The Fallen: Political Infidelity and Resurrection [119*2]
I AM WATCHING THE RETURNS from the 2012 South Carolina Republican primary where Newt Gingrich beat Mitt Romney like Romney beat Gingrich in New Hampshire ... BIG. Somewhat important to this hub, however, is one of the exit poll results - Gingrich picked up 47% of the very Conservative evangelical, family value vote, as compared to Rick Santorum's 24% and Romney's 19%; the latter two having a long history of living the family value message, which, allegedly is so important to evangelicals, while the same can hardly be said of Gingrich!
While this is interesting to note and does play in this discussion, it is not the main focus nor why I started writing it. What prompted me was a segment made on Llewellyn King's White House Chronicles on Sirus/XM's POTUS today regarding the frailty of politicians, specifically, and the powerful, in general. Behind the segment, of course, was Newt Gingrich's infidelity but started with President Clinton's. His guest was the man who had to spin Clinton's message to the public and who had first hand experience as to what was going on.
FRAILTY IN MAN, and I suppose in women as well, is really the subject of this hub. I am not entirely sure what position I hold regarding the ramifications of the powerful being frail in certain aspects of their character; but, by writing about it maybe it will point me down some reasonable, pragmatic path.
Besides President Clinton, at least four other presidents; FDR, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson (all without scandal), who have strayed from the marital path along with uncounted U.S. Representatives and Senators; including Newt Gingrich. Of the non-politicians, you have a multitude of corporate executives, catholic priests, evangelical preachers, policemen, teachers and others who hold a position of trust and/or power that have privately and publicly strayed as well. Infidelity isn't limited to the trusted or powerful as well. of course, just watch Judge Judy and all of the other Judge shows on TV or just read the papers, watch the TV, listen to popular songs, etc; infidelity is, among men at the very least, a fact of life. We all know this so why are we, in America anyway, so incensed by it? Or are we really?
Could it be simple politics and nobody actually does care? I believe this is case, just think about it. While the Conservatives were excoriating President Clinton over his non-intercourse affair with Monica Lewinsky, two or three of his primary accusers in the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich being one, were involved in their own full-blown, intercourse and all, affair; each resigned in shame. While Clinton did perjure himself in a deposition prior to a civil suit as well as knowingly denying his guilt to the American people for many years before finally admitting it, these Christian, family-value, patriotic Conservatives exhibited unbridled hypocrisy and deceit that was even more despicable than anything President Clinton did by putting Clinton the rack by day and diddlying their mistresses that night.
But, God-fearing, Bible-thumping Christian Americans don't care! They didn't care then when Clinton had 70% approval rating for the job he was doing throughout most of his personal crisis and they don't care today, judging from the exit polling from the South Carolina Republican 2012 Presidential primary just completed. Newt Gingrich, infamous for his debauchery that makes President Clinton look like an angel (OK, I am exaggerating a bit ... a lot) received the largest percentage of votes from women, very Conservatives, and Evangelicals than any of his opponents, including Rick Santorum; so much for family-values and morality guiding the Conservative ethics and their vote.
There is a multitude of other examples I could go find to demonstrate the obvious, Americans, at their core, really don't care about the personal frailties of their leaders, the people whom they see in positions of trust, or the powerful; we simply feel that it is their personal business so long as they do the job they were hired to do. It doesn't matter what faith you are, how moral you are, or anything else EXCEPT, if you are politically Conservative; then it matters a great deal if your opponent has strayed. Liberals are, well, more liberal about such things as are conservatives when you take politic rhetoric and faith out of the equation and replace it with political pragmatism in order to beat President Obama; to achieve this goal, these good people are willing to forgo their morality and vote for somebody like Newt Gingrich, a person no better, ethically, than President Clinton; someone they detest to their core.
WHY DO MEN DO IT?
WHY DO MEN DO IT; step out on their wives that is? And it is men mostly, as far as we know, and it knows no socio-economic boundaries. We do it because we have big testicles; I would use a more common term because it would be funnier, but I think I would get censored. No, really, it is true, at least according to one report I read many years ago in Newsweek or Time, something like that; WIkipedia now has a good discussion on the subject.
The bottom line on the research is that the larger the testes in primates, the more promiscuous the males in their mating; the smaller the testes are, the more polygamous. In between sizes are more socially monogamous with varying degrees of non-monogamous sexual activity ... guess where human males fall; yep, we are medium sized. By the way, chimps are the largest and gorillas are one of the smallest, go figure. Now, there are all sorts of theories as to why this is so, but, you can't get around the fact that what I just described is actually the case.
Now, in humans, there is also a social stigma associated with non-monogamous sexual activity, just ask Clinton and Gingrich, than in the rest of the primates; so, I suspect that there would be a lot more carousing around by human males, even though they remain in a monogamous relationship, if that stigma were removed (and the guns taken away from the wives). This leads us to consider why the straying of males in all societies in all times is so common; it is because it is, to a degree, the natural thing for men to do even though they want to remain with one mate for the long-term. The only thing, then, that is stopping us is will power and fear given it is unnatural for men not to seek other sexual encounters. From the statistics I have seen, I believe we are about 40% successful, if that high. (I think women are up around 60% and falling.)
This leads back to one of my original points and the conclusion of this hub, it doesn't surprise me that most people do not let the frailties of others who are in a position of trust or power bother them so long as that person is doing the job they are supposed to because, intuitively, most people know we are all frail and will fall ourselves one day.