Blogs > Cliopatria > The Ghost of Mrs. Reynolds

Aug 3, 2004 4:01 pm

The Ghost of Mrs. Reynolds

As he came under pressure as secretary of treasury, Alexander Hamilton opened the newspaper one day to discover that he had been accused of unsavory associations with a Mr. Reynolds. The article was in error. It was Mrs. Reynolds with whom he had an association.

Why bring up the Reynolds affair? It came to mind when I was reading that Bill Clinton still faces repeated reminders of his affair with Monica Lewinsky. The day after his big speech to the Democratic National Convention the Washington Post published a "where are they now" feature, complete with pictures, about Monica Lewinsky.

What a world we live in. Imagine if Hamilton, who like Clinton was forced to make a public confession, had found himself in the position Clinton does of facing the picture of his erstwhile paramour in the papers. But of course back in the old days the women in these sorts of stories were always invisible. No one ever interviewed Warren Harding's lovers. No one ever scored a big media interview in prime time with FDR's Missy Lehand. Nobody ever built a Barbara Walters television special around Ike's Kay Summersby or JFK's girls, Fiddle and Faddle.

Today these women would be celebrities. And because of their celebrity no philandering politician who has the misfortune to get caught can ever forget what they did.

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