The seasons of Washington

Washington’s seasons provide dramatic welcomes to its citizens. Cold winter evolves into flowery spring and denizens move outside, shed heavy clothing and inhale the freshness. So, too, do the capital's political seasons bring welcoming changes.

We move regularly from the intensity of debates over foreign misadventures to tax reforms and stressful infighting among our representatives, to the sexual affair of the moment, grateful for the always-engaging examinations of human frailty and the weaknesses of our representatives: the meaning of legs sliding in airport men’s rooms, midnight baths in fountains, furtive visits to houses of prostitution (whose names will be seen on the madam's black books?). What a relief from the tedium of two years of electoral politics to read about generals' indiscretions.

You couldn't make up this stuff about the current downfall of General Perfect, could you? The book's title, All In? Come on. Our security-in-chief official murmuring sweet nothings over email? They are postcards, for crying out loud, everyone knows. Tampa's entertainer-in-chief and her Weiner imitator FBI pal twittering body poses and opening questionable cases, and involving friendly politicians where they don’t belong! Everyone questioning why THEY didn't know about an ongoing criminal investigation that didn't find any criminal wrongdoing?

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We'll chew this one over throughout the holiday season, providing the cable analyzers material to replace 9-9-9, Oops, and Nate Silver's prophetic poll calculations for weeks. When will we give this kind of attention to the causes of the mortgage fiascos or the banking malfeasances? Sorry, I forget how it works.

We turn to on-air comedians for the best insights on current events, so no surprise that John Oliver pointed out on Jon Stewart's show Tuesday evening that the Petraeus affair raises the question of "Don't ask, don't tell" for heterosexuals in the military.

In the Watergate days, when someone asked how much longer the front pages would dwell on that affair, my friend, the worldly humorist Frank Mankiewicz, wryly commented, "Yes, I can't wait to get back to reading about the GNP again every morning over my cup of coffee."