How “Scandals” Serve the Permanent Regime
September 22, 2014
Below is a link to an article that could be used to illustrate how what are labeled “scandals” serve to fortify the ruling political class. The article summarizes another article that appeared in the New York Times magazine on Gary Hart, his affair with Donna Rice, and how that affair and its revelation apparently impacted our political order as “a new generation of journalists trained in post-Watergate America, eager for their big breaks and not inclined to view the personal affairs of powerful politicians as irrelevant to their public stature” arose and fostered, among other things, the Clinton impeachment.
Note should be taken of at least two things that result from the interest in such “scandals:” (1) No one any longer remembers what Gary Hart was about politically and (2) the Clinton presidency is reduced to or sucked into his “affair” with Monica Lewinsky as if it were a black hole, leaving his political agenda, which was at least as “conservative” as that of George W. Bush, to languish untouched by analysis or criticism. In other words, a “politics of scandal” does not bother the reigning political class to any great degree, which helps explain why it continues, because it is not a threat to their rule. Sure, a politician here and there is affected, but the ruling class itself is fortified as our attention is directed away from politics to, very often, sex. And, in fact, as both Clinton and the former governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, illustrate, these “scandals” don’t seem to have any long term impact even on those who are at the center of them.
It is an interesting situation.