Author Topic: Politician sex scandals  (Read 4352 times)

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Offline Arbutus

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Politician sex scandals
« on: June 28, 2009, 08:28:05 pm »
It's been a bad week for Republican politicians. Last week, Senator John Ensign of Nevada announced that he'd had an affair and stepped down from his Senate leadership post. Meanwhile, South Carolina governor Mark Sanford was busy doing this weird thing where he gave his security detail the slip, disappeared off the face of the earth for five days, didn't tell anyone where he was going, and finally showed up again on Wednesday admitting that he'd been with his secret lover in Argentina the whole time. Both Ensign and Sanford were on the short list for Republican presidential candidates in 2012; guess they won't be running anymore.

Sex scandals aren't just a Republican thing, of course; many politicians from both parties have been tarnished by their indomitable desire for hanky-panky. And a sex scandal, in America, is the kind of thing that often ends a politician's career, or at least ensures that they can never get elected again.

But here's my question: Why do we care so much? Why do we think it's any of our business what our politicians do in bed? It seems like we take it for granted that if a politician cheats on his wife or something, that means he is automatically incapable of passing laws, running a state, or doing any of the things politicians do, and he should step down immediately. Why? Where is the cause and effect here?

The thing that gets me is that it's so hypocritical; we wouldn't dream of holding ourselves, or anybody in the "real world" outside the media, to the same moral standards. If you found out that your boss had been having an affair with his wife's best friend, would you storm into his office and demand that he quit his job and retire early? Most people would not, probably because they realize that his affair has nothing to do with how he runs the company. Yet these same people have no problem saying, "I think Senator X is a terrible senator and should resign immediately because he cheated on his wife."

Where does this double standard come from? And why do we spend so much time thinking about our elected officials having sex, anyway? >_>

Offline Foxpup

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Re: Politician sex scandals
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2009, 09:26:43 pm »
Because what goes on in people's bedrooms is the government's business, at least when it comes to the Republican party. If a politician can't control his own behaviour, how is he supposed to control other people's? That sort of behaviour is only tolerated by Liberals and Libertarians (like me).
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Offline Arbutus

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Re: Politician sex scandals
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2009, 09:37:06 pm »
Because what goes on in people's bedrooms is the government's business, at least when it comes to the Republican party. If a politician can't control his own behaviour, how is he supposed to control other people's? That sort of behaviour is only tolerated by Liberals and Libertarians (like me).

Eliot Spitzer (D), Kwame Kilpatrick (D), Jim McGreevey (D), John Edwards (D), and Bill Clinton (D) would beg to differ!

Offline Nicholai

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Re: Politician sex scandals
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2009, 09:47:19 pm »

Where does this double standard come from? And why do we spend so much time thinking about our elected officials having sex, anyway? >_>

To some extent, we expect our politicians to have a crystal clear moral background, which of course, is completely unreasonable. Everybody makes mistakes, and politicians are no exception.

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Offline Foxpup

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Re: Politician sex scandals
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2009, 09:58:44 pm »
Eliot Spitzer (D), Kwame Kilpatrick (D), Jim McGreevey (D), John Edwards (D), and Bill Clinton (D) would beg to differ!

Eliot Spitzer
Involved in a prostitution ring under investigation by the Feds. A bad idea whether you're a politician or not.

Kwame Kilpatrick
He was charged with eight felonies. That's a wee bit more serious than your standard sex scandal.

Jim McGreevey
Being gay is hardly a sex scandal (except in America, apparently).

John Edwards and Bill Clinton
I think the real issue here is not that they had an extramarital affair, but that they lied about it.
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Offline Skazwolf

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Re: Politician sex scandals
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2009, 12:30:09 pm »
Perhaps it's a trust issue?

Offline Motor Mouth

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Re: Politician sex scandals
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2009, 05:15:29 pm »
It seems that politicians are more susceptible to having a superiority complex, they think they are so above the law and above their vows, that they can do whatever they want and cheat the system that they force everyone else to live by. I just feel bad for the wife and kids, they're the ones who have to deal with the pain the most.
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Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Re: Politician sex scandals
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2009, 06:37:33 pm »
Because what goes on in people's bedrooms is the government's business, at least when it comes to the Republican party. If a politician can't control his own behaviour, how is he supposed to control other people's? That sort of behaviour is only tolerated by Liberals and Libertarians (like me).

