Former Senator Pete DomeniciIt's not often that I feel bad for politicians, but here we are. Former Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico has come out to announce that he fathered a son with, get this, the daughter of another Senator! The child of Domenici and Michelle Laxalt is now 34 years old, an adult himself, so why the sudden pressure to make a big to do about his birth?
Ah, here's where the pity comes in. Laxalt, daughter of former Nevada Senator (and governor) Paul Laxalt, and Domenici were facing the possibility that someone else was going to out their secret.
Good on them for taking the bull by the horns and beating the snitch to the punch. But come on, folks, is an out-of-wedlock child really something these two should have to be sharing 34 years on? Is it anyone's business but Laxalt's, Domenici's, Domenici's wife's, and of course that of their son, Adam Paul Laxalt?
Sure, a Senator was unfaithful to his wife 34 years ago. But that's Nancy Domenici's problem, and she seems to be over it. Her husband says he apologized years ago, and the fact is, they're still together.
And sure, a woman ended up raising her child as a single mother, but Michelle Laxalt says that was her choice. It certainly doesn't seem to have harmed Adam Laxalt, who is a successful attorney in Nevada. Nor did it hurt Michelle -- she's a successful D.C. lobbyist.
It also bears mentioning that she was 24 at the time of the liaison. This was not some pervy old man hitting on his colleague's teenage daughter. They were both consenting adults who screwed up. As Michelle Laxalt said:
One night's mistake led to pregnancy more than 30 years ago.
This didn't affect the way Domenici or Paul Laxalt represented their constituents. In fact, when Domenici voted to impeach President Clinton, he made the important distinction that the former president was wrong for lying under oath, not for having an extramarital affair. He kept it about the office, not about the private life.
That's how it should be. A gossip shouldn't be forcing a 34-year-old man to face embarrassment about his parentage simply because she (or he) can't keep her trap shut.
Politicians may work in the public eye, but they deserve to have private lives too. And so do their kids!
Should this really be a public scandal today? Do you feel for Pete Domenici, his son, and his former mistress?
Image via Wikimedia