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It Was Never About Sex

Posted by Mark · June 24th, 2004 · 20 Comments

Love him or hate him (and granted, eight years of peace and prosperity apparently pissed some people off), there is one contention in Bill Clinton?s newly released book, My Life, that you can’t argue with: the whole impeachment debacle, the irrational vitriolic rage aimed at him during his presidency never had anything to do with sex.


The latest in the long string of facts that prove this thesis is the news about Jack Ryan, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Illinois. His former wife, actress Jeri Lynn Ryan, says in court papers that Jack Ryan used to take her to sex clubs and tried to pressure her into performing public sex acts in front of others. Granted, some Illinois Republicans have quietly expressed their displeasure with Ryan over these revelations. But where is the public outrage from the Republicans? The silence is deafening.

When Arnold Schwarzenegger was running for governor of California, stories were everywhere about his uninvited and unwelcome groping of women in a variety of venues, about his bragging of participating in a gang bang at a public gym. Did we hear any outrage from the right? Of course not! Golden State Republicans explained that what a man does in his personal life has nothing to do with how he would perform in public office. Come again?

Newt Gingrich, Henry Hyde, Dan Burton, Helen Chenoweth (the conservative Christian and former Republican Congresswoman who one wag put forth as evidence that you can literally fuck your brains out) — the list of Republicans who have been exposed as having adulterous affairs is too long to list in detail in this space.

The single most outrageous example of Republican hypocrisy and duplicity on this issue, though, is one of the least celebrated. Republican Congressman Bill Thomas of Bakersfield, California is chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, which has oversight on Medicare issues such as prescription benefits for seniors. Thomas is married. So was his long-term mistress, who just happened to be a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry. Thomas has acknowledged this. Has he faced the wrath of self-righteous Republicans? Of course not! One man sleeps with a lobbyist who is trying to influence public policy decisions he is making. Another man gets oral sex from a woman who is not trying to influence public policy. It is obvious which one of the two is the more serious transgression to Republicans.

Conclusively, the outrage over Clinton was never about sex.

Faced with these facts, Republicans will then claim it was about “lying.” Of course, the Republican appointee to the White House has brought into this administration individuals who were convicted of perjury during the Iran-Contra scandal. He has lied himself on such things as his “service” record during Viet Nam, the true cost of his Medicare proposals, forged documents supposedly pointing to the attempted purchase of uranium for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the non-existent link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.

Which is more serious, fibbing about a blow job, or lying about reasons for starting a war that has so far led to the deaths of hundreds of America’s fighting men and women, as well as over ten thousand Iraqi civilians? For Republicans, that’s an easy choice.

No serious argument can be made that the Republicans were upset with Clinton over honesty. If that were the case, they would have impeached George W. Bush long ago.

The whole brush-up over Clinton was because he whipped the Republicans soundly on the issues and they simply could not stand it. There was no way to fight him on the issues. Clinton was on the right side on the issues, the American people agreed with him, and his opponents knew it. So they feigned outrage over behavior that gets not a peep of criticism when it is performed by members of their own party.

Clinton was on the Oprah Winfrey show last Tuesday. My wife recorded it on our DVR so that I could watch it when I got home from work. Clinton said that Americans will be better off when we start debating whether politicians are right or wrong about issues instead of trying to smear our political opponents as being “bad people.”

Clinton is right. And I am sure that, once again, this has Republicans everywhere fuming.

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20 responses so far ↓

  • 1 nick meyer // Jun 24, 2004 at 7:28 pm

    The Democratic Attack Machine (DAM) drones on. If you are depending on a distraught womans remarks in divorce papers as fact,as you state, that is sad. I happen to know from my own divorce that hurt women do not always tell the truth. That is a Stubborn Fact my friend. If in fact what she says is true then by all means possible we need to have him removed from office. Let the court decide what is truth and fiction. From what I see and have gone through myself, there are kids involved. Mark do we know if they have children? It is my understanding they do. A divorce that is ground in bitter feelings and unfortunately involves children will, almost every time, turn into a bitter custody dispute. Mark my words that the way this has started it is going to end in a blown up fight for kids. The difference here is we do not have all the facts as of yet. With President Clinton we did have the facts, when all is said and done with Mr. Ryan and we know more I would fully expect the Republicans to hold him accountable for his actions. Let us not jump the gun and hang him yet. I notice the rope has already been bought. Mark did you have to wait in line a long time to get your copy of “My Life?”

