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By contrast, American sex scandals seem to be either minor campaign-finance infractions - the cheerless halfhearted affair with an aide - or, like Mr. Sanford’s pitiful tale (at least as recounted at his press conference and as confirmed by the e-mails), a glimpse of loneliness and social isolation. It’s as if in the end all they want is the chance to be sitting at the bar telling the gal with the nice smile, “My wife, and my staffers, and my security detail, and the Statehouse press corps, and the guy who writes my Twitter Tweet of the Day, don’t understand me.”

Small government, narrow responsibilities, part-time legislators and executives, a minimal number of aides, lots of days off: Let’s burst the bubble.

Mark Steyn is the author of the New York Times best-seller “America Alone.”