In It For Health

Where health and psychology intersect

Posts Tagged ‘Spitzer’

Too much info about politicians

Posted by Dr. Susan on March 27, 2008

Following the latest Spitzer then Paterson scandals, a tongue in cheek article in New York Magazine asks how much sordid info on our politicians is too much? It’s a question that I’m asked all the time. Not withstanding the ha-ha value of the New York Magazine piece, this is actually an important issue.

The media has incredibly sophisticated abilities to not only pry into the minutiae of politicians’ lives with intensity and drive and then broadcast within seconds across the globe in a way that can legitimately wipe out a politician’s career. In some cases they should be wiped out…Spitzer I think is a good example of this. 

But, I wonder…are there talented, competent individuals who refuse to even run for office at high levels because they are afraid that issues in their background–having nothing to do with their current morality or competence–will be dragged out and thrown in their faces? Take Paterson. Do we care that he used drugs as a teen or young adult? Or even about his marital problems? Will it impact on his ability to do his job now. Not that teens should use drugs of course! And guess what a huge percentage of married people have affairs.

But perhaps the Republicans are stuck with a 71-year old McCain (not that he’s a bad choice, just that he’s really old!) because so few others had the guts to open up their private lives to the media that needs to be constantly fed. It’s unlikely that politicians 20 years ago were anymore moral or ethical than they are now. We just didn’t know what was going on. Maybe it was better that way. It’s possible to be good at some parts of your life–say running a country, but not as good at others–like running your own life. I see this with the people who come to me for help every day. I’m not sure that we should be narrowing our pool of competent politicians based on the media’s need to dig for dirt.

Your life is private, why shouldn’t theirs be too?

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Spitzer:another politician who just destroyed his career…

Posted by Dr. Susan on March 12, 2008

…and his family. The two top questions I’ve been asked in the last couple of days–by friends, the media and my 14-year old son are WHY do men in power blow themselves up in this manner and WHY do their wives stand by their side–literally–when they admit their self-destruction to the world on national television? The first is more obvious–the power of the position makes them feel invincible. It’s a bit like adolescence really, but in a sociopathic, rather than developmental way. They can’t imagine anything could ever touch them, so they take greater and greater risks, feeding their sense of indestructibility, of narcissism, of power. Until eventually they’re caught red-handed, or in this case red-….uh, well you know.

The second question is more complex. Perhaps the wives are paid. Maybe Silda was offered 10 million dollars to stand up there next to her husband during his admission and resignation–straight into a personal account in her name. That might make it easier to swallow. I hope she was. Maybe they do it for the kids. But, really it would be better for kids to see their mother stand up for her own self respect, not next to a husband that betrayed her so publically. Perhaps the wives of politicians have become so used to standing in their husbands’ shadows that they do it automatically. Or, perhaps, like Hillary Clinton, they have a future agenda–she’s calling in her chits now! I’m sure each situation is different but in Spitzer’s case, I’m guessing this is not the first time he cheated on his wife and I’m imagining that it will take a lot of therapy to put this marriage back together again if that’s even in the cards. I hope that Silda Spitzer stands up to her husband rather than next to him over the next several years. She needs that for herself and her daughters need to see that too.

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