In a recent Times column, Gail Collins serves up the following with reference to political infidelities:

The American public has always had an extremely pragmatic attitude towards their elected officials.and will overlook almost anything if they believe the sinning pol can deliver on the job.”

Bravo! If true, my hat is off to the American public. And it is probably true. President Grover Cleveland was accused of fathering a love child while in office, but still was elected to a second term. FDR had a mistress throughout most of his terms .Rumors were rife about Eisenhower and his driver.And Bill Clinton remained very poular in spite of his sexual shenanigans and his impeachment trial.

I repeat: hats off to the American public or at least to the majority of them. To those who disagree, let me ask you a question: Which would you rather have in office, a philanderer who successfully governs in the way you would like, or a faithful fellow who leads the Country into wars, recessions, and inflation? The answer is obvious.

We are electing Presidents, not Saints.And, with all the attention we give them, all the cheering and hoopla and hallelujas we shower them with, who can blame them for believing that acceptable rules of conduct do not apply to them. After all, if vaunted Evangelical leaders and Catholic Priests cannot be trusted to uphold the rules of morality they preach to others, why should our Presidents be different?

In spite of this, everyone jumps on John Edwards. Almost all our newspaper columnists and TV talking heads turns thumbs down. I wonder how many of them are without sin. Glass houses, glass houses, glass houses!

I still like Senator Edwards and, even more, I very much like the causes he espouses.I feel sorry for his wife, but that should be a personal matter between the two of them. If she suffers from unwanted publicity.who is more to blame, her husband or the media who are mealy mouthed about her suffering at the same time they are contributing to it.

We live in a strange world. Millions of women will stand behind a husband accused of murder, but will head for the divorce court in response to a single case of infidelity.

# # # # # # # # #