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Fix Weekend Poll: The Worst Political Sex Scandal?

In the last year or so, it feels like every other week a politician is admitting that he stepped-out on his wife.

But who is the worst culprit? (These are the things the Fix ponders in his spare time.)

Below is a poll with four options. Pick your favorite or, as the case may be, your least favorite.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 11, 2009; 7:00 PM ET
Categories:  Fix Notes  
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Next: Morning Fix: Five Senators to Watch on Sotomayor

Comments

tough choice. i think spitzer though because although the others did something absolutely horrible, spitzer did something illegal of the bunch- at least, hes the only one who we know did something illegal at this point.

Posted by: HannahBanana | July 13, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Tough one! Couldn't I vote for a 4-way tie. Living in NYC, I was very tempted to vote for Spitzer, but Sanford's is such an epic journey that my vote went for him. Still, if I had held my vote and waited another second, I might have clicked on Edwards.

Seriously, tough one!

Posted by: dognabbit | July 13, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't anyone remember the old rummy Teddy Kennedy and the Mary Jo Kopeckney story? I would think that tops them all!

Posted by: inowat | July 13, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for noticing.

Posted by: JakeD

==

Your suggestion that Barney Frank is a pedophile simply because he's gay represents something I didn't think possible: a new low for JakeD.

That was a completely despicable and loathsome thing to write, given that there is no evidence nor even suggestion of it. I'd say you should be ashamed of yourself but given your unbroken string of lies an inuendoes, not to mention the fact of your trolldom, you're probably not capable of shame.

With that accusation you have become subhuman.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 13, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

For my money, claffiteau (post below @ July 13, 2009 12:33 PM) provides an excellent justification for ranking these acts just as the survey results have done, in terms of moral turpitude.

Posted by: Iconoblaster | July 13, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

See the movie "Outrage" that is out now.. it includes many more gays in Congress who do not vote their "lifestyle" but instead try to defeat civil rights and even AIDS legislation aimed at that community. Your choices did not include the former Governor of New Jersey...and Others..

Posted by: ken_lar | July 13, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Chris in your response to the results you said; "How the heck could Mark Sanford come in third? He left the state -- and the country -- for FIVE days. He called his mistress his "soul mate." Come on people!"

For what its worth the order of finish makes sense to me.
1. Ensign - How much dirtier and low down can you get than seducing your top aide and friend's wife? Then he mishandled the cover-up to boot.

2. Edwards - Having the affair while running for Prez and your wife is being treated for cancer comes pretty close though. He also mishandled the cover-up.

3. Sanford - Unlike the other two this guy really seems to have fallen in love so you gotta cut him some slack. No indications that this was true in Ensign or Edwards affairs plus Sanford didn't try to cover it up by using hush money etc.

4. Spitzer - He got caught availing himself of the services of a prostitute in a strait sex for money business transaction. Not a sexual affair with his best friend's wife or a campaign worker much less a love affair. If we forced every married man who had ever done this to quit their jobs most poltical offices would be vacant and the unemployment rate in the US would be at least triple or quadruple what it is now.

Posted by: claffiteau | July 13, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey "drivel", if you are going to say what I said was a lie, why are you so inept you can't prove it?

Posted by: dbw1 | July 13, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

roses21:

Thanks for noticing.

Posted by: JakeD | July 13, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Like everything else you say, dbw, that is a lie.

Why is it that republicans lie about every single thing? It's pathological.

Posted by: drindl | July 13, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Jaked post about Congressman Frank's is slander and has been reported as abusive and out of line. Congressman Franks lives openly in his sexual identity; therefore, he is no sneaking around tapping in restrooms or emailing under aged pages.
It is the people living in the darkness and shame doing these kinds of things like Foley!

Posted by: roses21 | July 13, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Maybe I was new to this 'discovery' a few years ago, and the rest of you already knew this. Next time you see a news report of a political scandal, see how far into the article you have to read to find out the politician's political affiliation.

