Tapper Watch: McCain Divorce Edition

This isn’t really about Tapper in particular so much as it’s about the Washington press corp at large, but Tapper puts about as good an example as you could find in this post about the LA Times story on McCain’s first wife:

Defenders of Bill Clinton have long argued that this kind of peek into a politician’s personal lives is nobody’s business. I wonder if they feel that way about McCain’s story as well.

This is one of those really maddening tics the Washington press corp has. Everyone has to be a hypocrite, and things have to be boiled down as simplistically as they can be to make contradictions appear. The truth of the matter is that I don’t know anyone who actually thinks personal bad behavior by politicians is totally off limits. I’m sure there are some out there, but I’m not one of them and neither is anyone I know. I don’t think Bill Clinton should have been impeached for having an affair, but that’s a far cry from saying that I think a politician’s personal life is off limits entirely politically. If, say, Senator Finnister has an affair and one of his constituents decides that he simply can’t trust his Senator and votes against him in the next re-election campaign, that’s a perfectly reasonable conclusion to reach. Or if a moralizing, “family values” touting Senator from Louisiana gets caught frequenting prostitutes extramaritally to indulge his diaper fetish and the good people of Louisiana feel lied to, deceived, or otherwise angry at Senator Diaper, er, Vitter, then more power to them. In short, I think it has validity as a matter of personal political estimation when the politician himself makes it an issue, either through statements or through the way they have presented themselves.

Which brings me to John McCain. To simply say that McCain divorced his first wife Carol is kind of an understatement. Basically, while McCain was in the Hanoi Hilton Carol had a sever car accident that required a lot of medical attention and left her shorter, wife a limp, and wife facial disfigurements. When McCain came back, he had a modicum of political celebrity, and a close friendship with the Reagans that earned him some choice government positions. After a while, he began an affair with Cindy, a younger, rich, pretty heiress and subsequently divorced Carol, which apparently came as a shock to a lot of people who knew them for its abruptness.

And all of that would be his own business and I wouldn’t really care one way or the other, except that McCain is explicitly campaigning on his own honor and virtue. And truth be told, I can’t think of many things less honorable than the way he treated Carol McCain.