Discuss: What's the difference between Aaron Reardon and John Edwards?
In the same day's newspaper came the stories that the Justice Department had dropped criminal charges against former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and that the Island County prosecutor will not file criminal charges against Democratic Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, though the Public Disclosure Commission will investigate the accusation that he used county telephones for election purposes.
Different people, different stories. One is national and the other local. But they both have to do with reports of politicians carrying on extramarital affairs and accusations of resources used improperly. Here is our editorial in Friday's newspaper.
Here's my question. Set aside the question of guilt or innocence under the law (and Reardon's attorney says he broke no law.) Assume the stories are true that there was an adulterous affair in both cases. Also that in Edwards' case, political donors paid for a mistress to live well, and that in Reardon's case, he used some of his expense-account money on a girlfriend. Set aside the question of a political institution should react to this. How do YOU react? What's the real story: The money? Or the adultery?
Suppose the money was spent on a platonic friend, and no adultery. Then, suppose the adultery, but no problem with money. From a public official, which would bother you more?
Achenblog by Joel Achenbach
Postman On Politics