Friday, June 26, 2009

Don't Cry for me Argentina

Gov. Sanford Convenes His Cabinet

“The only vice which cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy.” (Hazlitt)

Do as I say, not as I do: So often life can be summed up in a twisted homily. Do unto others, but do it first… Many are called but few are chosen, many are cold but few are frozen. But there are actual homilies that include Alexander Pope’s, “To err is human, to forgive divine” which is tempered by Mahatma Gandhi’s “Hypocrisy and distortion are passing currents under the name of religion.” What brings these quotes and misquotes to mind today is the recent activities of some elected officials, namely Senator John Ensign and Governor John Sanford and their fellow legislators.

Ensign's designs, Sanford and Sin: First things first. Politicians have a long history of infidelity. In 1884 Grover Cleveland had been elected President when the opposing party developed a motto that underlined an affair that had produced an out-of-wedlock child, “Ma, Ma, where’s my Pa? Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha.” More recently the same could have been said about presidential hopeful John Edwards who had nearly been nominated but not elected. Bill Clinton’s dalliances provided headlines for months, Idaho Senator Larry Craig is banned from airport bathrooms, Bob Livingston was scheduled to replace Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House when he was forced to withdraw after being exposed. Newt himself made headlines when he went to the hospital where his wife was recovering from cancer surgery to get her to sign divorce papers so he could marry his mistress. David Vitter’s name was among the list of services provided by a hooker.

Sex lives and private lives: If Newt wants to dilly dally, Vitter prefers hookers, Craig taps to the beat of a different drummer, and Smokin’ Willie has a roving eye, what business is it of ours or any other American as long as these guys do their jobs as elected officials? As far as I’m concerned it isn’t our business unless they’ve broken the law while breaking their vows. But to some who consider themselves the moral police of the world, it seems to make a difference. John Ensign chastised others who have strayed, made an overt vow to honor the sanctity of his marriage including a pledge to never be alone with another woman, and blasted his fellow politicians who have strayed. Ditto Mark Sanford who was the first to call for Bob Livingston’s resignation and that of others who stumbles.

Hypocrisy Caucus: Former Republican senator from Idaho Larry Craig, was embroiled in an airport sex sting operation; Nevada Senator John Ensign suggested if he were in a similar position, “resigning is what I would do” (he lied). When the stain of infidelity marked President Clinton, Ensign was the first member of the Nevada delegation to call for Clinton’s resignation. Florida congressman Mark Foley engaged in inappropriate conduct toward a 16 year-old, male congressional page. Soon, other accusations surfaced and Foley resigned in shame. Oh yes, he also chaired the Congressional Caucus for Missing and Exploited Children. The man who replaced Foley was eventually derailed by his OWN sex scandal. Democrats John Edwards, Elliot Spitzer, and Bill Clinton were each engaged in sex scandals, but they did not devote the better part of their careers claiming moral status above everyone else. In the aftermath of the Lewinsky scandal, Bob Livingston was chosen to replace Newt Gingrich as speaker. But he instead admitted an affair and stepped down. Archconservative Idaho congresswoman Helen Chenoweth who blasted Bill Clinton's infidelity, copped to a six-year affair with a married rancher from her home state. Dan Burton admitted to having an extramarital affair and fathering a child out of wedlock after reporters said they were set to report on it. When confronted by a reporter, former House Judiciary Committee chairman Henry Hyde admitted to having had an extramarital affair. Gary Condit’s affair with an intern became exposed after the girl, Chandra Levy, disappeared. Levy was eventually found dead in a DC’s Rock Creek Park and someone else was charged her murder.

The sharpest dresser in New York: There was no greater New York tabloid story than former cross-dressing New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s high-profile divorce from wife Donna Hanover. She accused him of “notorious adultery,” and Giuliani married girlfriend Judith Nathan. The married-with-children former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevy -- with his wife by his side -- resigned as governor after admitting that he was having a gay affair. Spokane mayor James West who long opposed gay rights bills, was recalled from office after a gay Internet sex scandal and more were revealed. Pennsylvania congressman Don Sherwood lost his House seat after it was revealed that he’d had an extramarital affair with a woman 35 years his junior. She’s called 911 from a closet claiming that he’d choked her. He said he was just giving her a back rub. She won a $500,000 settlement.

Sex oozes from both sides of the aisle: As he was weighing a 2008 presidential run, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich acknowledged an extra-marital affair to the Christian conservative group Focus on the Family. Married San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsome admitted to sleeping with the wife of a top aide. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa admitted to having a secret affair with a TV reporter. Married Louisiana senator David Vitter got caught up in the DC Madam prostitution scandal. Eliot Spitzer who will be remembered as “Client No. 9,” saw the meteoric rise of his career come crashing down after it was revealed he’d spent tens of thousands of dollars on hookers. Soon after assuming office, the man who replaced Spitzer acknowledged that both he and his wife had slept with people other than each other. One-time Democratic shooting star John Edwards admitted to sleeping with a woman his campaign hired to shoot Web videos despite his wife’s very public bout with cancer and his 2008 presidential run. Married former congressman from Staten Island, Vito Fossella, who had three children with his wife, admitted he’d had a secret affair and children with a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel from Virginia. Finally, Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick ended up in jail after he was convicted of lying about a text message/sex scandal.

A little blogging music Maestro... “I Don’t Ever Wanna See You Again” by Uncle Sam.

Dr. Forgot

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