Emily Bazelon argues for the political relevance of Rudy Giuliani's famous mistreatment of his second wife. Ross Douthat responds with, among other things, a hypocrisy allegation: "I seem to recall a few conservatives - okay, maybe all of them - making precisely this argument about Bill Clinton without very many liberals joining the chorus, and I'm sure that Bazelon's discovery of the character issue in Giuliani's case has nothing to do with his party affiliation."

But look, here, by the time the extent of Bill Clinton marital issues came to light in 1998, the man had been President of the United States for more than a few years, so it was hardly necessary to go searching around for hints and clues as to whether or not one would approve of his conduct in office. Indeed, my sense is that conservatives mostly regarded Clinton's misconduct in this regard as a kind of synecdoche (or maybe metonymy -- sorry, Mr. Glassman!) for an failed presidency. Most Americans, by contrast, viewed Clinton's presidency as reasonably successful and his conduct vis-a-vis his wife, children, and Monica Lewinsky therefore not-especially-relevant to their judgments.

Giuliani, by contrast, is trying to run for president on an extremely hazy policy platform, has almost no relevant experience in public office (much less than, say, John Edwards or Barack Obama) since his signature accomplishments on crime are almost totally outside of federal authority, and, indeed, is running a campaign based on entirely on his character attributes.