Give Rep. Kevin Yoder a break. Naked swimming is less corrosive to the honor of U.S. representatives than many of their daily activities.
When President John Quincy Adams lived in the White House, between 1825 and 1829, the erstwhile diplomat and U.S. Senator frequently went skinny-dipping in the Potomac River, causing no fuss. President Teddy Roosevelt, an avid outdoorsman, swam naked in the Potomac too. Billy Graham was one of many to go skinny-dipping with President Lyndon Johnson in the White House pool. Yet today in a story emailed out to media professionals as a "POLITICO EXCLUSIVE," Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan write about mere congressional skinny-dipping like it's a serious scandal, though no one even tweeted iPhone photos.
There are so many examples of misplaced priorities and upside-down thinking in American politics. But I could scarcely believe my eyes when I read through the first paragraphs of their story:
The FBI probed a late-night swim in the Sea of Galilee that involved drinking, numerous GOP freshmen lawmakers, top leadership staff -- and one nude member of Congress, according to more than a dozen sources, including eyewitnesses. During a fact-finding congressional trip to the Holy Land last summer, Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) took off his clothes and jumped into the sea, joining a number of members, their families and GOP staff during a night out in Israel, the sources told POLITICO. Other participants, including the daughter of another congressman, swam fully clothed while some lawmakers partially disrobed. More than 20 people took part in the late-night dip in the sea, according to sources who were participants in the trip.
"A year ago, my wife, Brooke, and I joined colleagues for dinner at the Sea of Galilee in Israel. After dinner I followed some Members of Congress in a spontaneous and very brief dive into the sea and regrettably I jumped into the water without a swimsuit," Yoder said in a statement to POLITICO. "It is my greatest honor to represent the people of Kansas in Congress and [for] any embarrassment I have caused for my colleagues and constituents, I apologize."
Where to begin?