The last few weeks have brought us a bumper crop of news about past and current public officials assuming the royal prerogative:
First, and most spectacularly, we have the French head of the IMF arrested in New York for sexually assaulting a hotel maid, part of which included the Monsieur in the buff chasing the maid down one of the hotel hallways. This is not the sort of stuff you'll get from your average peasant unless he's had about 12 shots of Jack and some strong weed, and even then only if he thinks there's no way his wife will find out. Some in France have sniffed at the notion that an eminent man such as the head of the IMF should be held to ordinary standards, but I think it will be hard for M. Strauss-Kahn himself to get sniffy if he finds himself living next to a stainless steel toilet.
Out in California, Arnold Schwarzenegger apparently has an easier way with domestic staff. The revelation that he fathered a child with the family maid has not only broken up his marriage but probably ended his political career, whatever that was worth. The fact that he felt no need to mention this indiscretion before or during his time as Governor has been little mentioned amid the soap opera aspects of the affair, but it does fit in with my theme here.
Meanwhile, some of our current and former presidential candidates have been keeping their hands in the royalist game well enough. Newt Gingrich and his wife bought at least $250,000 worth of jewelry from Tiffany's through something called an "interest-free" revolving account, which Gingrich described as a "normal business arrangement." I'm personally familiar with "interest-free" transactions, also known as paying cash, but I don't think I've ever known anyone who had an interest-free credit account, and I've certainly never had one myself. Stupid me, maybe all I had to do was ask.
The 2008 election's most toothsome candidate, John Edwards, this week came under indictment for what looks like major hanky-panky involving $925,000 of off-the-books campaign contributions used to keep his extra-marital affair (and the resulting child) out of the public eye, even as he was trying to become the leader of the free world. I never did like the guy, but I didn't imagine he was as loathsome a beast as he's turned out to be. I just figured he was a stuck-up, two-faced SOB.
Currently, Rep. Anthony Weiner's political career is rapidly decomposing following his "can't say with certitude" statement about whether or not that was his bulging crotch in the photo someone tweeted to a 21-year old female college student. From what I've seen of him, I regard Weiner as the political equivalent of a cloud of gnats at a picnic, an annoying partisan pest much like the defeated Alan Grayson. Some Democrats have had high hopes for him, but I doubt that he has much of a political future after this, especially if it turns out he's been telling a great big fib. So the big question in all this is: who does this schmuck think he is, a Kennedy?
Finally, lest we forget, our dear President has recently returned from his trip to Europe, where his super-giant sized prez car ran aground leaving the American Embassy in Ireland, which surely must be a metaphor for something. Obama had along with him a staff of 500, none of whom were able to keep him from blowing it with the Queen of England yet again. It appears that feeling like royalty and actually being royalty are two different things--at least, it probably takes more practice than Obama's had to convincingly pull it off. In any case, Obama came home and rubbed it in our faces on a stop in Toledo, where he wolfed down two chili dogs and a side of fries, the day after the First Lady unveiled the USDA's new vegetable-heavy dietary guide, which replaces the widely despised food pyramid.
Enough already, guys, we give up. Would you please just take your ermine robes and your golden balls and play somewhere else? Please?