Just around this time in the Clinton administration, the country was consumed with Travelgate, the Vincent Foster case, and other assorted minor and pseudo-scandals. This spring the scandals have been Republican as Sen. John Ensign and Gov. Mark Sanford have admitted infidelities. It's a pattern that seems to follow Obama. When he ran for the U.S. Senate, his chief political adversaries imploded, and when he ran for president, he benefited from the unsteady performance of John McCain and the selection of Sarah Palin.

Of course, there have been Democratic implosions along the way (like Eliot Spitzer). I would prefer more of a separation between public and private life, but a lot of politicians invite scrutiny because they make their family life part of their campaigns. And there is something peculiarly delicious about social conservatives like Ensign, Sanford, and David Vitter being exposed as hypocrites.

--Paul Starr

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