Political sex scandals a nonpartisan affairGosh. Thanks CNN. Thank you so much for reminding me . . . because you see, with all of the hoopla surrounding South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford - (R) and Nevada Senator John Ensign - (R), I had plum forgotten that Democrats were capable of human infidelities as well. Thank you CNN, for reminding us at this important time - when it seems like most of the sex scandals are emerging out of RepubliCon tighty-whitey underpants - that "Gosh, the Dems do it too."
"(CNN) -- If there's one thing Democrats and Republicans have in common, it's sex scandals.
No matter which party the philanderer belongs to, the public wants all the juicy details, as evidenced most recently by the public's fascination with South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's Argentine travels.
"That's just prurience," said Sally Quinn, a longtime Washington journalist and columnist. She's married to former Washington Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee. "Sex sells and everybody's interested in sex, so when there's a sex scandal, it's got everything -- you're talking about sex, you're talking about power, and in a lot of cases, money is involved. You are talking about how the mighty have fallen," she said."
What scalds my 'nads about an article like this is that it bears great resemblance to a long-used, and highly effective tactic of the RepubliCon Right. Anytime that a Democrat is caught in a corruption sting, or in an extra-marital affair, the entire Right Wing media-sphere goes absolutely apeshit, demanding resignations, criminal prosecutions, disgrace, humiliation, execution, whatever has to happen for the 'Cons to get a political leg up. When it's a Dem who done wrong, it's all personal responsibility, and failure to live up to one's moral code, and swift resignations. But when a Republican like, say, Diaper Dave Vitter, or Ensign, or Mark Foley or Sanford, gets caught with his pants down, then the 'Cons take on the same exact argument that this CNN headline screams: "Well jeepers, they all do it. The whole durn system is corrupt." No personal responsibility for moral failures, usually no resignations, and no prosecutions. If it's a RepubliCon who did the deed, it's not a personal failure of morality, you see - it's the whole corrupt vibe in Washington DC that was to blame for it. Heck, they all do it!
Nevermind that the CNN article doesn't mention John Ensign - a Republican Senator whose explosive extramarital affair and potential blackmail story has been plastered all over the News - in single paragraph. Nope. The word "Ensign" doesn't appear in the article even once. Instead, CNN invokes Gary Hart, Bill Clinton, some dude named Wilbur Mills, Eliot Spitzer, and President Kennedy, all Democrats. On the RepubliCon side, to be fair, the article mentions Sanford, President Nixon, Mark Foley, and Larry Craig. But ONLY Democratic affairs such Mills' and Hart's are explained in detail. No Republican affairs are given the same treatment.
And of course, let's not forget which Party is waaaaaaay more likely to be going around campaigning on its perfect moral righteousness. You don't hear a lot of Democrats toting the Family Values line, and telling constituents: "My personal ethics are superior to my opponent's" in the same way that Republicans have been doing for years. Personally, I think private indiscretions ought to be left up to the families to resolve, and shouldn't affect a pol's ability to do his/her job, unless the private mistakes have crossed the line into affecting the public good, as appears to be the case in Sanford's affair. Nevertheless, I'd say when you're self-righteously proclaiming your mighty public purity to the entire world, you open yourself to a bit more criticism when you can't keep it in your pants.
The point here is NOT that Democrats are more true to their spouses . . . obviously. The point is that the Right has a long history of condemning Democrats when they have private indiscretions, calling for their heads, and chastising them for immorality. But when Republicans do the exact same thing, the oft-repeated mantra is that "well they all do it." Nothing about personal responsiblity . . . usually few or faint calls for resignation either. And now, with the Ensign and Sanford scandals burning up the Internet and the traditional media, CNN seems to be doing the exact same thing.