  • 2 nick meyer // Jun 24, 2004 at 9:04 pm

    it seems to me that the Republicans spoke loud and clear regarding the misdeeds of Steve Samuelian. His political life ended as well it should have. The Republicans noticed the wrong and took care of the problem in house, basically killing his career and aspirations for further growth up the political ladder. Remember how he was shunned at the big republican fund raiser and even denied entrance by his own party members. I saw no hiding or distorting the Stubborn Facts there. How soon we forget!!

  • 3 Mark // Jun 24, 2004 at 10:58 pm

    What facts about Clinton do you refer to? The Lewinsky oral sex episode? The other things that people were paid to lie about?

    Jeri Lynn Ryan isn’t some piece of unemployed trailer trash who shows up suddenly, after telling lies, with a nose job and a brand new Mercedes-Benz convertible. The Ryan case is but one example.

    The most outrageous example I offered was that of Bill Thomas. Have you spent a lot of time bemoaning the fact that he remains in office after having a long term affair with someone trying to influence his official decisions? Do we hear ANY Republicans condemning Bill Thomas? I haven’t heard the first one yet.

    Samuelian was given the cold shoulder by some in his party only after REPEATED instances. The police report from his first episode made it clear that he was a regular at cruising for prostitutes. Republican leaders believed his lies about the first arrest. Why?

    Nothing you have said, Nick, has offered any evidence that the outrageous and immoral hounding of Bill Clinton had anything to do with sex or with honesty. I doubt seriously that you can.

    When Republican serial adulterers are driven from office, when the outrageous liar that occupies the White House is outcast by his own party — THEN I will have some respect for the Republican Party.

    Until the time that those things happen, and I’m not holding my breath, I will have to hold my nose when I hear the lame excuses offered for the unwarranted hatred of a man who brought eight years of peace and prosperity to this great country.

  • 4 Groundpounder // Jun 25, 2004 at 9:24 am

    The goal of the opposition party is to unseat the sitting President.

    The goal of the minority party is to become the majority party.

    You are correct, it was never about sex, Iran-Contra, read my lips, Iraq. You name the scandal and it was never about that, it was about obtaining power. By any means necessary.

    Shame on both sides and shame on us for perpetuating the process by not voting for the individuals who chose to rise above that cess-pool that is American politics.

    I will throw away my vote in a primary election by voting for the person that I believe will best serve the needs of this country, not the person who has the best chance of defeating the opponent. I will do the same for a general election.

    Will you?

    Semper Fi

    Jeff

  • 5 Bob // Jun 25, 2004 at 10:31 am

    Behold the power of Unspun™ !!!!

    Buffeted by allegations of sex club forays, Republican candidate Jack Ryan is dropping out of the Senate race in Illinois, state party sources told CNN

    Ryan, the sources said, will formally drop out later Friday.

    On Thursday, an aide said Ryan was “assessing his options” about whether to continue his election bid amid allegations that he visited sex clubs with his then-wife, actress Jeri Ryan.

    Ryan, abruptly canceled a planned Thursday trip to Capitol Hill, where Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, expressed his disappointment in the allegations and pointedly declined to offer words of support for Ryan.

    Source: http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/06/25/il.ryan/index.html

    Looks like the Republicans are, in fact, cleaning up after themselves.

  • 6 Rick // Jun 25, 2004 at 1:17 pm

    Wouldn’t it be something if Unspun™ had anything to do with something other than getting people ticked off at one another, eh? 😉

    I just returned from my last Family Law Mediation class — Yay! Now I just have to slog through another two weeks of International Law at night.

    Since I was up writing at 4 a.m. today to finish an assignment, I’m going for a nap. After that, I plan to write a response to your earlier massive post (a cursory glance of which tells me I will be conceding a point or two, but not all ;)).

    One thing about Ryan that I wanted to note, though, is that your quoted article says the Frist wasn’t planning to offer words of support; it doesn’t say he encouraged him to step down. (I’m not even positive that he should have asked him to step down. I’m simply making an observation. Doesn’t this sort of go to the whole idea of learning to separate at least some aspects of one’s personal life from their political duties? I mean, do we really want to say that when people commit personal errors in their lives, this should always lead to losing their jobs? Boy! Wouldn’t the unemployment rate look great then!)

