Political discourse in 21st-century America

Political discourse in 21st-century America

With former Sen. Fred Thompson looking like he’s about to jump in to the GOP primary race for president, the usual political long knives are coming out, starting with sneering references about his wife. Ironically, the first lecherous comments about Jeri Thompson come from former GOP congressman-turned-MSNBC talking head Joe Scarborough.

There’s no denying that the 40-something woman is beautiful, but does that justify insinuating that she “works the pole,” as if she’s a stripper? Of course, it’s not just Scaraborough, but plenty of liberals, who are starting to trot out the “GOP candidates and their bimbo wives” theme. Margery Eagan did it in Sunday’s Boston Herald. Ed Morrissey of the Captain’s Quarters Blog, from the first link above, encapsulates:

The counterbuzz around Thompson has started to center on his supposed “trophy wife”, as if he somehow should be blamed for dating beautiful women after his divorce. Thompson remained single for several years before marrying his current wife; he had also dated country singer Lorrie Morgan for a while as well. It’s hardly a scandal, it hardly makes Jeri Thompson a homewrecker or a whore, and it hardly qualifies as unusual.

Yes, Jeri is Fred’s second wife. He divorced in 1985 and remarried in 2002. Yes, as a Catholic, I think it’s a shame he’s divorced, but does that make him unfit for office?

Funny, it didn’t make any difference to the Democrats when John Kerry was the Democratic candidate for president that he had dated Hollywood actresses, like Catherine Oxenberg and Morgan Fairchild, after his divorce in the ’80s.

Gee, is there a double standard? Are Democrats expected to be shallow and focused on appearances while Republicans are hypocrites because they’re supposed to be uptight and anti-beauty and ant-sexuality? How long until the election?

Technorati Tags: | | | | |

  • But isn’t remarriage (adultery) more than a shame.  It’s a grave sin.  If we are truly concerned about America, I think we should think twice about electing an adulterer to the highest office in the government.

  • All men sin, but there’s a question of culpability for those who aren’t Catholic and don’t know that remarriage after divorce is a sin. While it’s a factor I take into consideration, it’s only one.

    My guess is that you won’t vote for any of the major party candidates. Am I correct?

  • I agree completely on culpability, Domenico.  A grave sin doesn’t necessary lead to mortal sin.  But still…  Pope Benedict, as Cardinal Ratzinger, wrote a really interesting article about conscience, in which he talks about how how we have to follow our malformed conscience, but are primarily responsible for that malformed conscience in the first place.  Interesting stuff.

    I’m not sure we should be voting for or against someone because of their holiness, but with something like marriage – that’s a huge issue in our society, relating to promiscuity, abortion, and contraception.  It just isn’t seen in that light.  Maybe by making his remarriage a big issue, we can inform the conscience of America.

    Although, I think Guiliani would be a better person to bring that point out.  Hasn’t he been remarried a few times, and is a supported of abortion?

    I will be abstaining this year.  I think my participation in politics is best served by refusing to support our national government.

  • And what was the circumstances of Thompson’s divorce? I think that should have some bearing.

    Frankly, your last sentence casts much light on the rest of what you wrote. Since you have the luxury of living in a country of relatively extreme health, freedom, and prosperity compared to anywhere else in the world or in history, even as you disdain the institutions that guarantee those three in the political order, you should probably just say Thank you to the rest of us who maintain those conditions and be done with it.

    I have no time or patience for anarchists.

  • I don’t think one has to be an anarchist to legitimately abstain from voting, though I myself am an anarchist.

    The circumstances of his divorce are less important than the circumstances of his marriage – was it a true marriage?  Regardless, I believe divorce and remarriage to be one of the great evils of our time – Jesus calls it adultery.

    I think there would be many people from many political background – especially libertarian and federalists, who would deny that the federal government has been the primary source of our freedoms.  Certainly when it comes to health and luxury, the federal government is less important than the industry of the people.  I give the credit to the people rather than the government.

  • In a constitutional republic, the government is the people. But when the people become apathetic or come to see the government as “other”—whether as an adversary or as a nanny—that’s when it becomes a problem. Too many people have caught the same disease and have now abdicated their responsibility for their own government and nation.

    When enough people say they refuse to participate because they don’t want to “support our national government” is it any wonder that we end where we are.

    That’s why I have no patience with your pie-in-the-sky philosophizing.

  • In a constitutional republic, the government is not the people.  People are persons.  The government is an organization, a social structure, a deliberative body whose goal is to represent the people.  The government is not the people.  The government, ideally, ought to represent the people.

    Of the people, by the people, for the people?

    The government may support the people to work together to build a peaceful and just society, or the government may get in the way.  Conservatives (not necessarily anarchists) believe that government ought to be limited – because the bigger it gets, the more often it gets in the way.

  • Ok, but aren’t we, the people who have received the blessing of a democracy, responsible to exercise all legitimate power to see that we have just representation? And since abortion and same-sex marriage are non-negotiable for Catholics, isn’t it our obligation to defend life and marriage with our vote, when possible?

  • Abstaining can take the form of casting blank ballots and write-ins. And this is perfectly acceptable for Catholics. There were some combox warriers at St Blog’s in 2004 who tried to convince people that such was not the case, but their arguments failed miserably.

  • I’d write in or use a blank ballot if I had voted in the primary and still there was NO one to vote for on election day, as in either no pro-life candidate or a blatantly false pro-life candidate ( ie, a white supremacist who favors “lynchings”, and chooses war as a first option and despises the poor). Otherwise, I don’t see what good a write-in does (unless it’s an organized one that sends a msg) other than make a personal statement to yourself or a good story for your buddies.

  • There’s a difference between abstaining from a particular ballot entry because there isn’t a good candidate and “refusing to support our national government.”