A conservative political organization in Iowa, "The Family Leader," has asked all candidates who are running for the Presidency of the United States to sign a pledge that they will remain faithful to their spouse.
The leader of the organization is Bob Vander Plaats, who was the state chairman of Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign in 2008. Vander Plaats also ran for Governor of Iowa in 2010, but was defeated by Terry Branstad.
Vander Plaats announced to all presidential candidates, "We would like to have you pledge personal fidelity to your own spouse and a respect for the marital bonds of others."
The Family Leader will not endorse any candidate who does not sign this pledge.
The leader of a great country should conduct himself in a respectful manner that upholds high ideals. The pledge, titled "The Marriage Vow--A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family," is designed to support the high principles of marriage.
Not surprisingly, conservative candidates have signed on to the petition, moderate Republicans are thinking it over, while President Obama hasn't responded at all.
Is this a good idea? Or is it intrusive?
What does it matter what a candidate does in his or her personal life? As long as that person does a good job in their role as leader of the free world, who cares if they are having an affair or a romantic relationship with someone they aren't married to?
People aren't asked to pledge this type of fidelity or to live up to these expectations in any other facet of American life, so why should Presidents? If you were asked to sign this petition at your job, would you object or would you sign willingly? How about your doctor or banker--do these people need to live up to a standard of conduct regarding marriage and faithfulness?
A large portion of the U.S. population would say no, this is highly intrusive and puritanical. What's important is the job that our President does. If he's unfaithful to his wife, that's their business, not the country's. It has no effect whatsoever on how the President carries out his duties.
On the other hand, Americans representing groups such as "The Family Leader" claim that being the American President is not just a job. The President is a symbol of America, and embodies the traditions and history that made our nation great. If a President is a philandering womanizer, he degrades the nation itself, not just the man.
Look at the legacy of Bill Clinton. His scandalous hijinks were legendary long before he entered the White House. His antics in the oval office with Monica Lewinsky led to his impeachment. Many say that was due to an angry and vindictive Republican congress out for revenge. But the fact that Clinton couldn't control himself even in the White House speaks to his lack of discretion, his arrogance and his poor judgment. Why would he do this and risk being found out, as he indeed was? These qualities cannot be valuable in a person who is President of the United States.
Let's also consider John Edwards. He was not president, but he came very close to winning the Democrat Party nomination for the presidency. This man has gone from golden boy to scoundrel on the verge of convicted criminal. Here again his indiscretions are nearly breathtaking in their outlandish nature. He was carrying on with a staffer, paying her with campaign funds to do a job she wasn't qualified for, and paying her many times more than it was worth. All the while, his wife was dying of cancer. He told lie after lie, and continued to lie even after his mistress gave birth to his child. He continued to lie until a DNA test proved that the baby was his daughter.
There are many more examples of infidelity among politicians. Clinton and Edwards are just a couple of the most high profile.
Of course, no one is perfect, but so very few people will ever hold the office of President of the United States that demanding impeccable character is not unreasonable. High-ranking military officials must refrain from "conduct unbecoming an officer." Shouldn't there be conduct unbecoming a President?
Americans do look to the President as a role model. If the President is a dirty, lying dog, what does that say for America?