Schadenfreude Follies: Republican (and one Democrat) sex scandal edition!
Still, when so many things are going badly, it's good to have everyone's favorite guilty pleasure to fall back on, so, partly at the request of my brother, here's a Top Ten of sex scandals and peccadilloes by our political enemies. It's not that Democrats are always pure and Republicans are always corrupt. It's not even that I think other people's sex lives are our businss, unless those same people are taking a more than healthy interest in the sex lives of their fellow Americans.
When it comes down to it it feels so much better when the guys who are hollering the loudest about those icky people and their icky practices get caught engaging in those icky practices themselves.
And, as much fun as that is, what makes it all the more fun is watching the explanations they really seem to believe will get them off the hook.
So, here we go, although this Top Ten does not come from the home office in Wahoo, Nebraska:
Number Ten--John Jenrette, D., S. Car. His downfall in Congress was probably the result of his bribery conviction, but what really catapulted him into glory was when he had sex with his then-wife, Rita Jenrette, behind a pillar on the steps of the Capitol Building.
Number Nine--Jack Ryan, R., Ill. He was married to TV star and former Borg Geri Ryan, but his campaign for the U.S. Senate ran aground when her divorce filings revealed that he had taken her to sex clubs in New Orleans, New York City, and Paris, where he had begged her to perform sex acts with him in front of other attendees of the clubs. Jeri Ryan described one as "a bizarre club with cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling." Brack Obama was eventually elected after Ryan was replaced in the Senate campaign by Alan Keyes.
Number Eight--Jeff Gannon. You may know him by his real name, James Dale Guckert, or you may just remember the guy who got preferential treatment by the Bush Administration for being just their kind of conservative wack job, at least until they figured out that he was a male prostitute masquerading as a journalist.
Number Seven--Ted Haggard. Before his scandal broke you had probably never heard of him, but he was a big name in the world of evangelical mega-churches. Too bad he got caught spending church money on the services of a male prostitute. He said it was just a massage, the prostitute says it was three years of sex and amphetamines. Buh-bye, Ted.
Number Six--David Almond, R., N. Car. He may deserve a higher spot on the list, except you've probably never heard of him because he was only a state legislator and he had the decency to step down as soon as he got caught. Still, what can you say about the family values politician who exposed himself in front of a female employee and chased her around the room yelling "Suck it, baby, suck it." ? Oh yes, in true Republican fashion Almond was the vice chairman of the House committee on children, youth and families.
Number Five--Paul R. Balach. A top aide to former Labor Secretary Elizabeth Dole, Balach was forced out of his job when he admitted "he had procured male prostitutes and was subjected to blackmail threats by one of the call boys." Thanks, Washington Times, for driving this particular scandal to new lows.
Number Four--Robert Bauman, R., Md., another conservative extremist who served in the Congress from 1973-1980, where he received a perfect 100 on the Christian Voice Morality Rating. Too bad that was before he got caught interfering with young boys in a public toilet.
Number Three--Mark Foley, R., Fla. I guess the best he can say for himself is that he didn't actually have sex with them, but sending lewd e-mails to Congressional pages and asking them to send him pictures of themselves seemed just a tiny bit out of keeping with his family values and anti-child-pornography legislative positions. What puts him so close to the top here, though, is the way his sudden departure helped pave the way to a Democratic House majority in 2006.
Number Two--David Vitter, R., La., the first Republican ever elected to represent Louisiana in the U.S. Senate, family values guy, and early supporter of Rudy Giuliani. He got his start in Congress replacing Bob Livingstone, who stepped down as Speaker and resigned from the House after his own marital infidelity was exposed during Clinton's impeachment trial. Following in Livingstone's footsteps, Vitter has been implicated in the "D.C. Madam" case, with his number appearing repeatedly in her phone records.
Number One--Larry Craig, R., Id. It's just come out that he pled guilty earlier this month after he was caught in an airport men's room by an undercover cop. Larry made himself comfortable in a stall, put his briefcase down in front of the door, and began signalling to the man in the next stall.
“At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area,” the report states.
Craig then proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times, and Karsnia noted in his report that “I could ... see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.”
Karsnia then held his police identification down by the floor so that Craig could see it.
“With my left hand near the floor, I pointed towards the exit. Craig responded, ‘No!’ I again pointed towards the exit. Craig exited the stall with his roller bags without flushing the toilet. ... Craig said he would not go. I told Craig that he was under arrest, he had to go, and that I didn’t want to make a scene. Craig then left the restroom.”
His explanations and excuses are priceless:
"At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions. I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously." And Craig stated “that he has a wide stance when going to the bathroom and that his foot may have touched mine.”
Do I need to say it? A very quick check of Craig's record on gay issues turns up the fact that he voted in favor of an Idaho Constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, and also voted in favor of last year's Federal Marriage Amendment doing the same thing.
So come on, people. Let's hear it for those upstanding men and women--oops, men only, sorry--who are working so hard to uphold the values our nation was built on.