By Gerald Nachman on 5.19.11 @ 6:08AM
Democrats are terrified they’re losing their touch.
With Arnold Schwarzenegger’s confession that he fathered an illegitimate child 10 years ago with the family housekeeper, Republicans appear to have pulled ahead of Democrats, temporarily, in the randy politicians’ race for oblivion.
Just a few days earlier, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Socialist head of the International Monetary Fund, dominated the front pages with his arrest on charges of attempted rape of a hotel maid in New York City. Strauss-Kahn was nabbed only hours after new revelations about former Nevada GOP senator John Ensign’s affair with his best friend’s (and top aide’s) wife. Carson City insiders say that Ensign was inspired by a similar case in adjacent California when San Francisco Democratic mayoral candidate Gavin Newsom revealed an affair with his campaign manager’s wife; Newsom won handily.
Other pundits trace Ensign’s decision to out-do John Edwards’s notorious affair with a campaign videographer while his late wife was undergoing cancer treatment, a new record in sleaziness that impressed even jaded students of skirt-chasing politicians.
“After Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress, I figured we had reached an all-time mark in spousal betrayal, but Edwards lowered the bar to a new level,” said a longtime philandering expert who has studied the downfalls of powerful politicians since Wilbur Mills was caught with stripper Fanne Fox in Washington, D.C.’s Tidal Basin.
Clearly it’s a tight race as to which major party harbors the scummiest sexual predators. Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, no slouch himself in the lothario contest, has given renewed hope to Republicans’ chances for the title of Horniest Political Party.
Democrats, worried about Obama’s untainted past, are said to be holding talks with Tiger Woods to give up golf and run for high office because of his unbeatable credentials as a world-class satyr. Should Woods decide to stay in golf, New York Democrats may look to onetime hooker aficionado/governor Eliot Spitzer, whose CNN show is in trouble, to run for New York governor again.
“People are willing to forgive his shameful TV career and give him a second chance,” says an Albany insider. “A lot of politicians run afoul of TV talk shows, but voters still remember Eliot fondly and admire his tough, macho, indeed ballsy governorship, brief though it was.” Spitzer successor David Paterson’s own admission of cheating soon after he took office was deemed pretty weak stuff compared to Spitzer’s crummy behavior.
Rumors are circulating that one reason social conservative Mike Huckabee decided not to run for the Presidency is that he lacked sufficient libido — or “the fire in the groin,” as we say. Likewise, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is said to be hesitant to run for the White House because he’s afraid it will be revealed he lacks a whisper of womanizing in his history. GOP strategists are digging into Daniels’s past in the hope of uncovering a mistress or two willing to talk to the tabloids, or at least a few minor groping reports.
Donald Trump, with three wives and untold former mistresses in his war chest, looked like a tough up-and-coming GOP candidate in the sexual addiction sweepstakes, but he dropped out of the race for unclear reasons — some say because his marriage is not yet on the rocks, dooming his chances for office. Trump critics in the Democratic Party busily spread word that the mogul, despite his cowboy persona, has been behaving himself.
Political insiders in France speculate that Strauss-Kahn got caught with his pants down, if not off, in a desperate effort to surpass his presumed opponent in the next election for French president, Nicolas Sarkozy — one of the Continent’s most highly respected playboy heads of state, second only to Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, still the ranking Euroletch.
Devotees of political sex scandals say that we may be entering a new Golden Age, but many recall with wistful nostalgia the glory days of Gary Hart and Donna Rice, not to mention the more recent titillating scandals of Congressmen Larry Craig, Gary Condit, and Mark Foley, as well as New Jersey governor James McGreevey, who suddenly realized he was gay when he cheated on his wife with his homeland security advisor.
“Those were pretty good political scandals,” concedes political testosterone scholar Morris W. Gravlax. “But it’s pretty hard to top FDR and Grover Cleveland’s extra-marital affairs. Of course, I doubt if anybody will ever surpass Thomas Jefferson’s groundbreaking dalliance with his slave Sally Hemmings.” As Gravlax notes, “Tom was a true sexual originalist, a man to be admired by politicians on both sides of the aisle.”
Gerald Nachman is a writer in San Francisco and most recently the author of Right Here on Our Stage Tonight!: Ed Sullivan’s America (University of California Press).
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