Politics

Gee, Pops, Do Republicans Ever Have Sex Scandals? Or, Yet Another Reason Why Independents Are Growing.

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Over the weekend, I read this Jonah Goldberg column about DSK, the French more generally ("the French deserve to be mocked"), and political sex scandals on this side of the Atlantic. Goldberg writes,

But America is hardly so righteous….

If memory serves, Bill Clinton had to deal with a large number of "bimbo eruptions," as one of his aides put it. He was accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment. And the same feminists who once insisted that women never make such things up suddenly responded by calling the president's accusers liars or by simply abandoning the very standards they had established….

So yes, the French should be ashamed. But they're not the only ones.

Whole thing here.

Goldberg also lays into Ted Kennedy, whose career with the ladies is most charitably described as disgusting. So you get it, don't you, America, it's Democrats who shame America with their tawdry sex scandals. Not good rock-ribbed Republicans who, like Sen. John Ensign (R-Nevada), who recently resigned from office due to, well, a sex scandal. Or Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), whose whore-mongering caused a stir a few years back. Or toilet-cruising casanova Sen. Larry Craig, whose "wide stance" still lingers on in the public memory like the rancid smell of an airport men's room. Or one-time Speaker-elect Bob Livingston (R-La.) who resigned his post due to phone sex issues as he kicked off the impeachment hearing of President Bill Clinton. Or Newt Gingrich, whose on-the-books history is tawdry enough without the former Speaker's various equations of Democratic Party values to those of Woody Allen, who ended up marrying the adopted daughter of his former partner.

Oh, OK, those guys are all hypocrites, sure, but are they actual mashers and maulers, like (allegedly) DSK and Clinton and Kennedy? Hmm, not sure about them, but then what about the congressional stalker Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) whose unwanted texts and IMs to House pages helped bring down now just Foley but the GOP back in the 2006 elections? Or the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (D-then-R-S.C.) who ran on a segregation platform for president in 1948, was widely renowned for aggressively hitting on everything that moved, and had a child with a 15-year-old black woman in 1920s South Carolina. Given the age of the women, the larger racial context of the situation, and Thurmond's secrecy, questions persist about the consensuality of it all. Then there's Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.) who quit the Senate before being kicked out for sexual harassment back in 1995. And let's not forget Sen. John Tower (R-Texas), George H.W. Bush's pick for Defense secretary whose nomination went down in flames after tales of literally chasing women around desks surfaced.

I could go on, but there's no reason to. My point isn't that Republicans, like Democrats, are filled with sexual predators. Or that the GOP is more hypocritical on the issue, or that conservatives such as Goldberg are quick to moralize. It's really that this sort of one-eye-closed, transparently partisan take on every current event imaginable is one of the many reasons that more and more voters are slow to call themselves Republicans and Democrats. Can you blame us? It's the only sane response to the sort of patently bogus recourse to the sort of discourse espoused by the conventional right and left in the name of politics.

If you're interested in related developments, as well as an escape hatch from the dualistic, Manichean trap of contemporary politics—where there's Coke or Pepsi and that's it, buddy boy—check out the forthcoming book by me and my Reason colleague Matt Welch. It's called the The Declaration of Independents; click here for more info.

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  1. Not to mention those dirty dirty Whigs.

    1. F’ing dirty democrats……(Reason as usual has absolutely no comment about the republicans)~!

  2. Of course Goldberg sees only the sexual misconduct of TEAM BLUE; he’s TEAM RED. Partisans are incapable of seeing that they are virtually indistinguishable from the other TEAM, because admitting that they are two sides of the same coin would destroy their fantasy that they’re actually different and opposed.

    Admitting that the reason that their TEAM members are sexual idiots would mean admitting that power makes people stupid and feckless, and that people who crave such power need to be kept from it lest they chase pages around desks, or pass the PATRIOT Act.

    But that would mean that their collectivist group mentality was fucking stupid and wrong, and that winning wasn’t everything, and then where would they be? So here we are again, back to “the other TEAM is terrible”. So fucking pathetic, but it will never change.

