February 21, 2013
Former Senator Pete Domenici
Former Senator Pete Domenici (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

The news yesterday that former Senator Pete Domenici fathered a son out of wedlock with the daughter of a former colleague wouldn’t seem worthy of comment, but for the reaction of the parents.  I am empathetic to many public figures when they get caught with their pants down or their hands in the cookie jar.  I tend to feel sadness more than anger. And that’s the way I normally would have reacted to this dredge of a story: “Leave them alone.”

But the quotes from the father and the mother make that hard. “I deeply regret this and am very sorry for my behavior,”  Mr. Domenici said.  “One night’s mistake led to pregnancy more than 30 years ago,” said the mother, who raised the child alone, by choice she said.  I don’t know about you, but these statements strike me as more than a little callous.  How does it make the child, now a grown man, feel?  Hopefully, he worked it out long ago, but it cannot have been easy and he probably wants few reminders.  His parents reacted like politicians, covering their own reputations and throwing their own son aside.  That’s the real transgression.