The Joys of Political Sex

Manila Bulletin, December 12, 2009 | Go to article overview

The Joys of Political Sex


(NYT) It’s time for political sex scandals to reclaim their rightful place in our national discourse.Really, the way things have been going lately, you’d think that extramarital sex only happened to professional athletes.Consider the case of Sen. Max Baucus of Montana. We learned last week that the recently divorced Baucus had nominated his girlfriend, Melodee Hanes, to be a U.S. attorney without warning the White House that they were an item. You would expect this to create quite a buzz. Particularly since Baucus is a major player in the health care debate, which makes it possible to talk about his sex life while pretending to be discussing the prospects for a public option.But, no, it’s been Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods. How much can you say about a guy who golfs? A politician with a compulsively wandering eye is not just a hound dog with a famous name. He’s a commentary about our judgment as voters, and the viability of our social standards. Plus, gossiping about him almost brings some useful information about the political process into the conversation. What would any of us know about how impeachment works if it hadn’t been for Monica Lewinsky?I just cannot get excited about sexual misbehavior that is never going to be investigated by a legislative committee.To be fair, although the Republicans instantly called on the Senate ethics committee to look into the Baucus affair, Max and Melodee are not likely to actually get investigated. Hanes, who was one of three nominees being considered for the U.S. attorney post, withdrew when she and Baucus moved in together. If the story lives on in memory, it may be for a statement issued by the senator’s office, which began: “Senator Baucus is currently in a mature and happy relationship with Melodee Hanes.”This is a turn of phrase that could be put to good use on so many sensitive occasions, the Baucus press office should really go for a copyright.Joe Bruno, the former majority leader of the New York State Senate who was convicted of corruption this week, is in a mature and happy relationship with Kay Stafford, the chairwoman and president of CMA Consulting Services. (Actually, the relationship is really, really mature, since Bruno is 80.) When Bruno resigned from the Senate last year, he quickly got a great job as CEO of CMA.A guy who was being investigated by federal prosecutors for his consulting activities would not normally be regarded as a perfect hire for an information technologyconsulting business, particularly when he seems to know about as much about information technology as he does about quantum physics. …

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