    1. Yeah, but it’s worser when Team Red does it!

      1. Um, I meant “it’s worser when Team Blue does it”.

        Actually, I meant both.

    2. Do you think it’s more power making people feckless and stupid, or is it that the feckless and stupid seek power over others?

      Or is it a chicken or the egg thing?

  3. “bimbo eruptions”

    Nice.

  4. People who seek power seek it for one thing- POWER! WTF, why would anyone think someone seeking a position of power wouldn’t use it in ways to show how powerful they are.

  5. Although it is commonplace to accuse Rs of hypocrisy when it comes to morality, that accusation is frequently unjustified. There is a difference between a moral failure, i.e. an inability to live up to one’s professed principles, and hypocrisy, i.e. making no effort to live up to one’s professed principles.

    1. ^^^^^^^

      *sniff*

      I know bullshit when I smell it.

      Anyone who has “an inability to live up to one’s professed principles” is not an adult and should not be deemed competent for office.

      1. I’m sure we all fall short of our principles every once in a while.

        Still, I suspect politicians are actually hypocrites, who simply see public respect for sexual propriety as a tool for their own status and advancement.

  6. We all remember, of course, that the whole Craig affair was a farce from the word ‘go?’

    1. One thing in Craig’s defense – at least he wasn’t a predator. A stupid hypocrite, but not a predator.

  7. toilet-cruising casanova Sen. Larry Craig, whose “wide stance” still lingers on in the public memory like the rancid smell of an airport men’s room.

    Thanks for the visual. And kudos on the choice of words there.

  8. Eh, I don’t know.

    I think that Goldberg’s point here is that Democrats are able to pivot on a dime from supporting wholesale changes to society and to the law in order to “empower” women who accuse men of misconduct [up to and including fundamentally changing or eliminating basic due process and means rea concepts] to damning women who accuse Democrats of misconduct.

    He’s not calling Republicans out for it because, honestly, Republicans do that particular switcheroo less often.

    Republicans are more likely to be hypocrites about family values. Democrats are more likely to be hypocrites about exactly how “empowered” women should be to bring down the powerful…if the powerful in question are leftists. That’s just how it goes.

    1. Yeah, I agree. Nick’s working hard to make this a peg to hang a plug for his book on but I think it’s a bit of a stretch.

      Goldberg was, I think, pointing out folk who will abandon their principles to defend ‘their’ guy against allegations that they would ordinarily be up-at-arms about as a general matter of policy.

      To wit, suggesting that Goldberg was merely ignoring his own side’s pecadillos while harping on the other’s misses a significant difference in the groups: every single Repub. example Nick cites was disgraced and all but one (is Craig still hanging on?) were either kicked out of office or left before the boot could hit their ass. (OK, I guess Strom held on too, but as I recall the allegations about him didn’t come out until after he was dead.)

      The Dems, on the other hand, despite a staunch commitment to equality for women & a concomitant desire to see stern rules against sexual harassment, assault & all other crimes against womynkind enacted & strictly enforced, somehow seem able to forgive & forget when it’s their man doing the groping/assaulting/killing in drunken car wrecks.
      Or maybe I’m forgetting the history, somebody remind me, did Clinton & Kennedy have to abandon office b/c of the righteous outrage of their feminist base after their abominable treatment of women came out? Or did we instead see disgusting columns eulogizing Kennedy pointing out that if Kopechne had lived she would have greatly benefited from his hard work on behalf of all Americans?

      I’m inclined to agree w/ Nick’s book’s thesis of the general disgusting-ness of mainstream politicos & parties but using this as an example of such requires mangled comparisons & misunderstanding the point of Goldberg’s column.

