THE traffic lament shared the screen with a link to an utterly different style of political feature asking readers to indicate which “presidential hotties” they’d get down and dirty with. The headline on that post? “Sexy U.S. presidents: would you hit it or quit it?” Sex, I guess, brings on rush hour. Maybe presidents do, too. They’re celebrities, even the dead ones.

It’s easy for the media and our consumers to focus on recognizable figures, how they’re faring and what they’re saying (or, better yet, shouting). I even spotted recent reports on what Chris Christie wasn’t saying. They noted that he hasn’t articulated a position on Syria, though that’s unremarkable and appropriate. He isn’t receiving the intelligence that members of Congress are, and he doesn’t get a vote.

He’s not the story, and neither is Paul or Rubio or the rest of them. What matters here are the complicated ethics and unpredictable ripple effects of the profound choice about to be made.

And if we want the men and women making it to be guided by principle, not politics, it surely doesn’t help for journalists to lavish attention on electoral calculations and thereby send our own signal: that we don’t expect, and voters shouldn’t count on, anything nobler. On a question of war and peace, we need nobler. We need the highest ground we can find.