November 13, 2012

In the Nov. 11 installment of his Outlook feature “Worst Week in Washington,” on David Petraeus, Chris Cillizza wrote: “Petraeus’s resignation silences — probably forever — chatter that the retired general might seek the presidency.” I hope Mr. Cillizza is wrong.

The United States is one of the few countries to require our politicians to live perfect lives. This vastly restricts the number of potential candidates, perhaps precluding the best leaders from running for office. We would rather our candidates be mediocre and unqualified for the position, as the election last week showed, than to have led an imperfect life.

We idolize business leaders, athletes, musicians, artists and scientists who achieve excellence in their fields, regardless of their messy personal lives. Why can’t we do the same for our political leaders?

Janice Sherman, Key Biscayne, Fla.