02.03.12 3:15 PM ET
Having to appear on a stage with Donald Trump is surely degrading and embarrassing. But is it really so very much more degrading and embarrassing than the other things through which we put contenders for the presidency—and then in their turn, actual elected presidents?
H.L. Mencken's observations of 1931 have become somewhat obsolete, but only somewhat:
"The president has less privacy than any other American. Thousands of people have the right of access to him, beginning with the British ambassador and running down to the secretary of the Republican county committee of Ziebach county, South Dakota. Among them are the 96 members of the United States Senate, perhaps the windiest and most tedious group of men in Christendom. ... Many of these gentlemen drop in, not because they have anything to say, but simply to prove to their employers and customers that they can do it."