John Ensign, the Republican Congressman from Nevada admitted that last year he had an affair. You may also recall that Ensign was the most vocal of all the Congressmen who derided Larry Craig when he was arrested for inappropriate behavior in a men’s room in Minnesota. OK, maybe picking up young men in a bathroom is different than cheating on your wife, but isn’t trying to have sex with a stranger in a toilet cheating on your wife. Or does cheating on your wife only count if it’s in a place that has a bed—or a couch—or something reclinable. While for Craig, the idea of looking for sex in an airport was not as horrifying as people thinking he might be gay, for his Republican critics, any kind of immoral behavior was equally appalling. What hypocrites. Gingrich, who blasted Bill Clinton for improprieties (that’s a nice way to say it), was having an affair while his wife lay in a hospital dying.
Yesterday, during a discussion of Ensign’s assignation (don’t you love the way that sounds), one of the talking head geniuses said that Ensign’s career was over. He might get elected to his Congressional seat again—because he’s a good Congressman and the voters love him, but his chances at a national seat (i.e. the Presidency), were over because, (and this is my favorite part) Republicans are less forgiving than Democrats. (Ensign resigned from the GOP leadership today) Pleeeeze! It’s not a contest of political, dare I say, sexual forgiveness. In fact, it’s not a political issue at all. (Although maybe Republicans are just more hypocritical than Democrats.) It’s a moral issue. It’s an issue about the abuse of power.
It was delightful to see that Ensigns wife was not standing by her man. I hope she hit him with a big cast iron frying pan when she found out. Nope, he was up there all alone talking about how he took full responsibility for his actions. Duh, who else could possibly have been responsible. It just cracks me up when a politician, who has done his constituency and his family, a terrible disservice apologizes in that way. It is so incredibly arrogant to suggest that anyone else was involved and that best he can do is say I’m sorry that I have to take responsibility. It was his way of saying, “I wish there was someone else to blame but I can’t think of anyone right now. So forgive my transgressions against all those people who I have hurt and will never do it again because I will be more careful next time.”
Ho Hum. As I said, it was a big relief not to see the “little” woman, in a forgiving stance, standing by his side. Admittedly, I don’t know why these elected philanderers think that women will think better of them if they have humiliated their spouse in front of the entire American public. It doesn’t do anything but suggest that she’s as big a jerk as he is. For example, remember not so long ago, when Elizabeth Edwards said that she forgave him for her children? That was just bull pucky. First of all, she never forgave him, which is why she wrote that book. The media attention she received for the publication was a perfect way to get back at him. (And has anyone seen John Edwards in the last year – gee, I hope he’s still alive. Actually, I don’t care.) And when Spitzer admitted his betrayal, there was his well educated professional wife (my mother would call her ‘smart, smart, stupid’). Anyway, I have never heard any woman say that it was wonderful to see that kind of support. Now, I don’t have much conversation with many right wing fundamentalists – Christian or Jew, but my guess is that even they were horrified that any woman would, by implication, say what the bastard did was OK.
To tell the truth (there’s a great deal of it here), I don’t care about Ensign, Spitzer, Craig Gingrich, or Clinton, (who btw, embarrasses his Secretary of State wife by getting caught in a strip club yesterday, . Want a picture? .) What I do care about is that these men feel like young woman (usually attracted by the power), are fodder for their desires and if they say they are sorry, they will be forgiven by family and electorate. Maybe they will be, but if so, something is desperately wrong with the expectations of our elected officials.