Thursday, June 25, 2009

Infidelity in the Public Eye

There's a laundry list of dirty politicians that have been caught with their pants down. Yes. The pun was intended. My topic in blogs today: high-profile public officials busted for cheating on their wives. The most notable and infamous affair that sparked a wave of coverage on infidelity in the public eye was former President Bill Clinton. Who could forget that scandal? Sure the rumor mill has always included past Presidents, and while their alleged cheating was quietly swept under a rug, Mr. Clinton's salacious affair ignited a flurry of interest into public officials' personal lives.

The latest to publicly admit and tearfully apologize to an affair is South Carolina's Governor Mark Sanford. The details surrounding his disappearance were downright bizarre and cause for speculation that Mr. Sandford wasn't telling "us" something. That something was a mistress.

The dirty laundry list of politicians includes (but is not limited to) past Presidential hopeful John Edwards. Who could forget his ailing wife by his side as he confessed his sins on national television? Then there was New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who couldn't keep it in his pants. He was nabbed for his involvement in a high-priced prostitution ring. In case you forgot, former NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani, current NY Gov. David Paterson, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have also been in the spotlight for their affairs.

Unfaithful politicians publicly pay the price for their infidelity: humiliation, a damaged reputation, and in some cases the end of a political career. These men are not the first, and they certainly won't be the last to be dubbed "cheaters", all of their political achievements tainted and sometimes forgotten. Some say a politician who betrays his wife betrays the public's trust: do you agree? Is a dishonest husband also a dishonest politician, businessman, lawyer, or doctor?

I'm not going to analyze why politicians cheat. Over inflated egos? I don't think the answer is that simple. And since I'm not a psychologist, I won't attempt to dissect their behavior. All I want to know is: is it any of our business? Does the public have a right to know? And since I'm a journalist, I can only ask the questions...not answer them.


Leisel said...

I just want them to be honest about it. It shouldn't matter if they are having affairs, etc... that is a personal problem. They just need to be honest about it, and continue to do their job as effectively as they would have had they have not been adulterers. They must however own up to the fact that America's young people are learning from their actions.

dslobig said...

And don't forget about Nevada Senator Ensign. Both he and Governor Sanford were very outspoken critics of Bill Clinton and both wanted him impeached. The hypocrisy is extraordinary and frightening. I do believe the public has the right to know as it pertains to judgement. Sanford disappeared for a week and concocted a crazy story about hiking the Appalachian Trail and asked staffers to agree to that lie. That's dangerous. And scary. I like your site very much.

Rochelle said...

Would you break such a story if it was to happen here? Wait until the proverbial cat was out of the bag?Or are the gatekeepers keeping such embarassments behind lock and key?

Jeremiah said...

I think that it is our business up to a point. We are trusting these people to do what is in our best interests. If they are not able to even do what is in the best interest of their families by not cheating, how can we expect them to do what is best for us as voters? I don't think that we need to know all of the sordid details of their indiscretions but if an elected official is a scumbag who will cheat on their spouse and then lie about it, voters need to know because what's to stop them from doing the same to us?

Eric P. -SLC said...

There is probably nobody on the planet who can say that they've never told a lie in some way, shape or form. That being said, I feel the same way about the personal lives of elected officials as I do about the personal lives of celebrities. I don't care at all and I believe that it's none of our business. Yes, elected officials should be people of generally good character, which is what most likely got them elected in the first place, however, we must remember that they are human, just like the rest of us.