In truth, Petraeus’s behavior doesn’t even merit the label “scandal.” L’affaire Petraeus lacks every element of the definition. …

It’s illegal, or of dubious legality. Eliot Spitzer, a.k.a. Client 9, had to resign as governor of New York because he and the woman he met at the Mayflower Hotel got swept up in a prostitution sting. Idaho Republican Larry Craig had to resign from the Senate because the man he interacted with in the neighboring stall was a police officer. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) probably would have resigned if the evidence tying him to the D.C. Madam had been more specific than the presence of his phone number in her little black book.

Petraeus? Nothing illegal.

It’s non-consensual, or underage. Florida congressman Mark Foley resigned from the House after it was learned that he was engaging in Internet sex with congressional pages. Gary Condit and Bill Clinton rated higher on the scandal meter because the women involved were interns. Rep. Don Sherwood (R-Pa.) lost his reelection bid because of allegations (later settled) that he had assaulted his mistress.

Petraeus? Consenting adults.