Should the President be held to higher standards than us common folk?

Taking my lead from this post in GD…
Come on guys…surely there is a Monica where you work…you wouldn’t “do” her if you could? I guess the ladies could substitute Monty…:slight_smile:

I mean the man is only human, so shouldn’t human weaknesses be allowed?

Umm, did you ever look at Monica? she’s an irritating, chunky, self-centered skank with a room-temperature IQ and a a vapid personality. It’s not so much the adultery that bothered me, but that he couldn’t do any better than her.If he had been caught getting gobbled by Sharon Stone, that would have been easier to swallow. :smiley:
In addition, any boss who got caught nailing a 22-year-old intern would soon get his golden parachute and a firm goodbye from the Board of directors.

GoBoy…They tried. a republican congress tried and couldn’t impeach him. The American people agreed with that.
Just as a side note…
I’d “do” Monica.

Okay, let’s leave Monica- especially comments about Monica’s appearance out of this. That’s just plain rude.
“Should the President be held to higher standards than us common folk?”

The very question contains the answer. The President is not one of us ‘common folk.’ In fact, he has a great deal more power than any of us common folk. Very few of us can tell the IRS to audit someone. Very few of us can ask the NSA to tap someone’s phone lines. Very few of us regularly have to decide upon matters which determine policy that affects millions of Americans. Very few of us can push a button and have nuclear warheads flying about. And there’s only one person who can do all of that.

The President has much more power than any of us. Therefore, he/she must be held to a much higher standard of moral conduct than any of us.

If I am a pathological liar, who do I hurt? Myself, maybe a few other people, maybe a goodly number if I find a message board, pretend to be someone, and then reveal my pathology later on.

If the President lies to the people, who gets hurt? Depending upon the matter, everyone in his party, everyone in his administration, every in government, possibly every American. That’s a good bit more damaging.
“Shouldn’t human weaknesses be allowed?”

Certainly; if we only elect the perfect, we’d be ungoverned (quiet, Lib).

However, one’s weaknesses should not be a direct effect upon one’s capacity to run the Executive branch; and one should be open and honest about said weaknesses.

To get into specifics, Bill Clinton showed a willingness to break and bend laws that it was his (indirect) job to enforce; and while he had a history of womanizing, he had publicly stated in '92 (over and over again) that he was a faithful husband and would not stray again.

Is it important that the person who runs much of the government not be someone who lies to you constantly? I think so.

Well, let’s put it this way…

Many of us would PREFER that our tailor be a good family man… but when we have a torn garment, we’d just as soon go to a sleazy, if he can take make it wearable again at a good price.

Most of us would LIKE it if the local mechanic was a devout Christian, but when my car is on the blink, I’d be very happy to take it to a Moslem or Buddhist or agnostic who could get the car running again.

The question is… SHOULD we think of the PResident the way we think of a tailor or a mechanic? Or should we hold the President to a SLIGHTLY higher standard than that?

Actually in many companies if a manager had a relationship with an intern he’d probably be fired.


ASTORIAN – The differences are: (a) Your tailor is not THE Tailor, the El Numero Uno Tailor, the Kahuna of Tailors in the country. There is only one President of the U.S.; and (b) Your tailor does not represent you in the eyes of the world when he sews that button back on. So his skank-o-rama values will not be imputed to you, even implicitly.

Heck, yes, the President should be held to a higher standard. It’s “only human” to go to the bathroom, but you don’t see people giving him license to poop on the White House lawn. A President should not do anything that brings dishonor on the office he or she holds and, by extension, to the people he or she represents. If you know your every action is scrutinized, you have to live a different life than you might if you were a truly “private” citizen. If that’s too high a price to pay, don’t take the job.

I think it depends on what lies the person makes. If Bill Clinton says “I am going to be a perfect husband” and then later on has an affair, I don’t see that as necessarily affecting his ability to govern the nation.

I think a worse case would be, for example, a candidate that says “I promise not to raise taxes” and later approves a tax increase. That is a grievous lie to the electorate.

I am not on a campaign to say Bill Clinton did no wrong, but I think that some of activities of a public official may be reprehensible and yet not indicate that the person is unfit for holding a position in government.

[Aside] Astorian: most people have a preference regarding the religious beliefs of their auto mechanics, and prefer it to be their religion? :confused: I mean, I like people to be decent to each other in general, and if I am doing business with them I don’t want them to be deceitful or untrustworthy, but I don’t want anyone I do business with to believe a particular faith or nonfaith (well, maybe I don’t want them to believe a faith if it’s a faith that encourages ripping off customers, for instance). By the way, since The OP was discussing whether a person’s personal moral failings should reflect on their position, your analogy seems to be saying that Buddhism or agnosticism is personal moral failing. :slight_smile:

But couldn’t he be a little less public about his indiscretions, like, say FDR and JFK, for example (but to be fair, I think the press left private lives alone more back then?).

On one episode of Politically Incorrect, Bill Maher vented his opinion that the President of the United States should, he is expected to, get more chicks than the average guy. “Kennedy got Marylin Monroe; you’d think by now, Clinton would at least have bagged Madonna. I mean, he’s like our tribal leader. We expect our tribal chief to have the biggest headdress and the longest … um, spear! :slight_smile: If he can’t get any decent tail, what chance is there for the rest of us?! There was a rumor going around once that President Bush was having an affair with a 50-year-old woman. Come on, George, you were the President of the United States! You could’ve had anybody! A fifty year old woman is just pathetic.”

