The line is fine between prude and prudent, and he - or she - who would be president should figure it out sooner than later. At this juncture, Sen. Hillary Clinton is front of the class, while Sen. John McCain may be tending blackboards for a while.
With the sort of timing only gods can deliver, Clinton was making a boldly maternal move against sex and violence in video games at the same time bad boy McCain was being freeze-framed in the American psyche with randy boys and goofy girls in this summer's adolescent-male fantasy, "Wedding Crashers."
If we are judged by the company we keep, McCain might have picked a different movie.
Hillary, meanwhile, casting herself as America's Mother Superior, has built a platform opposing video games that feature sex and violence. This time she's gone after something called a "mod" - or modification - to a popular game (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas) that unlocks sexually explicit mini-games buried within the PC version.
Although this particular game is rated "mature" and not intended to be sold to anyone under 17, the mod can be viewed on the Internet. Clinton wants to find out who is responsible.
Thus has Clinton, in a lucky convergence of media moments, become Lucy to McCain's Charlie Brown. Exuding Miss Priss and oozing teacher's-pet smartness, she's managed to chip another chunk of the GOP's moral high ground, while one of her likeliest contenders for the 2008 presidential run is criticized for dubious judgment and questionable company.
For those who may have missed the movie trailers, "Wedding Crashers" is about two rakes who, looking for fresh fields to plow, crash weddings where nubile bridesmaids, primed with romance and lubricated with champagne, offer easy pickin's.
It's a cute idea, but the movie also features beaucoups bare breasts, under-the-table fondling and that always reliable icebreaker - a female-on-male rape scene. All in good fun, I hear. Thus far I've denied myself the great pleasure (I'm sure) of seeing the movie, but I've received eyewitness accounts from treasured sources, none of whom work in the White House and all of whose names are safe with me.
However innocuous his appearance, McCain might have resisted the temptation to become a Hollywood celeb and stuck with his image of centrist war hero. Not that his cameo amounted to much. He and Democratic consultant James Carville are shown attending a Washington, D.C., wedding. That's about it.