Thursday, June 23, 2011

Here I am

Hello there.  I’m a new Daily Times blogger.  I decided to write this blog because I’ve noticed that some readers (viewers, users) seem to have less and less grasp of the difference between facts and opinions in the Internet age.  I hope to point out some differences between the two, to illuminate little-known facts behind the headlines and, not incidentally, to express my own opinions in this forum.   Here’s hoping we get a lively discussion going.
Here we go then: 
In the wake of Weinergate, which came in the wake of the Schwartzenegger affair, which came either right before or after the indictment of John Edwards, I wondered which party has fielded the most – and most sensational – sex scandals in recent memory.
If you’re as old as I am, you may recall that it was Arkansas Democrat Wilbur Mills who kicked off the whole political sex scandal thing when police stopped him one night while driving in Washington and his companion, stripper Fanne Foxe, the “Argentine Firecracker” leapt out of his car and into the Tidal Basin. 
Before that the Washington press corps had a kind of “gentleman’s agreement” with politicians that their private lives were off-limits.   After that a great many details of politicians’ sex lives came out, including JFK’s trysts in the White House and segregationist Strom Thurmond’s mixed-race daughter, fathered on a 15-year-old family servant.
So, going back to Wilbur Mills and counting congressmen, senators, presidents (Bill Clinton) and governors, but excluding judges, mayors, elected state officials and non-elected administration officials, I compiled a list of 27 Democrat and 28 Republican miscreants, accused or admitting to sex scandals.
These scandals include, but are not limited to: fooling around with underage congressional pages and other youngsters (Bauman, Crane, Foley, Reynolds, Richmond); fathering illegitimate children (Burton, Fossella, Thurmond) ; soliciting and/or frequenting prostitutes both straight and gay( Spitzer, Vitter, Allen, Frank); fondling, groping, propositioning or having affairs with staffers (Souder, Ensign, Packwood, Adams, LaTourette); putting their lovers on staff ( Hays), many run-of-the-mill extramarital affairs (Hyde, Gingrich, Chenoweth-Hage, Paterson, Newsom, Wise, Condit) and, of course, posting explicit photos of themselves online or on Twitter (Lee and Weiner).
 My list is below.   Here is Wikipedia’s list which is more inclusive than mine, since I did exclude lower state and non-elected federal officials.  I also excluded a few accused miscreants that I thought were pretty iffy, such as Gus Savage and Arlan Stangeland.
The list includes Governors Schwartzenegger (R-Calif.);  Jim McGreevey (D-N.J.), who famously called a press conference to announce he is gay; Eliot Spitzer (D.N.Y.) who prosecuted others for using the service of hookers before being run out of office for the same thing, and Mark Sanford (R- S.C.) who has added “hiking the Appalachian Trail” to our long list of euphemisms for “having illicit sex.”   
Interestingly, the only woman on either my or Wikipedia’s list is Helen Chenoweth-Hage, R-Idaho, who admitted to having a long-term affair with an Idaho rancher. 
My feeling, is a pox on all of them, but I have to give props to the Republicans for flaming hypocrisy:  at least nine of the people on my list (Thurmond, Calvert, Livingston, LaTourette, Gingrich, Vitter, Craig and Ensign) voted for the impeachment or conviction of Bill Clinton.  Many of the rest on the list ran on strong conservative, family values platforms even as they were doing whatever it was they were doing in the sexual arena.
Extra credit also goes to Democrat Tim Mahoney, who admitted to several affairs, as he replaced Mark Foley, who was accused of sexually harassing a House page.
Finally, the most shocking thing I learned researching this post is that the “bachelor president, James Buchanan, was rumored to have had a homosexual affair with William Rufus king, who served briefly as vice president in 1853.  No direct proof of the relationship ever surfaced but the two roomed together for 15 years!  Maybe Washington rents were exorbitantly high even back then.
Here is my list, in more or less chronological order of either when the scandal occurred or when it was revealed. I haven’t included the specific sins and the sinners’ offices on my list as that would involve more typing than I’m up for, but feel free to look up any and all names yourself.
Democrats (1970s and 1980s) Wilbur Mills, Robert Leggett, Wayne Hays, Allan Howe, John Young, Fred Richmond, Gerry Studds, Gary Hart, Jim Bates, Barney Frank.
(1990s-2000) Chuck Robb, Brock Adams, Mel Reynolds, Bill Clinton.
(2000-2011) Gary Condit, Paul Patton (Gov. of Kentucky), Bob Wise (Gov. of West Virginia , Jim McGreevey (Gov. of New Jersey), Neil Goldschmidt (Gov. of Oregon), Roosevelt Dobbins, Gavin Newsom, Tim Mahoney, Eliot Spitzer (Gov. of New York),  David Paterson (Gov. of New York), John Edwards, Eric Massa, Anthony Weiner. (27)
Republicans (1970s and 1980s) Tom Evans, Bob Bauman, Jon Hinson, John G. Schmitz, Dan Crane, Donald “Buz” Lukens.
(1900s-2000) Ken Calvert, Bob Packwood, Bob Livingston, Helen Chenoweth-Hage, Henry Hyde. 
(2000-2011) Ed Schrock, Steve LaTourette, Jack Ryan, Don Sherwood, Mark Foley, Bob Allan, Newt Gingrich, David Vitter, Larry Craig, Vito Fossella, John Ensign, Mark Stanford (Gov. of South Carolina), Mark  Souder, Chip Pickering, Dan Burton, Strom Thurmond, Chris Lee.  (28)

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