Why does someone with a dirty secret go into politics?

I don’t know much about Dennis Hastert, but his problem sure sounds familiar.  Apparently he has a dirty secret in his past, and he spent a lot of money to make sure it stayed secret.  It strikes me as a bit odd that someone would choose a political career knowing that he had such a secret lurking in his part.  But this is, of course, the way politicians are.  A major plot element in my novel Senator involves just such a situation: Senator Jim O’Connor (who has his own problems) finds out about his opponent’s dirty secret.  What should he do about it?  Should he use the knowledge to destroy his opponent?

What would you do?  Well, you’re not a politician, so that doesn’t matter.  It’s these moral conundrums that interested me most in writing the novel..

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