Fifty years ago, when an Eisenhower speechwriter wrote a tell-all about his White House time, JFK was disgusted. “I hope,” he told aides, “nobody here is writing that kind of book.” Nobody did.
What would he have made of today’s politicians being bared 24/7, not only by books but tapes, videos, open mics and constant leaks of staff with an eye out for their own futures?
Welcome to the era of naked politics and, if you wonder why we don’t have better people in public office, don’t look much further.
Once long ago, I was asked about running for something. I didn’t hesitate: “No, I’m not shameless enough.” But Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are, as well as the Tea Party toads and Democratic counterparts in their wake.
Back in 2008, Barack Obama was to trying to hold on to his authentic self--a problem he recognized early in the process, telling Tim Russert with a worried smile that his wife and friends thought he was still there behind all the hype and admitting on 60 Minutes that the “attempt to airbrush your life...is exhausting.”
Is the President still there, or we seeing a good man trying to hold on to shreds of his authentic self in a humiliating process?
And, as we congratulate ourselves over the free flow of “information” that feeds our insatiable hunger, who should we blame for the quality of people we get in the process?
If our emperors have no clothes, who stripped them naked?