I picked up on this a few years ago, and it continues to hold about 90% of the time. If the politician involved in the scandal is a Republican, the article will identify the party affiliation in the title, or certainly within the first sentence of the article. If the politician involved in the scandal is a Democrat, you may have to read halfway or more through the article before it will ever identify the party affiliation.

Latest example was a few weeks ago when the news broke of Sen Ensign. The first AP article identified him as a Rebublican THREE times within the article headline and first sentence. The same day, prosecutors in Detroit announced bribery charges against councilwoman Monica Conyers, wife of well-known congressman John Conyers. The first AP article to hit the wire that day never mentioned that either Monica or John are Democrats. Not once. A revised article posted later that day in the evening finally showed a "-D" next to John Conyers name.

And the media wonders why so many people think they are biased....

Posted by: dbw1 | July 13, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

@BB: good call on Studds, I'd forgotten about him.

But he's not on Jake's "short list"

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 13, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

@chrisfox - A follow-up on my last post. I decided to do a bit of hunting around to find any sex scandals involving female politicians. Nothing more than 5 minutes, but the only one I could with a female politician was Helen Chenoweth, who admitted in 1998 to having an eight-year affair with a rancher in her home state of Idaho during the 1980s. Ironically (or maybe hypocritcally), Chenoweth was a vocal critic of President Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal. Though not a politician, Dr. Laura works better as a do as I say, not as I do kind of gal. I'm fond of her show, though you can't get it in the DC area.

@Jake - You'd have done better to mention former Rep. Gerry Studds earlier. He was censured for sexual relationship with underage male page in 1983.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 12, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Jake, but that's not a scandal. That's advertising!

I think there is a valid case to be made against any politician regarding infidelity. How can you trust the word of someone who betrayed those closest to him or her? However, people have a remarkable ability to compartmentalize. I'm not terribly worried if my pilot or doctor is a paragon of rectitude, just that he or she is good at the job.

I have noticed something missing from all of these discussions. In every case that I've read about tonight, the philanderer is male. Surely someone can make a case for all of those cuckolded gents out there! Help us out, ladies.

BB

P.S. Nice to see you back in the saddle, so to speak.

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 12, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

@BB: that's fair.

My point is that when we like to think of ourselves as infinitely sober and rationale and always able to live on our principles. But sex has commonality with addiction, with twanging those pesky neuroreceptors, and behavior where they're involved is always going to be sketchy.

Why do addicts who know full well their drug is bad for them return to it anyway? For the same reason that people who know better than to cheat do so. When I was younger I was a lot more harsh and a lot less forgiving about sexual misconduct, and about drug addiction, but now I'm considerably more forgiving. Not terribly more tolerant, not lowering of expecations, but forgiving.

Rational thought and morality are thin veneers atop the reptilian brain. To think they entirely overpower it is the same kind of conceit that has gun-owners thinking they're a protection against tyrants.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 12, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

FairlingtonBlade:

The primary concern is not hypocrisy. I wouldn't vote for Hugh Hefner either.

Posted by: JakeD | July 12, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I think the hypocrisy issue is an important one, but not terribly related to religious or political affiliation. For example, Spitzer rates highest on the hypocrisy scale of the four examples on offer for tonight. He made a living prosecuting prostitution and then paid for a call girl. Come to think of it, Strom Thurmond rates very highly on that scale. It's hard to beat an avowed segregationist fathering a mixed race child.

More generally, those preaching family values to others would be advised to not keep a sticky wicket. So to speak.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 12, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Wow, really?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 12, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

I think that Mr. Cillizza meant actual sex.

Posted by: JakeD | July 12, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I honestly don't think mere infidelity merits all this condemnation, it's the hypocrisy of an ostentatiously Christian conservative that makes it galling. People in relationships should take their vows seriously but hey, newsflash, we are wired by evolution to be irrational about sex and reproduction, otherwise who would want to have kids?

