By Dave Stancliff
Why does anyone cheat on their spouse?
In particular, why do so many politicians cheat on their mates? Researchers who study societal trends agree that there are some common factors involved when politicians choose to cheat.
One of the things often mentioned is that politicians are generally risk taking types who are into gathering power. I can see that. Here are seven examples of American presidents that seem to fit that theory:, , Franklin D. Roosevelt, , , , and Bill Clinton.
Stanton Peele, Ph.D.,J.D., wrote a book titled “Love and Addiction” which deals with politicians who can’t seem to refrain from cheating on their spouses. His recent article “Why Politicians Get Laid More-the Low Road to the High Life” suggests “successful people have a strong degree of the sociopathy that lands less talented and well-positioned people in prison.”
How many times have you heard someone say, “If that was me I’d have gone to prison” about the latest politician to avoid jail after committing crimes for which you and I would have paid the full price?
Another reason politicians cheat is because they think they can get away with it. I know this is an obvious observation but it speaks to a sense of denial. They really don’t think anyone will catch them.
Because the Republicans always tout family values, their fall from grace guarantees scorn from the public. Just look at, Rudy Giuliana, , Newt Gingrich, , James West, Bob Connoly, , Bob Livingston, and David Vitter.
No political party holds the high ground on the subject of cheating. Democrats are just as guilty as Republicans. Some examples: David Paterson, Jim McGreevey, Gavin Newsome, Antonio Villaraigosa, Tim Mahoney, Gary Condit, Gary Hart, Eliot Spitzer, and John Edwards.
Some excuses for politicians who cheat are the same for anyone. Stress is often cited as a factor. So is being away from family for weeks at a time, especially when working with members of the opposite sex. Tensions at home can lead to someone going astray.
Finally, I suppose it’s just men being men. By now it’s apparent women politicians don’t cheat as often as their male counterparts, or they don’t get caught as often. The last woman politician to get caught up in a sex scandal, that I can remember, was Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth-Hage (1994-2000) who admitted to having a long-term affair while in office. I’m not sure why women politicians cheat less than males, but I suggest that one of the many “think tanks” around the country might consider that question.
Who knows? Maybe there’s an answer and it can be used as a map for errant males in political office. You know, like a guide or book. Every male elected to a political office could be required to read this guide. Maybe all these guys need is a set of simple rules to tell them flat-out “Don’t cheat on your spouse.”
Oh, you say there are already rules of conducts for politicians? My reply would be, “they often have their own interpretation of the rules.” Think back to Clinton’s “I did not have sex with that woman.”
Cheating politicians are just part of the landscape of government and re all too common. Maybe we’re jaded. Back in JFK’s time the press played pitty-pat with him, and turned their collective heads as he romped around with women like Marilyn Monroe.
If JFK’s cavorting with women had been common news back then, say at the height of his popularity, I have no doubt it would have hurt him politically. The public would have been aghast that their favorite son, the King of Camelot, was cheating on Jackie! He was the last president to get this protective cocoon from the media.
When Clinton came into office his detractors dug up every affair in his past. Going back to Miss America, Elizabeth Gracen in1983, and up to Monika Lewinsky in 1995, Clinton’s affairs were fodder for the right.
The American public doesn’t seem as judgmental about cheating politicians today as they were in the past. Maybe it’s hardly news any more. Newspaper editors used to say that when a dog bites a person, it’s not a story. When a person bites a dog, that’s a story!
Perhaps stories about politicians who don’t cheat on their mates would be newsworthy today?