    At any rate, it’s a nice change from how the Schwarzeneggar’s situation was handled, but one wonders, if it had been a Democrat (say, perhaps Bill Clinton?), would the response have been stronger than refusing to offer words of support?

    At the same time, I have to agree with Bill Clinton (and with any Republican who wishes to say the same), when he said last night on Larry King “we have to get to the point where we’re holding our politicians accountable for being right or wrong, not based on some idea of good or bad.” (That’s a paraphrase; I didn’t record it.) This goes for both parties.

    I believe…well, I need that nap. I’ll come back to this. 😉

  • 7 Rick // Jun 25, 2004 at 1:21 pm

    I just realized I wanted to say something about Jeff’s comment.

    While that may be the actual current goal of each party, that’s a lousy way to run a country.

    Remember that both parties are charged as representatives of the people.

    The goal of both majority and minority parties should be to collectively govern and/or administer to the needs of the government of the people.

    Okay…now for that nap.

  • 8 Bob // Jun 25, 2004 at 1:43 pm

    A Democratic View

    To begin with, I must respectfully disagree with the president’s contention that his relationship with Monica Lewinsky and the way in which he misled us about it is nobody’s business but his family’s and that even presidents have private lives, as he said.

    Whether he or we think it fair or not, the reality is in 1998, that a president’s private life is public. Contemporary news media standards will have it no other way. And surely, this president was given fair notice of that by the amount of time the news media has dedicated to investigating his personal life during the 1992 campaign and in the years since.

    But there is more to this than modern media intrusiveness. The president is not just the elected leader of our country. He is as presidential scholar Clinton Rossiter (ph) observed, and I quote, “the one man distillation of the American people.” And as President Taft said at another time, “the personal embodiment and representative of their dignity and majesty.”

    Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman from a speech on the Senate floor September 3, 1998

    Source: http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1998/09/03/lieberman/

    (Emphasis mine)

    Rick, I am previewing a work in progress to respectfully debate your point about holding public officials to a higher moral standard. I think that Lieberman, a Democrat, has said what most Americans feel. America feels it’s leaders should be an example, a role model, someone better than themselves so they can have some faith that the country is in good hands.

    Unlike monarchies and dictatorships, we get to vote on the vision and moral character of our candidates. This is a part of the job of president, to unify a country. When that trust is broken then the country’s confidence, and therefore the country suffers.

    It goes for all elected officials. My vote is priceless, I expect something in return for it and what I expect is hope, hope that my chosen candidate is a person of their word and someone I can trust with remarkably important business.

    And yes, I also expect him or her to be above the same petty temptations and addictions that we all suffer. I expect my candidate to temper his / her greed, lust and ego for the larger cause while they are in office. Once they’re out, then they can be just like me (for better or worse).

  • 9 Bob // Jun 25, 2004 at 1:57 pm

    Rick writes:

    …I plan to write a response to your earlier massive post (a cursory glance of which tells me I will be conceding a point or two, but not all ;)).

    This I gotta see!

  • 10 Groundpounder // Jun 25, 2004 at 2:16 pm

    I think that it is time for a social experiment. Just to help us define terms, or at least see if people really do not agree on precisely what the words sex or sexual relations means.

    Go home and tell your spouse or significant other that you were with another person and that there was intimate physical contact to the point that one or both of you “got your rocks off”. Explain that it was okay because there was no intercourse, Therefore no sexual relationship. Better yet, don’t tell your spouse, let them catch you with the other person and then try to use semantics to argue your way out.

    Some how, I imagine, the definition of sexual relations will be broadened quite a bit.

    I bet that your credibility and your teeth leave the building at about the same time.

    If you decide to try this at home, please remove all sharp instruments, and try not to fall asleep.

    Semper Fi Baby,

    Jeff

  • 11 nick meyer // Jun 25, 2004 at 5:18 pm

    I could not have said it any better. My hat is off to you Jeff!!

  • 12 Rick // Jun 25, 2004 at 5:45 pm

    I usually try to put all my comments to all the posts that I’ve seen since the last time I commented into one post. If I do that right now, some people will stop reading after the first hour or so. 😉 So I’m going to split my comments (as many of you do) in order to keep one “issue” per comment — at least in the round of comments I’m getting ready to write. That will have the secondary effect of allowing me to a) stop to use the bathroom periodically through what looks to be a night of writing comments and b) get some comments posted before the next 15 comments posted by the rest of you make some of my comments moot!