Sometimes people end up loving other people who have much stronger or much weaker sex drives than they do, and anyone who says "just stick to your vows and never mind all that" has clearly never faced that predicament. Going without sex is painful for someone with a strong drive, corrosive in fact.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 12, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

The worst political sex scandal is Dick Cheney and George Bush's rape of America.
Everything else pales by comparison. Nothing else deserves consideration.

Posted by: seemstome | July 12, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

We all know demented people who love people unlike themselves. Sadly, it is the rational class that cultures hate.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 12, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

The percentages have changed by 2-3 points as the number grew.

The more (distinct) votes, the more accurate the percentages. Of course, any time there is any conservative/liberal polarity in a poll, it's safe to presume that conservatives are flooding the poll at the urging of sites and organizations dedicated to creating false impressions. So Edwards and Spitzer are likely to show higher percentages than a careful polling would.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 12, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

I would like to nominate the Kennedy family as the worst political sex scandal in the history of same. Start with Pappa Joe and Gloria Swanson among many others, Joe K, Bobby's son, and the secret annulment fiasco, Same Joe's brother Michael and the 14 year old babysitter, Kerry Kennedy wife of NY attorney General Cuomo and her married man friend, William Kennedy Smith rape at Uncle Ted's place acquittal but many similiar stories from other women unanswered, Of course Uncle Ted and Mary Jo, The legendary escapades of JFK even in the Lincoln bedroom and we can't forget that he shared MM with little bro Bobby who recently has a book out about his mutual love affair with Jackie O.
There's more but I think the winner is clearly the Kennedy Clan

Posted by: jjwaltz | July 12, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

4,000 votes and the same percentage for all of them since the polls opened?

Posted by: JakeD | July 12, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Good points. I wouldn't vote for anyone who cheats on his wife.

Posted by: JakeD

==

You'd vote for a ticket of Adolph Hitler and Heinrich Himmler if the GOP nominated them and you know it. Don't act all bleedin' high and morally mighty in the same page as you dribble over Sarah Palin.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 12, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

JayPen:

Good points. I wouldn't vote for anyone who cheats on his wife.

Posted by: JakeD | July 12, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

This poll has two sad implications:

1) Firstly, there could be so many options. Its just the tip of the iceberg, with McGreevey, Foley, Craig, etc.

2) Of the 4 in the poll, only one (Spitzer) lost office because of it. The tolerance of public office given to people who betray their wives is incredible.

Posted by: JayPen | July 12, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Edwards' wife was not "dying" save in the sense that we all are. She was in treatment for incurable cancer but not checking out.

The poll percentages have been relatively constant, with Ensign outperforming Spitzer and Sanford combined. Not to noodge but Ensign is my choicew, because I place great store on loyalty to one's friends, agreeing in large measure with Oscar Wilde.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 12, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

That's not what I asked. Do you think that Rep. Frank has had sex with underaged Congressional pages, yes or no?

Posted by: JakeD

==

You ask this libelous question in the complete absence of evidence or even suggestion. Any grounds for that, or are you simply a demented bigot?

My money is on demented bigot.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 12, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, Mr. Cillizza only included "Kristen". Among the (limited" choices, Sen. Edwards cheating on his dying wife and allegedly fathering a bastard child is the worst.

==

Yes it would have been much better if she had gotten an abortion. We certainly agree on that.

And I'm perfectly certain that your choice of Edwards over Ensign had *nothing* whatever to do with his political affiliation!!

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 12, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

In recent years, how could anyone forget Vito Fosella and his two families? Going back a few years earlier, there was the spectre of Dan Burton (who still postures in Congress), Henry Hyde and Helen Chenoweth, all of whom called for President Clinton's resignation even though each had had affairs themselves.

Posted by: thephd | July 12, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

What does all of this mean? The political class is rotten to the core...said muleman

Is this true? I mean, I am not Diogenes.
I have made mistakes, done things I regretted. I would have been a better person if I knew then what I know now, perhaps, beyond pop song lyrics, that is the power of the Buddhist myth.

But I can not buy the argument that everyone is living this way and so it is no big deal; this is their personal life and all that.

