A public official's conduct in office is the only matter about their conduct that should be of public concern.
At least that's what I think.
That's how I felt about Bill Clinton and his Lewinsky affair and that's how I feel about Rob Ford and his crack episode.
Some people say the issue with Clinton was less the affair than the lying about it. His lying about Lewinsky came about because he had to face questions that in all decency should never have been put to him in the public sphere.
Bill Clinton's personal life may have been checkered, but in the execution of his duties as a public official, he was meticulously honest and a person of integrity (though the same isn't necessarily true of his wife).
The same is true of Rob Ford. His personal life may be a mess, but he is inscrutably honest in protecting public interests and doggedly determined to serve the public.
Which isn't to say we can't make fun of them over it, and I have to admit, I found Jon Stewart's recent bit about Rob Ford very amusing.
But trying to destroy a person over these matters crosses the line. Fortunately, as was the case with Clinton, and I anticipate will be with Ford, that effort to destroy them ends up being self-discrediting and self-destructive to those attacking a public person for private behavior.
Ford's lies had nothing to do with his conduct as a public official. Contrast that with the lies from Ontario Liberal Party leaders who lied to cover up their misappropriation of public funds.
Yet over whom has the media has worked itself into near ecstatic frenzy?
If personal foibles are so relevant, does this mean we should be exposing more of them?
What about the married Canadian political party leader who frequented Gay bathhouses and tried to pick up underage boys? Many in the media know of that, but covered it up.
News media has a great deal of public influence, so does that mean their lives are part of the public interest?
Since so many of Rob Ford's vindictive enemies claim that, 'really, we just want him to get help,'
perhaps it would be helpful to expose which Toronto news anchorwoman worked as a call girl. After all, the trauma may be affecting her and the way she does her job still and I just want her to get help.
Or how about those married folk at The Toronto Star and Globe and Mail who are having affairs with their married colleagues, or the married CBC producers having affairs with their junior staffers?
Or what about some of the deviant sexual practices of some members of Toronto's City Council and some of the MPPs at Queen's Park?
That is probably affecting their ability to perform their jobs, so should I start naming names?
All this is to say nothing of the widespread past use of cocaine by many of those same people who are now falling over themselves to condemn Rob Ford for using what is in essence the same substance.
I guess we need to know who those people are too. I know people who were involved with them directly in those activities.
Is that now fair game?
I hope not, because these are games that no one should want to begin.