]WASHINGTON — John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, told officials in the West Wing on Friday that he was willing to step down over his handling of allegations of spousal abuse against Rob Porter, the staff secretary who resigned in disgrace this week over the accusations, according to two officials aware of the discussions.
Forgive me, but I don’t know what Rob Porter’s nastiness as a husband or significant other has to do with his skill on the job. It seems that “sensitivity” has overriden other considerations for evaluating our elected and appointed officials. I can see its importance for a chief elected leader; they are supposed to set an example for others. But the people can make that decision. I can see its importance for, say, a doctor in direct physical contact with young gymnasts.
But we seem to have reached a period now where merit matters little and political and behavioral characteristics overrides (I don’t want to say “trumps”) all else. If we found out that Jonas Salk was a misogynist would that diminish the value of the polio vaccine? Would we have deprived him of the use of a lab at the University of Pittsburgh to do his work?
Ty Cobb was a notoriously nasty individual. Would we have deprived him of a spot on the Detroit Tigers? Alexander Hamilton was notoriously unfaithful to his wife. Need I say more?
I think we should balance what a person has to offer with their negatives as a person. And not go to absolutes of keeping people with bad aspects out of all employment, not to say public life.