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 email@example.com or at 607-432-1000, ext. 208.
The question just begs to be asked.
- Big Chuck D'Imperio
My pal Brucie, savior of Sidney's hospital
Ask any hospital administrators if they've ever heard of a closed hospital in New York state that has ever been re-opened. They will say, "Impossible." In a half century of going through records you can't find any.Continued ...
- Catching a whiff of 'Vermont Vapor'
- Selections from the virtual mailbag
- Recalling days of 'Doughnut King'
- Opera great's visit still a thrilling memory
- My pal Brucie, savior of Sidney's hospital
- Cary Brunswick
We've become our own worst enemies
The past month has been marked by a seeming unprecedented number of man-made tragedies, as distinct from those caused by violent outbursts of the natural world, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis.Continued ...
- Plenty of blame to go around for Bangladesh horror
- Obama is going against his word on Social Security
- Reflecting on a Florida trip
- Those magnificent spies in their flying machines
- We've become our own worst enemies
- Chuck Pinkey
- Guest Column
Records seizure is an insult to free press
Distrust of government secrecy has been elevated to an exceptional level with the disclosure the Justice Department covertly examined two months of Associated Press phone records to determine who leaked details to the AP about a foiled terrorist plot.Continued ...
- The evangelical view of same-sex marriage
- Manor's fate will be Otsego board's legacy
- A closer look at our economy - Part II
- Use fracking to fill budget gaps
- Records seizure is an insult to free press
- 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
- Healthy doesn't have to mean expensive
- A family era ends with close of Potter series
- Independent stores make up for loss of Borders
- A view from above
- Mark Simonson
Sunday movies in Oneonta finally shown in 1934
You know an issue is divisive when a vote to resolve it is quite close. In Oneonta during the early 1930s there were probably plenty of discussions or arguments at the family dinner table or sermons from the pulpits on Sunday mornings, regarding whether or should be able to see a movie in Oneonta on Sunday.Continued ...
- Politics, fitness and landmarks dominated local news in May 1968
- Local people sought income in many ways in 1933
- Local windstorm in 1983 caused tense moments
- Disaster, expansions put people to work in May 1913
- Sunday movies in Oneonta finally shown in 1934
- Rick Brockway
Kids have sparkle in their eyes
When I was in my teens, old Bill Naatz told me about a stream north of Lake George where a man had panned out enough gold to make his wife a wedding band. It was all rumors, but to his grandson and myself, it sounded like the makings of a great adventure.
- People make the outdoors even better
- Turkey season has ups and downs
- Spring air isn't always the freshest
- Adriondacks keep growing and growing
- Kids have sparkle in their eyes
- Sam Pollak
Using time off in the worst way possible
"You don't mean it," I pleaded. "You simply can't mean it!"Continued ...
- Terror lives on, and there's no end in sight
- Remembering the glory of their times
- Column on guns led to a barrage of (mostly) jeers
- No one is coming to take your guns
- Using time off in the worst way possible
- William Masters
Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues
As the time to vote draws near, we need to remember how money can run politics more than we can. Raising funds is a prominent (if not the dominant) task of getting elected. Raising issues is also crucial, but those efforts are subject to distortion and fear-mongering.
- 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