Fox News is already comparing the Petraeus Affair to Watergate. White House paralysis is gleefully anticipated at Fox, just days after the election. What did the president know, and when did he know it?
To what can we compare the misadventures of Gen. David H. Petraeus, director of the CIA, no less, and Paula Broadwell, his esteemed biographer from Harvard (and herself a former Army officer)?
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and his wartime driver come instantly to mind. But Kay Summersby was a young woman who volunteered for the British Mechanized Transport Corps during the darkest days of World War II. She earned her stripes driving an ambulance in London throughout the German bombardment of the city. Following that heroic service, she was assigned to chauffeur Gen. Eisenhower, the administrative genius who planned the invasion of Normandy. They both had critical wartime jobs to do and served with distinction. The circumstances of their alleged affair seem like a fairy tale in comparison to the story of Patraeus and The Dragon Lady.
The King of England and the divorcee from Baltimore (and, gasp, a commoner)? King Edward VIII and Wallace Simpson were both single and wished to marry. Seems like a normal enough plan for a couple in love. But Edward was ensnared by the Medieval rules of royalty and religion. I suppose it was scandalous at the time. But a king relinquishing the throne for the woman he loves has at least some of the romantic and honorable elements of an actual royal fairy tale.
Samson and Delilah? Now there’s a possibility. We have to hope that The Dragon Lady has no foreign entanglements.
Petraeus & Broadwell. Two human beings endowed with a rare combination of physical beauty, athletic vigor, and superstar intellectual ability. Add the famous aphrodisiac known as POWER. All of it is exceeded only by the magnificence of their hubris.
— John Hayden
- Broadwell spoke of values, Charlotte roots in interview (wcnc.com)
- Holly Petraeus Is Beyond ‘Furious’ (abcnews.go.com)
- Feinstein Says She Had to Call Petraeus Directly to Learn What the FBI Never Told Her (cnsnews.com)
I haven’t paid much attention to this story, mostly because some of the most brilliant leaders of our time seem to fail in the arena of personal integrity. There is a degree of hubris inherent in being a leader – no reason to assume that it wouldn’t affect other areas of their lives.
Yes, it’s amazing how many people, men especially, have reached the pinnacle of success and then throw it all away on a whim or a fling. Most often, their downfall is in answering the siren call of a younger, beautiful woman. It’s like they have a death wish. As more women attain the pinnacle of success, perhaps will also behave in similar ways.
Our former state senate majority leader, a woman, had an affair with a younger man and caused quite the scandal. I thought we were supposed to get older and wiser. Maybe power is the fountain of youth and we’ve all just been misleading ourselves with Botox and yoga.
Sad but apparently true.