Who Scores More: GOP or Dems?

June 25th, 2009 at 9:06 pm | 15 Comments |

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The rapid-fire sequence of Republican sex scandals this year may inspire the depressing thought: what’s wrong with our guys? But a quick tally of reported incidents finds the two parties running neck-and-neck. Their polygamous Jesse Jackson is matched by our bigamous Vito Fossella. Their treacherous and exploitive Gavin Newsom would have a lot to discuss with our John Ensign. Their Mel Reynolds might easily have shared a prison cell with our Jim West.

It’s very striking that each party manages to believe that its own scandals are uniquely unfairly publicized. Rush Limbaugh today lamented that the press refused to acknowledge John Edwards’ affair until after the failure of his campaign because he is a Democrat. Left-wing bloggers coined the self-pitying acronym IOKIYAR (“it’s okay if you are a Republican”) to describe the press’s supposed connivance at Republican moral lapses.

Yet scandals strike both parties without a pattern. The list of misbehavers includes both Christian conservatives and San Francisco liberals, gays and straights, the sober and the drunk, the seemingly happily married and the notoriously miserable. We often say that hypocrisy is the worst of political sins, but that overlooks the number of politicians who exploit vulnerable interns and employees. Their conduct would not be improved if they were more brazen about it.

All the politicians in our incomplete sample are men. Maybe one thing parties could do to protect themselves: nominate more women? On the other hand, French presidential candidate Segolene Royal found herself in political trouble after her long-time partner left her. The betrayal confirmed a perception of her as cold and unfeeling. Maybe she should have had an affair.

* * *


Gov. Mark Sanford, South Carolina
Extra-marital affair

Sen. John Ensign, Nevada
Extramarital affair with staffer

Rep. Vito Fossella, New York’s 13th District
Extramarital affair with Air Force’s House liaison, fathered a child

State Rep. Bob Allen, Florida
Soliciting gay sex in restroom

Sen. David Vitter, Louisiana
Client of prostitution service

Sen. Larry Craig, Idaho
Solicitation of male undercover cop in airport restroom

Rep. Mark Foley, Florida`s 16th District
Sexually explicit texts to male pages

Mayor Jim West, Spokane, Washington
Sought sexual favours from underage boys

Rep. Don Sherwood, Pennsylvania`s 10th District
Extramarital Affair

Rep. Steven LaTourette, Ohio`s 14th District
Extramarital affair with staffer

Rep. Bob Livingston, Louisiana’s 1st District
Extramarital affair

Rep. Newt Gingrich, Georgia’s 6th District, Speaker of the House
Extramarital affair

Sen. Bob Packwood, Oregon
Resigned after 29 women came forward with allegations of sexual harassment and abuse

Rep. Ken Calvert, California`s 44th District
Arrested for soliciting a prostitute

Rep. Buz Lukens, Ohio`s 8th District
Offered a 16 year old girl money for sex; fondled a woman in a Capitol building elevator

* * *


Mayor Sam Adams, Portland
Sexual relationship with 18-year old male intern

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Detroit
Extramarital affair with Chief of Staff

Gov. Eliot Spitzer, New York
Client of prostitution ring

Att. Gen. Marc Dann, Ohio
Extramarital affair

Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina
Extramarital affair; funneled campaign funds; fathered illegitimate child

Rep. Tim Mahoney, Florida`s 16th District
Extramarital affair, paid extortion money

Att. Gen. Paul Morrison, Kansas
Extramarital affair with office administrator

Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco
Extramarital affair with wife of campaign manager

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles
Extramarital affair with news anchor

Gov. Jim McGreevy, New Jersey
Extramarital affair with man he appointed as homeland security advisor

Gov. Bob Wise, West Virginia
Extramarital affair with state employee

Gov. Paul Patton, Kentucky
Extramarital affair

Rep. Gary Condit, California’s 18th District
Extramarital affair with intern

Jesse Jackson, Democratic activist
Extramarital affair; fathered illegitimate child

President Bill Clinton
Extramarital affair with intern

Rep. Mel Reynolds, Illinois’ 2nd District
Indicted for sexual assault, relationship with a 16-year old campaign volunteer

Rep. Brock Adams, Washington`s 7th District
Eight women came forward with allegations of sexual harassment and rape

Sen. Chuck Robb, Virginia
Allegations of affair

Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts’ 4th District
Paid male employee for sex

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15 Comments so far ↓

  • ktward

    Okay, I really could have gone forever without that elephant image in my head.Granted, their behavior is unseemly (and downright seamy in a few cases). However, as elected leaders the crucial, overarching issue is *hypocrisy*.Now, out of this fine list you’ve compiled, which of these fellas campaigned on, promoted themselves as upstanding torchbearers of, and articulately supported moralistic ‘Family Values’ policies and platforms? Which of them *pointed fingers* at the others in self-righteous judgment, indignation and, ahem, congressional probes et al?Hmm. Let’s see. Think I’ll take a quick hop over to the google & youtube for some fact-finding. (It sure is inconvenient when one engages in both moralistic proselytizing and ‘sinful’ behavior in the age of the intertoobz, isn’t it.)

  • krove

    The difference between Dems and Repugs is the holier than though bible clutching finger pointing family values hypocrisy of the GOP morally fallen.If they wee not so self righteous in their condemnation of Bill Clinton and others then no one would give a toss. However people like Gingrich, Ensign and Stanford were all on that particular band waggon with a vengeance.Don’t therefore be surprised when they themselves are either doing worse when pointing the finger of the 10 commandments. That people call the whole self righteous party on it.Get out of other people personal lives as a movement and the public might give you some slack to fornicate at will.

