seems reasonably likely to be true. What really got me thinking was when the interviewer was speaking with a supporter of Modi, and asking her about how this recent revelation might affect his chances or anyone's opinion of him.
I can't find the transcript of the interview, but basically she was saying, 'why would his personal life matter when we have so many other problems at hand?' The interviewer countered with something like, 'well, shouldn't it matter?'
And that's the question, should it matter?
It seems to me that when these politicians get busted in the US, your anthony weiners, your john edwardssss, your kissing congressmen etc. they aren't kicked out because they're bad politicians (partisan feelings aside) but simply because of a misstep in their personal lives. I'd also point out that there are probably plenty of politicians, good and bad, that probably did these things and got away with it. Look at Thomas Jefferson and all his slave babies.
And, I think with the advent of social media these kinds of things will only become more prevalent when the younger people start getting into office and the things they put on facebook/twitter/DP fourms ten years ago will come back to haunt them.
Bill Clinton was president during one of the most prosperous times in US history, and he was almost removed from office for getting a BJ. The current president of France, Francois Hollande is in the middle of some serious soap opera business right now as well, yet few french consider that something revealing about his effectiveness. Do Americans put too much stock into it, assuming that it is some non-criminal aspect of their personal lives?