At what point does the private life of a political candidate or officeholder became part of his/her public life?
When does how one conducts their private life influence or potentially influence how they conduct their public life?
When the personal life of a candidate or officeholder is smeared with admitted impropriety, does he/she have a right to a "private" life?
Maybe more to the point, does a candidate and/or officeholder in reality actually ever have a private or personal life, or are they always on public display due to their always wanting public support?
Those certainly are among the questions that many New York City voters will have to answer when they go to the polls to elect a new mayor.
They also undoubtedly are asking themselves how long they would stay with a spouse, such as Anthony Weiner, who repeatedly has admitted and been caught sending sexual pictures and messages to female fans even after his humiliating resignation in 2011 from the U.S. Congress?
Weiner's politically well-connected wife, Huma Abedin, who was a top aide to former first lady, presidential candidate and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and who has been said to have an uncanny ability to weave through the chaos of presidential campaigns and diplomatic overseas trips, has vowed to stay with her husband because, "Quite simply, I love my husband, I love my city, and I believe in what he wants to do for the people of New York."
I wonder how many non-politically connected wives would have the same reaction?
Understandably, Abedin is being kept at arm's length by Hillary Clinton, who we all remember had her own issues when Bill Clinton, then president, was caught in an alleged sexual mess with a young female in the White House.
Meanwhile, Weiner continues his campaign for New York mayor, as calls for his withdrawal continue to mount, his approval rating drops, late night comics use him for comic fodder, the New York media rips him to shreds, political officeholders distance themselves from him and TV talking heads delve into what possible mental issues could drive a previously successful politician to appear to go off the deep end in such a sexual manner.
Maybe the bottom line questions are: Could a voter trust a candidate who conducts himself in such a manner and if elected what effect would his sexually related contacts with alleged fans have on the way in which he conducts city business?
It seems very likely to me if a local candidate or officeholder were caught and admitted to this type of improper conduct, his political life would be over ... as it should be. The Mid-Ohio Valley, I believe, is far too conservative to ever tolerate such inappropriate behavior from a candidate or officeholder.
* * *
The Senate needs to continue its push for legislation to protect reporters and the news media from improper phone taps in what one could only characterize as fishing expeditions by the government to identify sources.
The Judiciary Committee met last week on proposed legislation by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. The legislation was proposed after it became known the Justice Department secretly subpoenaed almost two months of telephone records for 21 phone lines used by reporters and editors for The Associated Press and secretly used a warrant to obtain some emails of a Fox News journalist. The AP received no advance warning and no court hearing on the subpoenas.
Schumer's measure would incorporate many of Attorney General Eric Holder's proposed changes after President Obama ordered a review of Justice Department procedures.
Holder's revised guidelines called for advance notice to the news media about subpoena for reporters' phone records. As expected as an easy out of avoiding advance notice, the guidelines would be negated if the attorney general determined such notice would pose a clear and substantial threat to the investigation. Search warrants for a reporter's email only would apply when the individual is the target of a criminal investigation for conduct not connected to news gathering.
The Schumer bill demands before the government asks a news organization to divulge sources it first must go before a judge, who would supervise any subpoenas or court orders for information. Holder's new guidelines have no such judicial review requirement.
While Holder is getting closer to protecting the concept of a free and open press, Schumer is more on target.