Aug 8, 2008

Is it About Sex, Again? I Don't Think so.

By now, I'm sure you've heard that former Dem presidential contender John Edwards admitted to an affair that took place in 2006-2007. For me, the sex part is not important. As far as I'm concerned anybody can have sex with whomever (adults) he or she likes! I wouldn't even presume to know a couple's "arrangement" of their relationship or their "understanding" of their marriage.

But, I do have a problem with hypocrisy, and I'm not talking about pretending to be a great chef when you can't even make toast. When president Clinton looked his staff, his supporters, and the nation straight in the eyes and said, "I did not have sex with that woman," he betrayed the trust he, as a leader, had asked us for. It's this simple!
I also don't buy the argument, everybody does it. Well, not everybody, but even if this was the case, those everybodies are not asking for my support, my commitment, and for the opportunity to lead this country. For better or probably worse, Americans are about marital pretenses more than the western Europeans; so a situation like this has the potential to inflict great political damage.

Can you imagine what position we progressives would be in today if Edwards was the Dem nominee? No, siree, I don't want to be debating about the skeletons in someone's closet that come out months before this critical election--when we progressives expect some good change to occur! Someone asked, think of the situation in August of 2004, when we had our hopes on the Kerry-Edwards ticket... I worked for this team (in Cleveland, Ohio), four years ago, and I wouldn't have liked it at all to have this bomb dropped on us because of Edwards's insincerity and, frankly, irresponsibility!

Now, before the Repubs jump in self adulation, they have to be reminded that many of their leaders have been the worst offenders. McCain cheated on his former wife--the one that waited for him for years to come back from Vietnam--and they're allegations [Vicki Iseman, anyone?] that he strayed later too. As for the great GOP moralists who went after president Clinton, Newt Gingrich (Speaker of the House) has admitted that he was having an affair (yes, cheating on his then wife), and the House Judiciary chairman, Henry Hyde, was also a wife cheater. These two were leaders in the Clinton impeachment!

If I was advising a candidate, I'd tell them to make sure that the story you're about to tell the people jives with the truth in your private life. If you're a philanderer, you can't run on a platform to "raise the moral fitness of America." [I like this saying, used by many in conservative Christian circles only to have their leaders (ie, Ted Haggard) fall on their sword]. Otherwise, run on other issues, like the "it's economy, stupid."

It is the story a person tells to the public that comes back to bite them. I believe that most Americans could forgive someone who committed marital infidelity or had another trespass. That is, as long as that person isn't being deceptive. When someone is parading his family and using them to score political points & improve their image, this becomes part of the story they're telling us. Yes, I know, we the citizens are partly to blame, because maybe the country is ready to elect a black or a woman to the highest office, but I'm not sure it's ready for a single person without a family and who might be a libertine...

Does this mean that, for example, a homosexual or an atheist (god forbid) should pretend? No, on the contrary! Pretending to be something that they are not might eventually be revealed with dire consequences to themselves, their cause, and the nation. At a minimum, if a candidate doesn't want to discuss certain issues they consider private, then he/she can say,
sorry, this topic is off limits. Besides, despite the huge egos and often holier-than-thou attitudes, the politicians have to understand that it's not about them but about us. Service to society should be high in their list of priorities.


PS>Full disclosure: I had supported John Edwards's presidential effort, because I liked the message, on the economy, the middle class, foreign policy, energy, etc. Also, I had hoped that Elizabeth Edwards (I wish she was running sans cancer) would somehow push for universal health care as a first lady. Elizabeth will be speaking at the Dem convention later this month, no doubt about the need for health care as a right not a privilege!


10 comments:

e said...

I'd add that such thing further erode the confidence Americans have in their leaders.

cardinal sin said...

Most of the Republican presidential contenders this year had been married multiple times, and most were (are?) adulterers. Maybe Guiliani tops them off with 3 marriages, a proven adulterer and somone who married their cousin! (claims he didn't know it)...

;)

Anonymous said...

No, Newt tops them all. He went to the hospital to visit his wife who was in for cancer treatment to tell her that he has a lover who he's going to marry!

progressive anne said...

Honestly, I was so pissed off at Bill Clinton when he looked straight at us and said "I did not have sex with that woman!" I mean come on. wtf...

Then he stooped even lower when he repeated the lie in the interview with Lehrer. Lehrer asked him something like, "are you having an affair" or "have you had an affair".. Clinton said a big NO.

tsk, tsk

I never trusted that man again.

drew said...

Oh, and Clinton would later say, "depends on your definition of "is" is"... Bastard.

I voted for him though. What choice did we have? And, unless you see the very worst, aka George W. Bush, then you realize that as prez Clinton was OK.

Andros said...

Heck, when his father was the president I thought what a pompous jerk, a really bad president. Today I wish we had the elder Bush instead of his son! That's really bad! :(

Andros said...

I'd like to mention Edwards's statement that he "did not love her." Why on earth did he feel the need to say this? Is it better this way? Is he telling his wife that she was his true love?

Or, is he saying to Rielle Hunter that she meant nothing more than a sexual tryst to him?

Really bad handling. I'd tell him, be a gentleman, face up to your mistake, and exit with dignity. Even if Ms Hunter isn't nice to you now (I don't know this), just shut up and focus on your mistake, ask for forgiveness and move on with your life.

This also supports the theory that really smart men can be totally stupid when they don't use their upper head for their thinking....

sd said...

I bet you're glad now that Edwards is not the presumptive nominess. He looked fake to me since Kerry selected him as his VP.

Andros said...

Well, what can you say about the media questioning whether the Edwards problem is Obama's problem!

People, it's John McCain who cheated on his wife because he had found Cindy, his current wife!

[See LAT article]

Anonymous said...

what are you talking about? John "the maverick" McCain is always on the Straight Talk Express!



[I'm being sarcastic ;)]