Obama: The Man in the Arena
February 1, 2007
The main water cooler discussion of the day in the San Francisco Bay Area was the indiscretion of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome. Yesterday Mayor Newsome's campaign manager resigned. It was alleged that the resignation occurred because Mayor Newsome had an affair with his campaign manager's wife. According to the story, the affair occurred a year and a half ago. However, the campaign manager, who also happens to be one of Mayor Newsome's best friends, just learned of the affair because his wife is in a twelve step program to recover from substance abuse and as part of the recovery she needed to come clean about the affair. The affair apparently occurred while she was working as a secretary in Mayor Newsome's office.
Today, the Mayor had a news conference and admitted that the story was true. He admitted to having an affair and with having hurt one of his best friends. It was great political theater akin, on a Bay Area level, to President Clinton's famous denial of having an affair with Monica Lewinsky.
However, what I found particularly interesting were the polls which were taken which showed that eighty-nine percent of those questioned felt that Newsome should not resign because of this indiscretion. Apparently, in comparison with the more aberrant sexual scandals which have plagued politicians in recent years, the Newsome peccadillo seemed to be of little concern as far as the public's assessment of his ability to manage the City.
Nevertheless, there does seem to be a consensus that Mayor Newsome broke the basic "Man Code" -- the Code of Men which states that a man should never sleep with his best friend's wife or girlfriend. Newsome broke the Man Code and, for this transgression, he is deemed to have crossed the line of decency.
It is a strange sign of the times that the "Man Code" appears to be more firm than the "Moral Code" that once seemed to prevail.