Is it a mistake to conflate the ability to be honest with the public with the ability to be honest with your family? I don't think it is.

These lies are outrageous and if you don't think lying is a big deal, I'll bet your son or daughter did not come back from Iraq in a box. I'll bet you think that if you join the National Guard, you are committed for a weekend a month.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 12, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

dubya19391:

Unfortunately, Mr. Cillizza only included "Kristen". Among the (limited" choices, Sen. Edwards cheating on his dying wife and allegedly fathering a bastard child is the worst.

Posted by: JakeD | July 12, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

...last but not least Spitzer ould still be governor of NY today if it were up to him. If anything is the problem here, it is that the others are still in office. On that note he's clearly the worst of the bunch.

Posted by: dubya19391 | July 12, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

...sorry, to be accurate, "Kirsten was just one of a long line of underage hookers hired and transported to Spitzer to indulge his anal fetish".

yes, Sanford not only doesn't love his wife but happily trolled the dance parties of South America on the public dime, in search of "true love" and a couple of nice boobs. Yes, Ensign used his staff member in a most dirty & perverse way for his personal pleasure...and got his parents to pay off the woman and her husband. At least until they demanded more money than his parents would pay, sparking Ensigns' indignation. And yes, Edwards got a full head of himself and decided to indulge in at least one quick Clintonesque fling on the campaign trail. But Spitzer is an out and out child molester if not abuser. He's barely better than a white-slave trader. And you can bet that he'll be up to his old tricks in the near future.

Posted by: dubya19391 | July 12, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

...come on, you gotta remember what Spitzer was doing, how he was doing it, where he was doing it and why. Also why he got caught in the first place. "Kristen" was just one of many in a long string of hookers hired and transported to Spitzer to indulge his anal fetish while he was the Governor of New York. Probably a few turned up while he was AG.

Second, for ALL of them, there is the ones that we know about and the ones we *don't* know about.

Posted by: dubya19391 | July 12, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Of course it's possible to choose (just as 3,827 have among the four options). I voted for Edwards. I still don't think that Edwards is the "worst political sex scandal" of all time.

Posted by: JakeD | July 12, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Which is the worst? Is it possible to chose? Each one of these guys has done a bang up job of dragging his name through the mud in a different way.

Posted by: theamazingjex | July 12, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of statistics, however, what are the odds that the percentage breakdown remains the same after 3,000 votes? Something is wrong with that. I hope that Mr. Cillizza is using a different vote counter for the upcoming Fix Political HOF.

Posted by: JakeD | July 12, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

JakeD posted:

"Do you think that Rep. Frank has had sex with underaged Congressional pages, yes or no?"

I reply "No".

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 12, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin:

That's not what I asked. Do you think that Rep. Frank has had sex with underaged Congressional pages, yes or no?

Posted by: JakeD | July 12, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

"I am mildly surprised that no one but DDAWD at 3:13A and I at 11:05P think that Foley, who was abusing the underaged clerks in his "care", is a far worse man than the current spate of adulterers."

I'm assuming that its because he wasn't on the list.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 12, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Chris really seems biased toward Bill Clinton, choosing him in his initial politcal hall of fame group, which is a farce, by leaving out Franklin, Washington, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and not including him as an option for worst political scandal. Clearly Clinton had the worst sex scandal because it led to his impeachment by the House of Representatives, with him and Andrew Johnson belonging to an exclusive club of presidents who have been impeached.

None of the other four persons in this poll will be mentioned in an overall history of the United States. So Clinton wins hands down.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | July 12, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Clinton's escapade was "worse" than the others (if one considers adultery on a sliding scale) - a scandal made worse by lying under oath before a grand jury. For this, Clinton was impeached but not convicted.
We then have I. Lewis Libby who lied before a grand jury, was convicted by a trial jury of his peers, convicted and sentenced to prison by a "strict constructionist" judge appointed by Bush. The result? A commutation.
What does all of this mean? The political class is rotten to the core.