    So…for the topic of this comment: There’s no question Bill Clinton lied. Clinton says so, and I believe him. 😉

    Seriously, Clinton did lie and he admits and agrees it was a lie. I have, also, written that it was a lie more than once. There’s no alternative meaning of “is” here.

    Perhaps the part some of us may end up continuing to disagree on is this: I find it to be understandable and also not germane to his functioning as President. There are many penalties a person will have to suffer for infidelity — and even more for lying about infidelity — but I don’t believe those penalties justifiably include losing one’s job. If that’s the new rule, unemployment is going to skyrocket because although no one has commented upon my prior sarcasm in this regard, Bill Clinton is not the only person in the world who would do such a thing. Without having either performed or read of a scientific study on the matter, I’d be surprised if there are many men (or women) who straightforwardly confess to having sex with people to whom they are not married, when they (or the person with whom they’re having sex) are married. I’d bet those who own up at the first hint that they’ve been caught is somewhere in the neighborhood of less than a few percent of all adulterers.

    And while I’m at it, I can here state that I disagree, also, that if someone tells one lie, it’s likely they lie all the time. I’ll bet my next ten years of income that there isn’t a human reading these words who hasn’t lied several times in his or her life about something, no matter how honest you think you are. Maybe, like Bill Clinton, you think you had a good reason to lie. Hell, maybe you really did have a good reason to lie. Nevertheless, lying is a very human trait; actually, it’s not even limited to our species. Nick Meyer lies, too.

    Okay! Okay! It was a joke people! Nick doesn’t lie. No…wait…I mean, he probably does sometimes. What I meant to say was that I was joking when I implied he wasn’t a member of our species. (It’s a little olive branch for you, Mr. Meyer.)

    I bet good money that it’s safe to say that in spite of the lies you’ve told — and I’ll even bet that someone reading these words has lied about extramarital sex, as well — they get included in this bet, too — anyway, I’ll bet it’s safe to say that in spite of the lies you’ve told, you’re all still capable of doing whatever jobs you’ve been hired to do, however complex they may be.

    Like it or not, Homo sapiens often engages in non-monogamous sexual activity. Again, like it or not — and I don’t care what your religious persuasion, this is still true — humans are homonids and all homonids appear to be naturally non-monogamous (with the possible exception, I think, of orangutans).

    So if we’re going to “fire” our political personnel every time one of them engages in extramarital sex, or even just every time one of them gets caught engaging in extramarital sex, we’re going to be routinely firing political personnel. That’s just too disruptive of government.

    Am I saying we should give a free pass to people who engage in extramarital sex? Well, frankly, I think if we’d recognize reality and just get over it, the answer would be “yes”. I also recognize that our society — particularly, but not solely, the right-wing elements who are no less subject to the Escaping Dick problem than anyone else — just can’t accept this. So come up with some other sanction, like maybe ignoring whatever good work the Republican and Democratic philanderers have done otherwise and voting them out of office on the next round.

    Regardless, I think it’s safe and acceptable to say Clinton lied about not having sex “with that woman.” I personally think its safe to say that were it not for the fact that the Horowitz (the rich one, not me) mantra, although not yet published, was already part-and-parcel of the political landscape, even this would not have been as big a deal as it was. And I think the proof of that is what Mark gave earlier: The number of Republicans who have not been railroaded out of office for their infidelities. (Please don’t bother trotting out Ryan as an example. The news story posted here earlier itself only said that he was told he wouldn’t get an endorsement; it didn’t claim he was even asked to step down — and I don’t know if he should be asked to step down. That’s a separate question.)

    The last paragraph should not be taken as an attack upon the double standard floated by Republicans. I’ve already said above that infidelity is not a Republican trait; it’s a hominoid trait. (And it’s not limited to hominoids.) I think that attacks on politicians for infidelity by either party are duplicitous.

    Next topic…coming up…

    P.S. to Jeff: Don’t get excited about Nick’s last comment. I can easily refute his statement that his hat is off to you. He doesn’t wear a hat.

  • 13 nick meyer // Jun 25, 2004 at 5:59 pm

    Rick, Olive branch accepted. Thank you. My olive branch was going to be oatmeal cookies later this evening. We do need to get past the hatred. Your humor is also appreciated. Welcome back my friend. I personnally have missed the Rick I have come to know and respect.

  • 14 Groundpounder // Jun 25, 2004 at 6:15 pm

    Rats, ’cause I was just getting ready to start running around the shop high-fiving myself.

