There's an article by Gail Collins in the NYT today.
Gail spoofs the corruption of the powerful and gets some thought- provoking comments. Read it.
The power and isolation of office does a job on our public officials. Add to that the fact that you have to be at least a little screwy, if not a megalomaniac, to want such a position in the first place. It's hard to keep to the high ground when you're surrounded by aides and lackeys and hangers-on, all grabbing at you and expecting their due for supporting you & maybe you weren't looking for the high ground anyway.
What are the citizens to do? We aren't exactly sterling characters ourselves.
Shall we rely on the Journalists to watch and report on the devious? That didn't work with GWB--and journalists are prey to big-headed power plays themselves. And then there are all those bizzaro episodes like the Spitzer Affair.
Reformers and the Righteous and the Downright Insane.