Why does the woman always get the blame in high-profile political affairs?

The story I was reading contained the officially accepted version of how the Edwards-Hunter affair began. Hunter went up to Edwards one night as he was walking back to his hotel and said to him, “You are so hot.”

And that’s all it took, we are to believe, for Edwards to plunge into the depths of sin. Just one of the lamest pickup lines ever.

The exchange fed a familiar theme, however, in the accounts of many high-powered affairs: The woman is a nobody, the man is famous and powerful, yet the woman comes on to the man, seduces him and therefore is actually to blame.

Wasn’t it Monica who seduced Bill? I looked it up in the Starr Report, a government document so sexually grisly that I’ll deal just briefly with what took place on Nov. 15, 1995, the first of seven “sexual encounters” between Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton as reported by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr:

“According to Ms. Lewinsky, she and the president made eye contact when he came to the West Wing to see Mr. [Leon] Panetta. … At one point, Ms. Lewinsky and the president talked alone in the chief of staff’s office. In the course of flirting with him, she raised her jacket in the back and showed him the straps of her thong underwear, which extended above her pants. En route to the restroom at about 8 p.m., she passed George Stephanopoulos’s office. The president was inside alone, and he beckoned her to enter. She told him that she had a crush on him. He laughed, then asked if she would like to see his private office.”

I will draw the curtain here. But again we see the theme: A 22-year-old intern shows her underwear to the 49-year-old president of the United States, and he’s seduced.