Ross Douthat responds to queries about John McCain's mistreatment of his first wife:

As for my view of the matter - well, I tend to agree with James Poulos that an America in which politicians had a more difficult time recovering from flagrant private misbehavior would be a better place to live and vote and marry in. It's not that I think an adulterer can't be an effective political leader; it's that I'd like to see the social costs of sexual misconduct go up, at least on the margins, and having certain avenues to prominence closed off to you if you decide to ditch your family and take up with a younger, richer, healthier woman seems like a reasonable cost to impose on would-be divorcees. All of that said, though, we're obviously a long, long way from that state of affairs, and things being what they are, I'm not going to argue that social conservatives should deliver the White House to Obama in order to make a futile protest against the decline of masculine honor among our politicians.



That's cogently argued. But note that it's a cogently argued brief for the view that cultural conservatives ought to deploy the marital indiscretions of liberal politicians as a political issue while ignoring the indiscretions of conservative politicians. Just note that what looks like hypocrisy from the outside can often have a perfectly coherent explanation to the believers.

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