Friday, April 25, 2008

Sex and the Torturing Politician

Twenty years ago this Sunday, a Miami Herald reporter got a phone call and the rules of political campaigns changed forever.

When Tom Fiedler's phone rang the evening of April 27, 1987, he thought it might be another crank call, the kind political reporters get all the time. But Fiedler, a veteran campaign chronicler for the Miami Herald, couldn't ignore the caller's message: "Gary Hart is having an affair with a friend of mine."

Hart's inexcusable stupidity - he actually dared reporters to follow him - set a new standard for political coverage: sex lives are fair game.

The Clinton impeachment a decade later may seem to be the apotheosis of that standard, but in fact it was its nadir; it made most people realize that a politician's consensual adult sex really wasn't as important as how he did his job.

In Kentucky, Governor Paul Patton provided the egregious example of a public official who let his dick affect his job performance; he gave his mistress Tina Connor sweetheart contracts and regulatory exemptions for her businesses. His real crime, however, was that the exposure of his malfeasance led directly to the election of Republican Criminal Ernie Fletcher.

But it wasn't until the American people got collectively though metaphorically ass-raped by a frat-boy with arrested development who has probably never cheated on his wife that we really understood the moral calculus of presidential flaws.

In a president, which is preferable? Discreet extramarital affairs with consenting adults or treating the Constitution as toilet paper?

Let me put it more baldly: rather than a "good Christian" sociopathic failure bent on destroying the nation in a futile attempt to out-macho his father and who gets his jollies personally approving sexual torture of innocents, I'll take a homosexual, atheist, liberal, feminist, elitist, UN-loving, business-hating, gun-confiscating abortionist any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.