Women in politics don't cheat - The Explorer: Voices

Women in politics don't cheat

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Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 11:00 pm | Updated: 1:26 pm, Mon Apr 18, 2011.

When I read that an arrest warrant was issued for Ingmar Guandique in the murder of Washington, D.C., intern Chandra Levy, another name came to mind: Gary Condit.

Condit, married with children, a former congressman from Levy's district in California, played a double role. Publicly he espoused a pro-family agenda. In private, he had an illicit affair with Levy.

Details of this affair were grist for the tabloid mill in 2001, after Levy went missing. Condit must have thought he was smarter than so many bad boys in the political arena, most of whom were eventually caught.

It doesn't take any Googling to come up with names like FDR, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Edward Kennedy, Newt Gingrich, Bill Clinton, Elliot Spitzer, John Edwards, and the list goes on of politicians who think they can have the best of both worlds.

They want the security of a wife and family, yet wander outside the box, seeking the excitement that home does not provide. Youth, of course, plays a major role in the politicians' quest of the sensual Holy Grail. One rarely if ever hears about a political figure cheating on his wife with an older woman. On the contrary, she is invariably at least 20 or more years younger, attractive and most important both ready and willing to conspire with her mentor, the distinguished older man.

The sordid tale comes to light with the predictable scenario of accusations either by the wife or the press, adamant denials at first on the part of the husband, then when push comes to shove, his reluctant admission of the dangerous liaison.

The next chapter involves the requisite breast-beating by the offender on Oprah or various other talk shows. Rarely if ever does the public see the wife chastise her husband in front of the world, to give him a fraction of the public humiliation she continues to endure. Instead she remains stoically by his side with the stiff upper lip, a firm believer in the philosophy of Stand by Your Man.

Guest appearances are sometimes followed by a book deal. The offender stands to make millions off tales of his sexcapades. And then it’s over. The salacious story takes its place in the annals of untold numbers of men who forgot in the heat of the moment that marriage vows are meant to be honored.

And that's just the point. The names of cheating female politicians are conspicuously absent from this infamous list of the unfaithful. Think Hillary Clinton in particular, a woman who would have every excuse to show that what's good for the gander is good for the goose. Only for this principled woman it isn't. Other present-day female politicians include former vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Katheen Sebelius, governor of Kansas, recently nominated by President Obama for the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services and yes, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, to name but a few. We may not always agree with their political agendas, but in their personal lives, it would appear they are taking the high road.

True, the numbers of females are smaller than those of their male counterparts, but I can find no substantiated allegations regarding even the token female politician cheating on her husband.

So, how do we explain this difference in behavior? Is it just another case of Venus and Mars on a collision course, in other words, boys will be boys? Does it go back to the caveman and his role as The Hunter? Or is it something as simple as these particular public figures being perpetually tuned in to Station W.I.I.F.M: What's in it for me?

Barbara Russek is a French teacher and freelance writer. She welcomes comments at Babette2@comcast.net

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