  • Cforchange

    Once again, it’s not the “score”, the problem is the hypocrisy of the action. Remember Republican’s are the missionaries ptiching “family values”. Fools for sure.

  • krove

    Plus there is more to this Sandford affair than illicit sex. It’s also about money.”But here’s the intriguing question: would he have ever gone to Argentina in the first place if it were not for his mistress? And were there any potential conflicts of interest on the trip?According to Politico:According to the agenda, the trade mission included meetings on sugarcane, ethanol, and other renewable fuels.Those subjects potentially overlap with Maria Belen Shapurs profession, according to Brazilian media, which reported that she works for an international agribusiness firm called Bunge y Born.Taxpayer-funded trip to see lover? Check.Lover who works in the agribusiness sector? Check.Meetings with local agribusiness experts? Check.My oh my, how fiscally conservative of him.”

  • joemarier

    Couple of points: Krove, Brazilian ethanol is completely shut out of the US market. There’s nothing un-fiscally conservative about a free-trader politician trying to remedy that injustice.Regarding the hypocrisy point; Bob Packwood consistently opposed the Christian conservative agenda. No hypocrisy there. Was that not why he was given a free pass for so many years? Was that fair?

  • balconesfault

    As I pointed out yesterday – the real take away lesson seems to be that being a member of a party which believes that moralizing on private ethics seems to do nothing whatsoever to positively affect private ethics.So all the diatribes that claim that “it’s better to have high morals and fail than not to have high morals” might make party members feel better about themselves, but doesn’t do much to actually influence behavior.The net effect seems to be like what has been observed for abstinence only programs with teens. They “work” for the kids that don’t have sex, but don’t actually prevent more kids from having sex. But they do make for more insufferable kids.

  • ottovbvs

    Surely there’s a bit of stretching with this list(if we want to go down to mayors and state officials there are dozens of Republicans missing) and some of the charges against the Democrats are just allegations while in other cases they aren’t even elected officials. If we imposed a 20 year statute of limitations and limited it to national office holders and governors the weighting would have looked rather different. But putting all that on one side the NM ed staff are missing one crucial factor. The Scarlet H. Most of the Democrats hadn’t spent years on public platforms pontificating about family values, gay marriage, teenage sex, Clinton as sexual pervert, the evil of condoms and the place of Jesus in marriage. The Sanford and Ensign incidents aren’t important except locally but they added to all the other stuff are just another straw breaking the Republican back on the issue of HYPOCRISY. It’s word association. Remember those polls that asked what word you associated with Bush. I won’t remind the more sensitive of our bretheren. The major words association with Obama btw are nice and intelligent. With Republicans the word association is Hypocrite.

  • midcon

    Those who stick to governing and stay away from moralizing seem to fare better.People who set themselves up as the moral standard turn themselves into targets. We all love it when someone is hoisted by one’s own petard.One could take the elephants and donkeys as the GOP and Dems screwing themselves. However, my visual symbol of the GOP is an ostrich with its head in the sand.Still it’s a refreshing break from the difficult problems we face as a nation. Thank God for politicians. It is such a target rich environment.

  • sinz54

    ottovbvs sez: “Most of the Democrats hadn’t spent years on public platforms pontificating about family values, gay marriage, teenage sex,….”That’s because the Dems don’t have a Christian evangelical base. The GOP does. The evangelicals are key to the GOP’s GOTV drives in every election. Right now on RedState.com, that wing of the GOP wants Sanford hung out to dry–and they’re searching for another “moral leader.”They’re the ones who are insisting that the GOP turn its campaigns into moral crusades on “family values, gay marriage, teenage sex,….”The GOP’s inability to grow its libertarian wing as a counterbalance to its evangelical wing, is the root of the problem here.

  • sinz54

    OT: I’m going into the hospital for surgery and will be back in a couple days or earlier. Be back on NM then. Wish me luck.

  • joemarier

    Get well soon, sinz54!I will note that there are very few politicians out there saying they’re going to end the scourge of marital infidelity. The term “family values” was used for a brief time by one guy in the early nineties, and it related to the perennial (but now soft-pedaled) question of what to do about crime.

  • ottovbvs

    sinz54 wrote 24 minutes ago”That’s because the Dems don’t have a Christian evangelical base. The GOP does. The evangelicals are key to the GOP’s GOTV drives in every election.”…….ah just another of those unintended consquences of polarisation that I keep pointing out.

  • girlwright

    It’s not about keeping a score of sex-scandals between Democrats and Republicans. There’s equal scandal on both sides: a McGreevey for every Craig and a Clinton for every Sanford. The problem that hasn’t been addressed in the postings about the Sanford affair is Republicans have a HUGE Credibility Problem with the American people, which is very real and dragging the party down. Democrat politicians aren’t going around as closeted gays and at the same time not supporting gay rights or preaching abstinence while their teenage daughter pops up pregnant.Republicans need to step down from their holy mount of morality politics because its not working for the party. (The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll found very few Americans want to call themselves Republicans.) Every year theres stories of Republican hypocrisy: lawmakers or candidates being outed as gay, engaging in affairs, or their teenage daughter getting pregnant. Collectively, these incidents make American voters wonder if they can believe anything Republicans say. You can’t going around saying you’re above reproach and have this kind of stuff keep happening.Sanford and Senator John Ensign have given late night comedians enough fodder to be the butt of jokes for weeks. Democrats are chuckling aloud. This philandering couldnt arrive at a better time when the publics approval ratings for some of the presidents policy agenda is souring.If Republicans want to turn things around for themselves, they need to start by being authentic with the American people. Wake up and smell the coffee: remove religion from the political agenda along with the masks of hypocrisy. Maybe then people will start seriously listening to the party’s ideas.

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