By that same token, it's governement's business when it comes to the Democratic party too since they like to get in our face to change our beliefs regarding such issues too. So don't think this is a one sided issue. Also, they seem to be the ones the most agressive and resort to violence more often than concervatives. Not all of course, but more so. Compare things like the ban on gay marraige and violence surrounding that to the tea party protests that didn't have any credible accounts of violence.  I do agree, whoever is in a position of power (be it politician, minister, mayor, school superintendent, etc), they should abide by the policies they advocate.

Now I can't speak for the entire concervative movement and I don't agree 100% with everything the movement would advocate, but most of the ones I listen to for "guidance", if you will, would tolorate most of these things in private. I.E. I don't care if 2 concenting adults are doing things they shouldn't morally be doing behind closed doors. That's not to say I'll always agree with it, but I still support your right to those freedoms. Well, I may try to talk a friend out out of it if he/she were about to do something stupid like that, but I definately wouldn't want to legislate that kind of behaviour. Where the left tries to say "Like and accept this or you're a bad person", I just say "Don't do it around me and we'll get along."

I'd say Skazwolf hit it on the head... this is a trust issue. Then again, can you ever really trust any politician? XD
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Offline Sskessa

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Re: Politician sex scandals
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2009, 08:36:03 pm »
It could also have something to do with the way people view their own relationships.
We would like to believe that adultery is something rare and abnormal and that those who do it will get punished. It's hard to admit it's something that happens all the time to all sorts of people.
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Offline Traumerei

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Re: Politician sex scandals
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2009, 07:16:28 am »
Personally, I believe that politicians should be judged on politics alone (save for major moral violations, like murder). If they can help lead this country decently, I could care less who they've slept with.

I've heard plenty of times, however, that judging those with sex scandals is an issue of trust. You can't trust them to stay with their spouse, so how could you trust them to benefit the country? Strange logic, I'll admit, but this is something I've commonly heard. It is as if some believe that cheating on your wife or husband automatically makes you a terrible person... I think this makes most of my family unfit for office.  :D
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Offline Nicholai

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Re: Politician sex scandals
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2009, 12:30:42 pm »
Personally, I believe that politicians should be judged on politics alone (save for major moral violations, like murder). If they can help lead this country decently, I could care less who they've slept with.

I've heard plenty of times, however, that judging those with sex scandals is an issue of trust. You can't trust them to stay with their spouse, so how could you trust them to benefit the country? Strange logic, I'll admit, but this is something I've commonly heard. It is as if some believe that cheating on your wife or husband automatically makes you a terrible person... I think this makes most of my family unfit for office.  :D

Very true. We all have our problems, and politicians are no exception. Unless those problems interfere with how they to their job, it's nobody's business but their own.
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Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Re: Politician sex scandals
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2009, 06:18:22 pm »
I've heard plenty of times, however, that judging those with sex scandals is an issue of trust. You can't trust them to stay with their spouse, so how could you trust them to benefit the country? Strange logic, I'll admit, but this is something I've commonly heard. It is as if some believe that cheating on your wife or husband automatically makes you a terrible person... I think this makes most of my family unfit for office.  :D

I'm not familiar with the moral views of every politician, but it's probably safe to say that political figures on the right lean more towards wanting monogamy and other traditional family values. If part of your platform is a belief in these, and then you go out and violate your own preachings, then that's where trust comes in to play. And in this latest governer's case, being in the Republican party automatically associates him with these values even if he personally hasn't advocated or believed in them unless he comes out against them specifically. Since he's got the (R) next to his name, it's automatically assumed he wouldn't be for such things and that's where the trust issue comes in. Going back to the company boss cheating comparison, said boss isn't normally in a position to talk about morals as part of his job and leadership. *IF*, for example, he did run his company by incorporating certain moral and family values, then it would become a trust issue there as well.
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Offline Traumerei