      1. “…Kopechne had lived she would have greatly benefited from his hard work…”
        heh heh….’hard’ work

        C’mon – lets just call it penis work and give it its due. Its an appendage that labors long (if your lucky) in the dark. Sure its slippery work…and what cums of it???
        When we understand what these guys are trying to pull…on, we will all be getting off better…

  9. And it’s not just the big two parties that do this stuff. Can’t you just see Bernie Sanders feeling up some intern for the collective good?

    1. I thought this post was guaranteeing me that independents weren’t going to stick their dicks where they don’t belong.

      1. Socialists like to rape too, sage.

        1. ME NO SOCIALIST!!!

          1. I wish someone would rape *me*…

            1. NOT EVEN WITH STOLEN DILDO!!!

              1. I can help with that…

  10. i think Nick is working too hard to gin up outrage on this one

    the only republican to come anywhere close to DSK or Kennedy is Packwood (a great porn name), and that was nearly 2 decades ago

    the standard line is to attack republicans on this because they are “family values” hypocrites, but goldberg is making the point that democrats are much more hypocritical on this

    i recall during the clinton years friends who were hardcore feminists suddenly turning a 180 and going from “always believe the woman” to “she’s just trailer trash looking for attention”

  11. …..more voters are slow to call themselves Republicans and Democrats. Can you blame us? It’s the only sane response to the sort of patently bogus recourse to the sort of discourse espoused by the conventional right and left in the name of politics.

    Maybe the parties are just stacking the primaries? I’m going to register as a republican in NY only so as to vote for Paul or Johnson in the primary next year.

  12. First off, I don’t trust anyone that seeks public office; such a person has obviously faulty wiring. Second, rape and other forced sex are about power, i.e.; the power to have sex with whomever they choose. Lastly, while Jonah Goldberg is taking a decidedly partisan slant on this story, there is a real difference between his examples of forced sex, and in the case of Ted, manslaughter, by Dems/Socialists and the transgressions, mostly affairs by married men, of the Republicans.

  13. I wonder what we’d find if we started examining libertarian sex lives in detail. But that would be like examining the sex life of a fly that you swat away when you’re cruising down the bike trail at sunset, so nobody bothers.

    1. Somebody bothers. Somebody always bothers

    2. Let’s see if it tags this one as spam, too.

      Anyhow, oh trolliferous one, somebody always bothers. Here’s the proof:
      http://www.flickr.com/groups/insectporn/

    3. Hobie,

      Even considering your limitations as the weakest of the Reason troll triumvirate (Max, Shreik, and yourself) that was abnormally lame even considering the low standards by which you are judged.

      1. Actually, I think Sacre Bleu has passed Hobie in infuriatingly stupid “gotchas” and unjustified dismissals, so if we’re limiting it to 3, Hobie is relegated to an “also trolled.” He’s the Kucinich of H&R trolls.

        1. Sacre Bleu is a sockpuppet who belongs to Tony I think.

    4. Everyone knows that libertarian also means libertine. You can’t hold a libertarian’s sexy sex life against him if you want to snare him in the hypocrite trap. In fact, if he’s not getting all freaky between the sheets then he’s not really living the libertarian lifestyle he’s trying to foist on everyone else.

    5. Actually, I imagine that entomologists find the mating habits of flies to be interesting.

  14. Way to miss Goldberg’s point, Gillespie. It was not that Republicans don’t have tawdry sexual behavior in their ranks, it’s that their supporters generally do not go into MNG level contortions to rationalize their heroes behavior. How many of the Republicans resigned or were disavowed by the GOP rank and file when the scandals came to light?

    Could Gillespie be bothered to read an article before he goes on a rant about it? Or is he too concerned with promoting that absurdly named book?

  15. Oh come on, you’re bashing Goldberg for citing Clinton and Teddy rather than John Ensign and Larry Craig, in a sentence whose point is sarcastically that America would never allow a masher to become a LEADER of the party? Yeah, I totally remember Ensign’s domination of the political scene. Even Gingrich, who actually did approach fame, just had a fairly ordinary affair… not mowed his initials in pubic hair across the body politic the way Clinton and Kennedy did.

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