“I wish we could go back to the time when the private lives of our public figures were relevant only if they directly affected their public responsibilities. What would we have done if F.D.R. had not been our leader because he had had an affair with Lucy Mercer? —Doris Kearns Goodwin
No one has ever heard of Lucy Mercer. In due time, Paula Broadwell will fade as well. If it turns out, when all the dust settles, that David Patraeus had an affair and there was no breach of national security, we should thank him for over 40 years of service to the country anyway. Unless some extraordinary new information comes to light, the CIA Director, who previously led the nation through Iraq and Afghanistan as a four-star General, most likely should be questioned more on drone attacks that killed innocent people or Benghazi rather than his personal life.
Yes, sex scandals are always a driver of attention, audience and traffic. Which is why the press is likely to waste energy on a situation that only invloves four people as more important issues sit ignored. In September, we learned that 2,000 U.S. soldier were killed in Afghanistan. A total of 4,486 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2012. Leaders like Gen. Patraeus should be led into conversation about these matters now more than ever.
While we’re at it, it also might be interesting to learn the details of how the FBI got the authority to read private e-mail accounts for a substantial time? Was that the result of new Patriot Act authority? And why would the FBI be investigating the CIA Director without the CIA Director’s boss or the President knowing about it?
LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE, Politic365 Managing Editor, publishes the blog Crewof42 on the Congressional Black Caucus. She can be heard every Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET on WMCS 1290 in Milwaukee on Earl Ingram’s show The Evening Rush as well as on WPFW 89.3 every Friday at 6:30 p.m. Ms. Burke is a former employee of USAToday.com and ABC News. You can e-mail her at LBurke007@gmail.com follow her on twitter @Crewof42.