When you think “Political Scandal,” most people’s minds drift to an office affair by some political representative with someone random; it could be an intern, a secretary, a famous movie star, or anyone really. But what does it do for the politician who is doing this?
Let’s take a look back at some of the country’s most famous cheaters, starting with a personal favorite, John F. Kennedy. President Kennedy was famous for a few things. He was the first and only Roman Catholic president, he was a World War II navy lieutenant, created the Peace Corps, brought about the domino theory of the spread of communism, held the Bay of Pigs invasion, and was accused of having an affair with the famous Marilyn Monroe. That is quite a bundle for any President who takes office, however that last one is often the most talked about. How many times have you heard someone say, “That President Kennedy, I hate him just because he slept with that movie star?” Odds are, none; I have never heard anyone criticize Kennedy for this accusation. Most people who remember JFK talk about all the good he did, or his untimely death, not his supposed affairs with the rich and famous. So is it sleeping with a famous person that got him off the hook, the fact that he was President, or the fact that he did well for the country?
If I had to take a guess, I’d say it was a combination of them all. To prove it, let’s take a look at another one of the most famous affairs, or supposed affairs, to hit the White House, President Bill Clinton’s affair with intern Monica Lewinski. I’m sure everyone can remember this in one way or another and of course we have all heard those famous words from our former President, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” This whole scandal and those famous words caused President Clinton to be impeached by the House of Representatives, although he was acquitted by the Senate. But to the American people, this was interesting only because of the drama. Clinton is still one of the most popular Presidents we have ever had in office. The scandal was dwarfed by the fact that he dropped our national debt to one of the lowest points in decades.
So does this mean that politicians have yet another power, the power to get away with cheating in office? Not quite, and this is proven by Presidential candidate hopeful Herman Cain. Cain is a Republican pizza mogul who had high hopes, and a good shot, at winning the Republican primary and the chance to run for President of the United States in the 2012 election. However, these hopes have been dampened lately by several accusations of sexual misconduct that have now caused Cain to suspend his campaign. Five different women have come forward and accused Cain of being sexually inappropriate, and, in some cases, engaging in sexual assault. This would ruin anyone’s campaign and that person’s life. But Cain simply steps down from his candidacy for a bit and that’s it. Here is where the issue in all of this lies.
What makes these politicians special? What makes them able to get away with sexual exploits without a rough divorce, having their name thrashed, and in some cases being thrown into jail for crimes like the rest of us? Clinton was accused of perjury and Cain accused of assault. What I am gathering is that becoming President or even considering, makes you immune to the consequences of committing crimes. This is a major flaw in our system and something that should be looked at. I’m not here to preach about fixing the system or to insult it or whatever else it may be. I just want to call attention to this and put the word out there. Maybe someone should take a look at this. What makes these people any more special than the rest of us?
If you ask former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer he may tell you nothing. Considering that his scandal caused such an uproar, he was forced to step down from his position. I’m sure we all remember Governor Spitzer when he was caught in the midst of a prostitution scandal that literally ruined his political career. What some people may forget is that the major part of his campaign while he was running for office was to find ways to get rid of prostitution. Granted he kind of went the other way on that one, but what made his scandal so much worse than what Clinton, Kennedy, or Cain did? Perhaps it was because he prided himself on the fact that he hated prostitution at the beginning of his career or possibly the fact that instead of one or just a couple of women, it was quite a few. It could have been a combination of them both but again what really happened to him? He lost his job and yes, that is a big deal but the legal consequence of being caught in prostitution includes jail time, so why wasn’t he put in front of a judge for it?
I’m not quite sure why politicians are so special and seem to get away with cheating, lying, and can escape large-scale scandals relatively un-harmed, but I do know that it’s not right. What makes these people better than the rest of us? Is it their money, their power, or the fact that they know how to talk and weasel their way out of it? I guess we will never know for sure, but at least we can all sit around enjoy the show each politician puts on when they try to get themselves out of trouble.