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Re: Politician sex scandals
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2009, 09:48:08 pm »
I would assume your theory accounts for all sex scandals, but there are quite a few democrats who were shunned as well. In fact, the whole "trust" idea was given to me by a few democrats reacting to Edwards' controversy.
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Offline CiceroKit

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Re: Politician sex scandals
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2009, 11:28:20 pm »
We really shouldn't care about these scandals. They are private matters. It does not affect the voting public. We care precisely because the topics are forced down our throat by the 24/7 news media. It is an easy story to cover, and the very nature of such stories is sensational. When a media outlet has 24 hours to fill, the easiest and the sleaziest stories are what makes the news. Investigative news coverage about issues that are likely more pertinent to everyone's lives get scrapped.

In the U.S., we are a bit more puritanical than other nations, so people will feign shock over such stories (although, since they are so common, why should any of us be surprised?) Both parties have their leaders who have been caught in such scandals, and both parties have shunned people with sex scandals. What seems to be a clear difference is that more often with Republicans than with Democrats, there was a history of these officials being outspoken about a "moral" agenda, which of course attributes more hypocrisy to those offenders.

I remember talking with friends overseas during the whole Clinton sex scandal who said that in their native countries "the real scandal would be if one of our politicians had only one mistress." Of course this was said in fun, and should not be taken seriously. The point is, so what. People are only human. Everyone has weaknesses.

For us to put politicians on such a moral pedestal seems kind of silly, because we know of the very corruption they are capable of. To me, I kind of like a politician more when there is a sex scandal. It shows that he is a regular guy ;) (notice I said he, because I have yet to hear of a prominent female politician with a sex scandal, though I am sure it happens).

I am much more disturbed by someone who is in bed with big pharma than someone who is in bed with two hookers and a mule :)
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Offline Traumerei

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Re: Politician sex scandals
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2009, 10:44:40 am »
We really shouldn't care about these scandals. They are private matters. It does not affect the voting public. We care precisely because the topics are forced down our throat by the 24/7 news media. It is an easy story to cover, and the very nature of such stories is sensational. When a media outlet has 24 hours to fill, the easiest and the sleaziest stories are what makes the news. Investigative news coverage about issues that are likely more pertinent to everyone's lives get scrapped.

In the U.S., we are a bit more puritanical than other nations, so people will feign shock over such stories (although, since they are so common, why should any of us be surprised?) Both parties have their leaders who have been caught in such scandals, and both parties have shunned people with sex scandals. What seems to be a clear difference is that more often with Republicans than with Democrats, there was a history of these officials being outspoken about a "moral" agenda, which of course attributes more hypocrisy to those offenders.

I remember talking with friends overseas during the whole Clinton sex scandal who said that in their native countries "the real scandal would be if one of our politicians had only one mistress." Of course this was said in fun, and should not be taken seriously. The point is, so what. People are only human. Everyone has weaknesses.

For us to put politicians on such a moral pedestal seems kind of silly, because we know of the very corruption they are capable of. To me, I kind of like a politician more when there is a sex scandal. It shows that he is a regular guy ;) (notice I said he, because I have yet to hear of a prominent female politician with a sex scandal, though I am sure it happens).

I am much more disturbed by someone who is in bed with big pharma than someone who is in bed with two hookers and a mule :)

I couldn't agree more.
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Offline Yip

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Re: Politician sex scandals
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2009, 04:54:03 am »
Personally, I don't care one way or the other about the sex life of politicians. I don't see where that should have any baring on their ability to do their job.  I also don't see this "trust" argument being at all valid since they pretty much have to pretend like they wouldn't do such things. Seriously, do you think a politician could openly admit to any promiscuity and/or kinky sex without it causing them all kind of problems in their career?

Offline Traumerei

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Re: Politician sex scandals
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2009, 08:28:12 am »
I believe politicians should be criticized about being politicians, not about who they've slept with. Why do voters get angry at politicians for their intimacy? Does that have anything to do with voting? Even when you take the fact that Republicans are usually traditionalists into consideration, they are just better at hiding their scandals than the Democrats. I will not be convinced that a single political party is without lying, cheating, and hypocrisy.
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