Public numb to political scandals, Arnold Schwarzenegger & Gigi Goyette then Mildred Baena

It's already old news that Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child with a former housekeeper while he was married to Maria Shriver. The two are now estranged, and Shriver is filing for divorce. For now, the affair of the action-hero turned Republican California governor reads more like a Hollywood scandal than a political one. It's mostly being covered by the entertainment media outlets, as opposed to the news channels and websites. That might be because Schwarzenegger is out of office, or it might be because consumers of news don't care.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gigi Goyette, Mildred Baena

Schwarzenegger's dalliances are but the latest in a long string of indiscretions by politicians that leave the public numbed, even among many partisans who keep a running scorecard of who did what to whom.

Political and sex scandals involving politicians are nothing new in American politics. They go back to earliest days of the republic. The old political stories played out through the years with predictable outcomes.

Presidential candidate Gary Hart's affair back in the 1980s made front-page news and sank his chances at the White House. President Bill Clinton's outrageous conduct with a White House intern nearly sank his presidency and introduced new slang to the American dictionary.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gigi Goyette, Mildred Baena

Through the years, there have been so many trysts from members of Congress, presidential candidates and even presidents that it has become mundane. Today's 24-hour news cycle adds only to scandal fatigue.

Are scandals news? Yes, but the redundant telling of the same story has desensitized us to the reports and skewed the light in which these scandals should be viewed. Marital infidelities are one of the first spades turned when journalists vet candidates.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gigi Goyette, Mildred Baena

Most certainly, political candidates should be vetted. The public should know what kind of person they might vote for, especially if that candidate espouses "family values." But fidelity is only one criteria to profile a candidate, and a comprehensive vetting shouldn't become fixated exclusively on lewd conduct, as it seemed to do in 1992 presidential race.

The prying and vetting of candidates' personal lives probably keeps many good, honorable would-be candidates from ever running for office. On the other hand, not enough probing might allow a flawed candidate to ascend to office where he can abuse the public's trust as much as he abused his spouse's.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gigi Goyette, Mildred Baena

Schwarzenegger, John Edwards, et al, made their proverbial bed. Let them lie in it. As for the lewd specifics, well, it's there for those who have an interest in following such stories. As for many of us, we're just numb to them.


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