    I’m glad to see everyone is in a better mood this evening.

    Semper Fi,

    Jeff

  • 15 Bob // Jun 25, 2004 at 6:33 pm

    I’ll bet my next ten years of income that there isn’t a human reading these words who hasn’t lied several times in his or her life about something, no matter how honest you think you are.

    You’re absolutely right, Rick. Everybody lies at some point and it doesn’t mean they are any better or worse than the rest of us.

    And by the way, those pants don’t make you look ten pounds lighter. And what did you do with your hair…it’s perfect …

  • 16 Rick // Jun 25, 2004 at 8:30 pm

    Okay…time to post the comment I promised earlier responding to Bob’s “boring” post. First, Bob, let me say, “It was booooooring.” What are you? Some kind of Botox-addicted French poodle? I mean, seriously, who does your hair? Oh…wait…

    Seriously, the first thing I want to say is that I think it’s time to quit apologizing for “boring” posts. The reason I think that is pretty simple, really. I can boil it down to a sound-bite for the intellectually-impaired, the people who are so distracted they don’t even have time to develop Attention Deficit Disorder: The exchange of sound bites does not constitute debate.

    Well, I didn’t quite get that down to where it could fit on a bumper sticker, but I’m going to ignore my lack of talent on that front and pretend some of you are still reading.

    Bob — great musician that he is (and I mean that — check out Delicious Jazz to see what I mean) — recently indicated that hearing is selective. People who can’t tell the difference between a major and a minor chord can’t help but hear a difference between a major and a minor political party.

    I think that, for the most part, this is probably true. It’s been repeatedly shown that humans like to try to make sense out of their worlds (plural) and that we’ll go to just about any length to make that happen. I’ve written papers where I’ve talked about the fact that racism is the normal propensity of humans because of the way our brains are wired when it comes to abstraction. I don’t think that’s happened to me in listening to the “news” these days, but it will remain for the next comment for me to make the case for saying this. I’d write a blog article on it, but I still haven’t decided to end my moratorium on writing actual researched articles; I may never waste my time on such things again, when baseless opinion sells better and is so much easier to write.

    And for those who are about to go nuts because I used the words “racism” and “normal” in the same sentence: Note what I did not say. I did not say racism was conducive to the smooth functioning of an advanced society. I think it’s a feature of the way human brains work. In a world different from that most of us live in, being too slow to categorize could have been the difference between life and death. “Hmmmm…big toothy thing…dangerous? Or soft and cuddly with all that f….” &#8212 the last thoughts of a abstract-prejudice-challenged homonid before being devoured by a saber-tooth.

    But an advanced society both allows for and requires a more thoughtful response. It’s just more difficult. The easy way out is to begin reacting instinctively.

    It impacts us all and it perverts even the best intentions of the most thoughtful. As I will argue below, this does not mean it’s the dominant force at all times. But, for now, let’s stick with this theme. (For you sound bite people who are having major difficulties right now: “Beer and sex.” For the rest of you: I just said that to wake them up again; there isn’t actually either beer or sex here right now.)

    And as part of that theme (not the “beer and sex” theme, the “tendency to let automated thought processes get in the way of thoughtful consideration” theme), one thing that occurs to me is that I have gotten moved off my position of the last few days. It was a gradual happening and I didn’t notice it at first. It’s part and parcel of why I’m frustrated with us as a population of voters. Call me arrogant — perhaps I am; that’s not the point here — but I think most people would not recognize that they’d been pulled off course. And that’s what leads us to make the kind of serious mistakes that pit us, the United States of America, against the rest of the world.

    What the hell am I talking about? (Don’t tell me that’s not what you were thinking right now. ;))

    I got pushed off course because I started from an initial set of comments aimed at pointing out that not having seen the Michael Moore film, it seemed to me premature to start jumping on the bandwagon about how it was filled with lies and deceitfulness. But because my thoughts about that coincided with my beliefs about the Republican Noise Machine, from there, over a period of a few heated posts, I ended up being pushed into a position of defending Michael Moore. And, from there, it’s a short step to doing something just as bad as trashing the film without having seen it and that is endorsing the film without having seen it.

    I wonder, in these conversations, if I’m the only one who has succumbed to that type of “drift.” But you’ll each have to answer that question for yourselves. I would encourage you to do so.

