Like would-be yentas trying to set you up on dates with their divorced friends, the political class is constantly trying to foist divorced candidates on the Republican Party, authoritatively assuring us that Americans don't have a problem with divorce anymore. Let's examine the truth of that claim.
Inasmuch as no serious Republican candidate for president is currently divorced, the facts can be considered without violating the 11th Commandment to never speak ill of a fellow Republican.
(That's unless you consider Newt Gingrich a serious candidate, which I don't -- although as far as being fodder for late-night comedians, he's the man to beat.)
We're always being chirpily informed, as an article in The New York Times put it, that when it comes to the presidency, "(d)ivorce, of course, is old hat."
But strangely, all the prominent divorced politicians listed to prove that point are the losers: John McCain, John Kerry, Bob Dole, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Chris Dodd -- all the way back to Adlai Stevenson.
In fact, there's only one exception to the rule that Americans don't want a divorced president: Ronald Reagan.
Although Reagan is always cited as if he broke the divorce barrier in presidential elections the same way Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball, this would be true only if Jackie Robinson: (1) were also the last black person ever to play professional baseball; and (2) no one knew he was black, something like Bryant Gumbel.
Many voters didn't even realize Reagan was divorced. And if they knew, then they also knew that Reagan's wife left him against his wishes -- according to their children, their friends, and newspaper headlines at the time that blared: "JANE WYMAN TO ASK DIVORCE."
That's a far cry from Bob Dole coming home and announcing to his stunned wife of 23 years, "I want out."
It's also a far cry from John McCain catting around on, and then divorcing, the wife who waited for him for 5 1/2 years while he was in a POW camp. While he was gone, she got in a car accident, which resulted in her losing inches off her model-height as well as her svelte figure.
It's a long way from Newt giving his first wife divorce papers as she was in the hospital recovering from surgery on a potentially cancerous tumor and then turning around and cheating on his second wife.
Those divorces are deeply depressing. None of us want to be reminded of the sadness of divorce, the wounded children and the lonely ex-spouse every time we have to listen to our president give a speech.
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