This is the second tidbit in A Prayer For Owen Meany to catch my attention:
May 9, 1987—Gary Hart, a former U.S. senator from Colorado, quit his campaign for the presidency after some Washington reporters caught him shacked up for the weekend with a Miami model […].
Americans don’t want their presidents to have penises but they don’t mind if their presidents covertly arrange to support the Nicaraguan rebel forces after Congress has restricted such aid; they don’t want their presidents to deceive their wives but they don’t mind if their presidents deceive Congress—lie to the people and violate the people’s constitution!
A Prayer For Owen Meany was published in 1989. John Irving was writing about Gary Hart and President Reagan (the Iran-Contra affair) but his comments foreshadow the Clinton and Bush administrations.
Americans disapprove when a President violates his marriage vows, but they look the other way when a President violates the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions.
Talk about straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! That’s what happens when your morality begins and ends with sexual taboos.
I wish [President Reagan] would spend a weekend with a Miami model; he could do a lot less harm that way. […] We ought to find a model for the president to spend every weekend with! If we could tire the old geezer out, he wouldn’t be capable of more damaging mischief.
The quotes are from pp. 268-69 and 274-75 in my edition of the novel.