Thursday, March 22, 2007

Should this Matter for Election '08?

Streak points us to an article highlighting multiple marriages in presidential candidates. Its quite interesting. Right out of the Horse's Mouth, the entire field of democratic candidates has gotten fewer divorces than Rudy alone. Should multiple marriages be a cause for concern among presidential candidates, particularly among republicans who consistently tout "family values"?
Then again, the Republicans are fielding a motley crew right now: if you count Newt Gingrich, who'll probably join the fray in the fall, the four leading candidates have had nine marriages among them: Giuliani three, Gingrich three, McCain two and Romney one.
Greg Sargent draws an interesting point:
If you think about it, the entire field of Dems deemed credible boasts fewer divorces than Rudy Giuliani alone!


The top four GOP candidates have divorced a total of five times, while the top four liberal candidates have a total of zero divorces among them. And the whole field of Dems seen to have a credible shot at winning has gotten fewer total divorces than the current GOP frontrunner.
Among the Democratic hopefuls, Obama has been married to the same woman for fifteen years, Edwards faithfully to Elizabeth since 1977, Richardson, thirty-three years to the same woman, and Biden's first wife was killed in a car accident in 1972. He has been married to his second wife for nearly thirty years.

Some claim that a candidate's family life, as well as a nationally elected leader's, is none of the public's business. I am of the opinion however that a nationally elected leader's home life is of substantial importance. I do not think they should be forced into a fish bowl, but if a leader has multiple marriages or is practicing "serial monogamy," then that is a cause for concern. As conservatives who typically vote Republican, should we take this issue into account and if so, to what degree?


Streak said...

Tony, you know where I stand on much of this. I am convinced that conservative Christians have been hoodwinked into supporting politicians who don't actually share their values. I know that there is legitimate disagreement over abortion and even same-sex marriage, but would argue that the Republicans have done very little positive on either front, and have undermined conservative values on just about every other turn. In other words, conservatives are voting for people who value wealth and power more than morality.

When it comes to a politicians morality, I think I agree with you. Someone who has been divorced several times suggests some problems. But I am a fan of noting the difference between public morality and private morality. For example, I could concede (given what we know), that George Bush has been faithful to Laura and has exhibited private morality that is probably superior to Bill Clinton's. But that private morality pales in comparison with the vast public immorality that he has wrought on the country and the world.

If I had to choose, I would prefer a President who acts in the best interest of the people and does so with honor.

Jen said...

Please clarify what you mean by "public immorality."
"But that private morality pales in comparison with the vast public immorality that he has wrought on the country and the world."

Tony said...


Too many conservatives have been bamboozled into believing that abortion and same-sex marriage are the only issues that matter anymore. How often I have heard conservative friends say that "So-and-so is pro-choice, so I wouldn't vote for that one," or, "he supports gay marriage, so I cannot vote for him."

These two issues draw conservatives together like no other issues have; and the RR knows it. For the life of me I cannot understand this. Most conservatives are single-issue voters, plain and simple.

Iraq; interpretive issues with the Constitution; torture; those are things that I have heard conservatives say, "Well, that must be left up to the politicians, we cannot do anything about that," or resort to some ends justify the means argument.

Talk to a conservative and those things rarely come up if at all in conversation. I know. I've tried.

Do you think it is because we (conservatives) don't want to get a grip on these things? I mean, abortion, gay-marriage, those are easily quantifiable; I know those things are wrong. They fit the narrow worldview. But larger issues like the Constitution, they don't fit so easily.

But back to the issue about multiple marriages, I agree with you. We are not calling a pastor to run the country (though we might be; ie., Huckabee, don't quite know how I feel about that yet).

Home life does not necessarily reflect how a person can do the job but with someone out in front like the president, I think it is better that he have a moderately stable home life, though not picture perfect.


Welcome to the blog.

Streak can answer for himself, but my take on public immorality is one's ethical responses to various issues that affect the general public in some way.

President Bush may lead a tidy private life, as far as we know, but he has abused the power and prestige he has as President.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post, Tony...I hadn't given this much thought yet, and now I'm even more depressed than before about the top contenders.

I hate having to pick the lesser of two evils all the time. And where I used to feel pretty confident voting Rep. in hopes of getting a fiscal conservative, I can't say that's the case anymore. It stinks.

We'll never get the perfect candidate, and sad to say I'll probably have to vote against someone instead of for someone yet again. But this time around I'll probably be prioritizing my "issues list" a little differently, moving national security and border/immigration issues closer to the top--even passing abortion and gay-marriage (can that get me excommunicated?). So I'll probably vote against the candidate who is weakest on those issues.

If I knew more about Tom Tancredo and thought he had a prayer, maybe I'd jump on his wagon.

Tim A Blankenship said...

I think the marriage issue is important. However, it is also important how they are doing presently with and in the marriage they have now.
It is too bad that those purporting family values have such messed up homes and marriages - not all but many of those out in public.
Your article ask a very important question that does require thought and discernment.
God bless you.
Tim A. Blankenship

Tony said...


It is depressing, I have to admit.

I am almost convinced we must vote Democrat this time around just for accountability's sake, if for no other reason. Republicans will follow Bush on Iraq and I'm afraid they may follow his precedent on interpretive issues with the Constitution as well.

No, prioritizing your issues list that way won't get you excommunicated, at least not around here! The funny thing is, many Democrats, and even front-runner Obama, seem to be pretty common sense on these issues. Obama is pro-life to a certain extent and though I disagree on same-sex issues, that is not a matter of national import, really.

I'm gonna follow up on Tancredo. I have not seen exactly what side of the fence he falls on and did not realize he was throwing in a bid.

Thanks for stopping by, as always!


I agree, the marriage issue is important. The inconsistency frustrates me. I hurt for those who have experienced failed marriages and divorces, but when you get to serial monogamy, I think there are deeper heart issues at work.

I also agree on the "present marriage" issue you raise. I can respect a person who has experienced a failed marriage but it was essentially outside of his/her control yet they sincerely attempted to reconcile.

However, if that person is cycling through marriages then it is problematic to me.

Streak said...

Jen, Tony is right. Public morality addresses those issues of morality that impact the rest of us. Bush has endorsed the torture of other human beings, and done so in our name. Bush has lied--perhaps not to his wife, but to the rest of us about the intelligence that lead us into war. I am not saying that I want a president who lies to his/her spouse, but I am not in relationship with them--I have hired them to run the country. Make no mistake, I would like both a public and private morality from my leaders--as I expect from myself, but if forced to choose, I would prioritize public.

Tony, interesting point and a good clarification that many conservatives probably don't endorse torture, but see those as "political issues" that are outside their perview. Interesting, in that many of the nuts and bolts surrounding abortion and same-sex marriage are very important political issues--and issues I think that many conservatives have not fully considered.

Headmistress, I am not a fan of Tancredo. I find him ethnocentric to a fault. I understand his concerns about the border, but his speeches and other actions seem to suggest a racism that bothers me deeply. He voted against renewing the Voting Rights Act, has spoken to some "Confederate traditional groups" and talked about nuking Mecca in the event of an attack on America. I think we could do much better than Tancredo.

To be fair, I am a Democrat and proudly so, so I see some very good candidates in our race. I think Obama has great potential as well as Bill Richardson and John Edwards.

Heather said...

This is a great discussion and I am so glad to read eveyone's comments. I'm also so glad to know that I'm not the only Christian in American seeing things this way.

Thanks for sharing, everyone!