Sex scandals involving American male “notables” – especially politicians — are as old as the country. But the current round is qualitatively differently from the earlier episodes in two critical respects. First, it is the result of female victims “outing” the male perpetrators for sexual abuse or worse – and not revealed as a salacious media spectacle. Second, the current round makes clear the moral hypocrisy as the heart of Republican self-claimed “Christian” morality.
Over the last decade, numerous politicians have been exposed for actual or alleged illicit activities. Some might remember New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal and subsequent misadventures; in September 2017, he was sentenced to 21 months in a federal prison for sexting with a minor.
But who remembers Weiner’s fellow Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY), forced to resign in the same 2011 sexting scandal. These resignations came in the wake of numerous scandals between 2006 and 2009 involving Rep. Gary Condit (D-CA), Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), Sen, John Edwards (D-NC) and Sen. John Ensign (R-NV). The exposures undermined the Republican party’s claim to moral leadership and contributed to Obama’s ’08 electoral victory. In 2010, Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), a Bible-thumping evangelical Christian, was outed for an extramarital affair and resigned.
American politics looks like an amateur version…