A week or so ago, I blogged about the fact that Republican leaders just aren’t as fired up as their conservative base, as evidenced by the fact that so many name brand conservative politicians are sitting out the 2012 presidential race.
A similar reality confounds the Democratic Party, which in theory represents a liberal base that is struggling to salvage its agenda.
From climate change legislation to taxes, from the composition of the Supreme Court and the future of Federal jobs programs, Democrats are on the defensive.
The 2010 midterms suggested that this is a time when the Dems need everyone on deck and focused. Losing the Senate and White House next year are very real possibilities.
Yet we’re now being treated to the spectacle of “Weinergate,” with Anthony Weiner — a congressman from New York City and one of the left’s most ardent champions — accused of Twittering a lurid photo of himself to a woman.
A grand jury also today indicted John Edwards — once the Democrats’ most outspoken national advocate for programs helping the working-class poor — on charges that he used campaign funds to conceal an affair.
A lot of left-leaning voters like to take the European view, arguing that these distractions and scandals are private affairs at best, and conservative hit jobs at worst.
Hillary Clinton famously blamed her husband’s scandal on a “vast right-wing conspiracy.”
But if nothing else, these affairs suggest that many of the left’s leaders just aren’t very passionate or fired-up about the causes and concerns that they trumpet.
If you’re willing to put your agenda at risk over a racy photograph, or a dalliance with a campaign worker, what does that say about the agenda itself, or your commitment to it?
Can anyone dispute the notion that Bill Clinton’s second term was crippled, at least in significant measure, by his own wandering attentions?
It’s still unclear whether Anthony Weiner did anything wrong; and John Edwards is innocent until proven guilty.
But as the campaign year gets underway, these tabloid moments suggest that some of the Dems’ best and brightest are seriously preoccupied by extracurricular activities.