All the Ted Kennedy talk has sent me pondering a perennial question of mine–just how much does personal morality or ethics have to do with public morality or effectiveness? In the United States media in recent years, politicians’ morality is often linked to their behavior in the home (or in Argentina). But the issue goes back much further, at least to King David and Bathsheba.
How do you think about this relation, through the intellectuals you have studied? Part of the question is how you would define what is good in the private and the public. It seems to me that as much as this is linked to the American Protestant heritage, it has also not been a constant in American politics (see Ted’s brother in the Oval Office, and the media’s silence). Is a “good” person in the home the same as a “good” person in office? Or rather, how would you complicate this question, based on your research?