The Chicago Tribune has succeeded in driving Jack Ryan out of the U.S. Senate race in Illinois, through an incredibly intrusive lawsuit demanding that the records of Jack and Jeri Ryan's divorce proceedings be made public. This may not be such bad political news for Illinois Republicans, since Ryan was trailing his opponent almost-hopelessly in the polls, but it is an awful destruction of a man's reputation, and has placed an utterly unneccessary burden on the Ryan's young son.
The Judge's decision was capricious, based on no legitimate election law, and the suit itself was not based on any accusation of wrongdoing against Jack Ryan, but on the entirely irrelevant fact that a candidate for the Democrat Party's nomination, Blair Hull, had some bad things from his divorce records come to light during the Primary and one or two of Ryan's Republican opponents clamoured for the release of Ryan's divorce records as well.
The Tribune's lawsuit was purely a "fishing expedition," and sure enough, they hauled in something sufficiently embarrassing to make any Democrat a folk-hero to his Party, or to force any Republican to withdraw his candidacy in disgrace.
Most adults understand that a custody battle in a divorce proceeding is a very unsavory event, in which one spouse tries to make the other spouse out to be an utterly unfit parent, by claiming the most awful faults and misdeeds they can recall or fabricate, and with the assistance of counsel, framing these failings in the most sinister sounding terms. Taking the filings in a typical custody battle at face value, you would conclude that the man was Jack The Ripper, and the woman was Jezebel.
Consider then, that the worst possible thing that can be said against Jack Ryan (and mind you, Ryan disputed the charge then, and disputes it now) is that some years ago he brought his own wife to some so-called "sex clubs," and once asked her to have sex with him in that club (where it was accepted practice), while other people were present. When Ryan's wife refused, he did not force her against her will, did not smear her to the press, did not bite her lips and tell her to "put some ice on that;" besides which Ryan's wife -- who, by the way, did not want the divorce records made public either -- now says of him that he is a fine man.
While what Jack Ryan is said to have done is not, shall we say, "mainstream" behavior, how many of us would wish that the worst that could be said about us, by those who know us best, was no worse than that?
It is predictable now, that about the first of November the Chicago Tribune will run the obligatory high-toned plaintive editorial, decrying the lack of good candidates to choose from, because capable people are unwilling to run for Public Office. Now, why might that be?