    In keeping with my promise to break up my posts (and because I’m still feeling sleep-deprived and Bunny’s somehow thrown out her back such that she can hardly talk, let alone move about and enjoy life, so I don’t want to sit here all night when I could be soothing her), that’s essentially it for this point.

    Still to come: Why I still think Bob is wrong that Republicans and Democrats are playing “the same game” and why that might be (sadly for us all) starting to change.

  • 17 Rick // Jun 25, 2004 at 8:39 pm

    Mark: No mileage is gained (only lost) by insisting that “technically” Clinton didn’t lie about having “sexual relations” with Lewinsky. Even Clinton doesn’t argue that point now. Under some clinical definition of “sexual relations” you win the point; under the colloquial definition, even Clinton recognizes he wasn’t just misleading his family.

    None of this, of course, is to say that the constant hammering he has taken for it is justified. I’ll bet every paycheck for the rest of my life against this: Some of you reading this blog have had sex with people to whom you weren’t married, while you were married to others. If confronted about it (depending upon the venue/audience/confronter), you would deny it. You should no more be hounded out of your jobs for that than Clinton should have been.

    Carmen: Welcome to the blog. Without knowing it, part of my last post was aimed at you: “Sex and beer.” Enjoy your stay. I gather you’re a friend of Bob’s, which makes you semi-welcome. 😉

    (For those who missed it, see Carmen’s comment on another post.)

    For now, g’nite friends. You, too, Nick. 😉 Thanks for the cookies. (Oh, yeah…that.)

    I’m off to tend to Bunny and see if I can’t make it an early night for some much-needed shut-eye.

  • 18 Bob // Jun 25, 2004 at 9:13 pm

    TYPO ALERT

    And by the way, those pants don’t make you look ten pounds lighter. And what did you do with your hair…it’s perfect …

    …is what I wrote to Rick. What I meant to say was…

    And by the way, DON’T those pants make you look ten pounds lighter…etc.

    It was my subtle way of demonstrating that people (even good people) lie every day. Just ask yourself if you have ever said anything like that to your wife before…

  • 19 Bob // Jun 25, 2004 at 9:18 pm

    There are many penalties a person will have to suffer for infidelity ? and even more for lying about infidelity ? but I don’t believe those penalties justifiably include losing one’s job.

    Flipping burgers is a job, the presidency is not. You represent to the world, and more importantly the American people, what America stands for.

    You’re not held to a higher standard than anyone else, just to a much higher degree of accountability, and deservedly so.

    As president you get enormous perks. You pay for them by upholding that accountability and vision of what America expects.

  • 20 Rick // Jun 25, 2004 at 10:28 pm

    Sleepless Rick says:

    What you’ve said about the Presidency vs. burger jobs; that’s your opinion. Your entitled to it. It’s not even the kind of opinion I’ll rant and rave about when/if you try to cast your vote based upon such an opinion. I do, however, disagree.

    Jefferson, who reportedly dallied about with Sally Hemings; Harding, who fortunately didn’t live to see his reputation trashed by charges of infidelity; and John F. Kennedy, who helped launch the Camelot mystique in spite of his, did better-than-fine jobs as President — and they’re just three of many Presidents with such skeletons in their closets, or, if you prefer, bone[r]s that wouldn’t stay in their pants. I don’t have a complete list, but I know it would include Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower. Roosevelt, by the way, repeatedly ranks in the top five when Presidents are ranked by historians — and his ranking has been fairly consistent for about fifty years. “The achievements of the Roosevelt administration rank among the most important of any presidency in American history.” (Franklin D. Roosevelt American Heritage Center, Inc.) Good thing Ken Starr wasn’t born a bit earlier, eh?

    A great story about this, by the way, notes:

    In the movie “Heartburn,” based on Nora Ephron’s barely fictional account of her marriage to the philandering Carl Bernstein, the heroine complains about his infidelity to her father, who responds: You want monogamy? Marry a swan.
    — Barash, “The Myth of Monogamy” (January 23, 2001) Salon Magazine, currently cached at Google.

    About the only connection between sexual indiscretion and one’s performance as President, if any, is for the potential distraction it causes.

    And, as Mark’s article noted, the Clinton scandal was never really about sex, either. In fact, given the numbers of politicos from both parties caught with their pants down just in our own century and our own country (for, after all, this isn’t unique to the United States; ask former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau) if it were about the sex, half of Congress would resign every few months.

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