It constantly amazes me how a high-ranking government official’s sex life carries more weight, in the public eye, than any of his shady political deals or bad policies.

At the very least, a president should be held to the samestandards as us common folk. This has very definitely not been the case with Clinton. If the fate of Richard Nixon showed that presidents are not above the law, then Bill Clinton has managed to reverse that judgment.

It has nothing to do with Bill Clinton’s sex life; it has to do with committing a federal crime–perjury–for which Americans have served time in prison, and getting away with it because he is the president. Since I somehow doubt the same consideration would be given to me in a similar situation, that means Clinton is being held to a lower standard.

Asmodeus said (to goboy):

First off, they most certainly didimpeach him; the Senate didn’t convicthim.

As for the public agreeing with it…so what? If a president–or anybody else–can get away with anything just because they are popular, then we can kiss off this “country of laws” stuff right now.

one of the main reasons that clinton lied about his extramarital affairs was to get elected or to stay in office. i’m still waiting for the master of spin to get his just rewards, but then again, this isn’t shakespeare. sigh…

Well, the big crime wasn’t having sex with an intern. It was lying about it under oath. Perjury is a serious issue. The fact that the perjury occured to mislead a court in a case where Clinton was probably guity of sexual harrassment is also quite disturbing.

All kidding aside, if a professor were to have sex with a College student it would be considered a breach of professional ethics, something to do with the power of the position giving her/him an unfair advantage and giving the student more vulnerability. In some colleges it is probably very clearly spelled out for people.

I think Clinton’s position of power here can somewhat be likened to that, because Monica was an intern. Whether or not he chose to lie about it, it was wrong because of professional ethics, even though both parties were “consenting.”

But I do maintain that all adults should be held to the same behavior standards (unless they have been proven imcompetent to do so, and then they probably are not able to hold office either).

Ah yes this old debate. It’s rather obnoxious, but for some reason I can’t go on without venting my 2 cents. It’s kinda like listening to a radio host that pisses you off.

“Well, the big crime wasn’t having sex with an intern. It was lying about it under oath.”

Why did he even have to talk about his sex life under oath in the first place? I doubt normal citizens have to answer personal questions under oath. Also, which lie is worse: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” (which techniquely wasn’t a lie, you gotta love lawyer talk) or the blatant “Read my lips, no new taxes!”. The first lie shows that Clinton may not have character or intergrity, but thanks to the corrupt political system America has, these are the polititians your going to get. The second lie affect the people directly.

And what about Bob Barr? You’re telling not going to tell me he wouldn’t lie under oath (if he was unfairly cornered into a trap, like Clinton), would you? That man who lampooned Clinton for his lack of morals, and then discounted his extra-marital affair as a “youthful indiscretion” when caught? Face it, without campain finance reform, these are the caliber of politians we have. I think Clinton is one of the better ones, at least when it comes to what really matters to Americans. ahem unprecedented economy cough Face it, Republicans hate Clinton because he’s successful. If they were serious about wanting a leader with character and integrity, they would have choosen McCain (the war hero) over Bush jr (the cokehead).

I guess what pisses me off about this whole debate the hypocrisy the Republicans bring to this debate. I HATE hypocrisy.

“Why did he even have to talk about his sex life under oath in the first place?”

Very good question. Probably because they weren’t able to nail him on the Whitewater thing so this seemed to be their best shot.

Although I believe what he did was a breach of professional ethics, I don’t think it compromised national security and was mainly used by the Republicans to try to get rid of a troublesome opponent.

Back to the original question of the thread, no. All people should be held to the same high standards as outlined in law. Beyond that, there are so many different moral stances different people take that it would be difficult to say which one to use as a model. While lying about extra-marital affairs is not something I would call good behaviour, apparently LOTS of people do it.

Has a thread ever been started about that; how many people have affairs and don’t tell their partners about them? Maybe this will be a good search topic for me to explore.

Off to the archives. . . Bye.


Well said. I heard Cheney say the military will be in good hands. This comes from Cheney who used a deferment to duck the military (Cheney) and a man who used his family influence (Dubya) to get in the guard. All this is aimed at a man who actually went to serve in the Nam. Talk about hypocrisy. It makes me sick.

Because he was a defendant in a sexual harassment lawsuit. No matter how much you want to believe it, the mean old media can’t make you testify under oath.

Jodi says:

If I may speak on behalf of the rest of the world - or at least Europe - other European Dopers, feel free to tell me I’ve got it completely wrong: Monicagate certainly tarnished the reputation of the United States in many Europeans’ eyes.

The scandal, however, was not that Mr. Clinton had consensual sex with a 22-year old groupie. The general consensus: Why should anyone care, except of course Mrs. Clinton ? It’s just sex, for heavens sake. Monica wanted him as a trophy, she wasn’t trying to pump him (sorry!) for secrets, she went away happy and it took a Linda Tripp to sneak the story out of her. Sure, he lied about it when cornered - so what, everybody lies about sex. That’s why you’re not supposed to corner people on issues like that.

A lot of people honestly didn’t understand what all the furor was about - correspondents wrote long pieces trying to explain this particular American quirk. I believe most Europeans had Starr - and by extension, the republicans - tagged as the bad guys. It sure looked as if they were determined to find something - anything - to attack Clinton’s character.

And when it became clear that they had a chance to impeach him, but certainly not to convict him, they could have turned their attention to more substantial matters, but they didn’t.

It was the process of airing some rather dirty laundry in full view of everyone that made a lot of us shake our collective heads.

My 0.02 Euro

S. Norman