The question just begs to be asked.
"Aren't you ashamed of yourself?"
Well, yeah, I suppose so. I mean, who among us hasn't done something _ in my case, probably lots of things _ that if it got out wouldn't result in an accusatory correspondent from "60 Minutes" tapping on the front door?
I don't so much mind people in public life misbehaving. What gets me is that after they're caught and disgraced, they don't have the decency to slink off, never to be heard from again.
"My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go."
So said Shakespeare's King Claudius in "Hamlet," knowing that his prayers are phony and he's not the least bit remorseful about bumping off his brother.
Pretty smart fellow, that Shakespeare. Apparently it was as true in the 16th and 17th centuries as now that prominent people aren't so much sorry about what they did as they are sorry about getting caught doing it.
Another pretty smart fellow who could write a little bit, F. Scott Fitzgerald, said "There are no second acts in American lives."
But Mr. Fitzgerald had it all wrong.
How do we know?
Well, for one thing, Eliot Spitzer has his own TV show on CNN.
As New York governor, Spitzer promised that ethics and integrity would be the hallmarks of his administration. Then, having prosecuted several prostitution rings while state attorney general, he spent about $80,000 on sex with prostitutes and tried to cover up the bank machinations that paid for his trysts.
But there he is on our television screens, a Lazarus brought back to public life by a media culture that doesn't seem to know the difference between fame and notoriety.
Being famous is generally good. Being notorious is bad ... or is it?
Spitzer's revival was quick. So, for that matter was David Vitter's. Vitter, a Louisiana senator who called for Bill Clinton's resignation after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, admitted being a regular client at a house of prostitution in 2007. He got re-elected in 2010.
Recent history has proven that no matter what you do to shame yourself, if you wait around just a little bit, today's society will cut you all the slack you need.
Clinton is a good example. So was Richard Nixon, who years after being forced to resign the presidency for the Watergate cover-up, became a respected authority on foreign policy.
James Traficant was a congressman from Ohio who served seven years in prison for taking bribes, racketeering, filing false tax returns and making his assistants do work on his home and houseboat. After serving his time, Traficant got a radio talk show in Cleveland, then had the gall to run _ and lose _ in a race for his old House seat.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich was so corrupt that he was removed from office in an overwhelming vote by the Illinois legislature and prohibited from ever again holding public office in the state.
The last time we saw "Blago," he was appearing on Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" show.
G. Gordon Liddy was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the Watergate break-in, and was pardoned four years later by Jimmy Carter. Liddy, who twice advised listeners on the best way to kill Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms personnel, has a radio show syndicated in 160 markets and has been a guest panelist for Fox News Channel.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is making a lot of noise about running for president. Newt's first wife said he bugged her about a divorce while she was recovering in a hospital bed from cancer surgery. He denied that but did not dispute that he was having an affair with a woman he later married.
He was cheating on that wife in the mid-1990s with Callista Bisek, a staffer 23 years younger than he was, when he was leading the GOP probe into charging Clinton with perjury about his affairs. Newt married Bisek, and said recently that his love for America was what drove him to his cheating ways.
The list of shameless disgraced politicians goes on and on and on, from John Edwards to William Jefferson to Oliver North to John Ensign to Larry Craig, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.
Infidelities, corruption and avarice we can perhaps understand, and maybe even forgive. But it sure would be nice if all those guys would at least pretend to be ashamed of themselves.
"O shame," said Shakespeare's Hamlet, "where is thy blush?"
Sam Pollak is the editor of The Daily Star. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 607-432-1000, ext. 208.
The question just begs to be asked.
- Big Chuck D'Imperio
Upstate theme parks offered affordable thrills
I saw in the news last week that Disney theme parks are raising admission prices to almost $100 a person. Children (who Uncle Walt considers 10 and under) are now $86 a day.Continued ...
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- Safety Patrol D.C. visits never get old
- My pal Brucie, savior of Sidney's hospital
- Catching a whiff of 'Vermont Vapor'
- Upstate theme parks offered affordable thrills
- Cary Brunswick
Book-banning has a tendency to backfire
So what does the 1960s game show ``What's My Line'' got to do with the Bloomsday festivities occurring in Dublin, Ireland, this week? Surprisingly, there is a link.Continued ...
- Envisioning a world without terror
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- Plenty of blame to go around for Bangladesh horror
- Obama is going against his word on Social Security
- Book-banning has a tendency to backfire
- Chuck Pinkey
- Guest Column
- Lisa Miller
A view from above
Fire towers in the Catskill Mountains have always been destination points, built to capture some of the region’s best views. These sentinel stations served an important role for the earliest possible sightings of forest fires in the remote mountain ranges. But the fire towers and those who manned them fulfilled a multitude of other roles as well.Continued ...
- Being a parent is a constant learning process
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- Independent stores make up for loss of Borders
- A view from above
- Mark Simonson
- Otsego County woman drove her way to success
- 'Robber baron' helped provide landmark church in Roxbury
- Bridge workers found toxic surprise in Neahwa Park in 1988
- Oneonta became a movie set in June 1918
- Local marbles players sought national championship in 1948
- Rick Brockway
Don't play around with snappers
The other day, I was driving along Route 205 between Mount Vision and Hartwick. Suddenly, I had to swerve out of my lane to miss a huge snapping turtle. It was crossing from a large swamp on the left to some higher ground on the other side of the road.
- Emmons Pond Bog is pretty easy to enjoy
- Fishing has gotten a lot more complex
- Waterfalls are even better when you keep them to yourself
- Kids have sparkle in their eyes
- Don't play around with snappers
- Sam Pollak
Justice Dept., IRS abuses worth screaming about
"If this had happened while a Republican was president, the liberal media would be screaming."Continued ...
- THIS WEEK'S POLL
- Using time off in the worst way possible
- Terror lives on, and there's no end in sight
- Remembering the glory of their times
- Justice Dept., IRS abuses worth screaming about
- William Masters
Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues
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- Republicans feelentitled to allthey can garner An entitlement is a legal benefit available from the government to individuals who are within a defined category of recipients, such as needing insurance for unemployment or health services.
Romney focuses on self; Obama emphasizes unity
Mitt Romney criticizes President Obama for saying a person's success is rooted in his community, and is not all his alone. Romney belittles this with his belief in individual initiative. He is better at the put-down than the push-up.
Romney shows little regard for common man
The Republicans in Congress have voted over and over, 33 times, redundantly and uselessly, to rescind what they call Obamacare.
Scouts' gay ban creates problem where none exists
The Boy Scouts of America's "emphatic reaffirmation" of its vow to exclude any and all homosexuals from its hallowed ranks is ill-considered and pathetic, especially in view of its having reviewed the matter for two years.
- Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues