For both parties there’s an obvious element of self-destructive insanity in any extra-marital affair. The infidel is flirting with the possible destruction of his/her marriage, and, if he/she has a high-profile job, inviting possible harm to his/her reputation for the sin of indiscretion and the suspicion that he/she has an emotional screw loose. And the other man/woman will be emotionally wounded sooner or later, and made to feel like shit.

But having been there myself (i.e., I was the other guy in an off-and-on, two-and-a-half-year affair with a married journalist), I know that there’s no resisting the siren call if and when it gets inside you. Falling in love in the wrong way — illicitly — is always a troubling but mesmerizing experience, to put it mildly. You obviously know it’s not “right,” but dangerous affairs can make you feel intensely alive and vibrant, like you’re 19 years old and tasting God’s glorious nectar for the first time. You feel plugged into something extraordinary and magnificent, and you’ll say or do almost anything to keep it going, including jumping off a cliff without a parachute.

I don’t blame anyone, including Republican politicians, for succumbing to temptation and falling in love outside the bonds of propriety. The hypocrisy of Republicans who talk family values and then fool around with girlfriends in Las Vegas or Argentina is disgusting, of course, but airing private love letters online and on TV is disgusting also. Powerful politicians almost always fool around. It’s part of their makeup, and any woman who marries a politician and doesn’t realize that this kind of thing will most likely manifest sooner or later is flat-out delusional.

Why should any of us care about affairs if the politician is standing up for what he/she believes or doing what he/she promised to do for her constituents? Flying to Argentina on the taxpayers’ dime is ethically wrong, of course, but how corrupt is that, really, in the grand scheme of things? Has there ever been a politician who hasn’t used public funds for personal pleasure? Please.