Posted by: muleman | July 12, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

JakeD, as others have said, statistics do not back your implicit assumption that homosexual = pederast; there are proportionally and numerically more adult men who abuse girls.

==

We've had this discussion with Jake already, and recently, and as with everything else he seems incapable of or unwilling to learn. He is adamant in his conviction that a pedophile who goes after children of the same sex is gay. Even though the statistics are solid that even most of these pedophiles are heterosexual in their public lives. They are almost never aroused by same-sex adults.

This is too subtle for JakeD.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 12, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

There is a long history of diddling in Congress - BB, here's another one from the Mills era that I recall:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/local/longterm/tours/scandal/elizray.htm

But while I rated Edwards worst of these four - his wife needed him to be her man right then more than the others - I think for the Congressman in charge of teenagers to molest them is the worst in recent memory.

JakeD, as others have said, statistics do not back your implicit assumption that homosexual = pederast; there are proportionally and numerically more adult men who abuse girls. I did not pick on Foley because he was "gay", I picked on him because he abused the children in his direct care, a double evil.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 12, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Sanford needs to R-E-S-I-G-N!

I don't care that he does not want to resign. I do not care that his ilk in SC congress do not want to pressure him to resign. I do not care that Bauer would take over.

All I've got with Sanford now is a middle-aged "crisis" man WHINING about his AFFAIR with his MISTRESS and SNIVELING that she is his SOULMATE!

That is NOT someone I want to govern MY state!

And if the SC Congress won't act, THEY who WON'T should be voted out, too!

Yea, Bauer got MOUTHY with a POLICEMAN who stopped him for a SPEEDING TICKET.

THAT is what he did.

Hardly in the same ballpark at all with what SANFORD did!

Also, what SANFORD did is career-destroying and will follow him the rest of his life.

What Bauer "did" will NOT!

Posted by: rm8471 | July 12, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

@georgejones5 - I thought we were in the non-fiction aisle.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 12, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I love this line...

[Palin leads] a dwindling white nonurban America that is aflame with grievances and awash in self-pity as the country hurtles into the 21st century and leaves it behind.

Posted by: shrink2

==

The column is a must-read:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/12/opinion/12rich.html?_r=1

"The essence of Palinism is emotional, not ideological. Yes, she is of the religious right, even if she winks literally and figuratively at her own daughter’s flagrant disregard of abstinence and marriage. But family-values politics, now more devalued than the dollar by the philandering of ostentatiously Christian Republican politicians, can only take her so far. The real wave she’s riding is a loud, resonant surge of resentment and victimization that’s larger than issues like abortion and gay civil rights.

That resentment is in part about race, of course. When Palin referred to Alaska as “a microcosm of America” during the 2008 campaign, it was in defiance of the statistical reality that her state’s tiny black and Hispanic populations are unrepresentative of her nation. She stood for the “real America,” she insisted, and the identity of the unreal America didn’t have to be stated explicitly for audiences to catch her drift. Her convention speech’s signature line was a deftly coded putdown of her presumably shiftless big-city opponent: “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.” (Funny how this wisdom has been forgotten by her supporters now that she has abandoned her own actual responsibilities in public office.)"

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 12, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama in the back seat of his limo with one of his call boies Larry Sinclair. Simply for its audacity.

Posted by: georgejones5 | July 12, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

#4 for those who keep count

"I lost respect for the GOP when Republican operatives, and the lemmings that follow them, started referring to President Clinton as 'Slick Willie' from virtually the first day he was in office."

==

For me it was Lee Atwater and the Willie Horton ad. After that there was no way to treat the GOP as honorable opposition.

The "Impeach Obama" stickers started showing up well before the inauguration. How nice to know the GOP will continue to lose ground for decades to come, as the old racists die off.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 12, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Two JakeD idiot-posts:

"Do you REALLY think that Rep. Frank (D-Mass.) has never crossed the line with a Congressional page?"

Evidence. Jake? Do you actually think that gays are inclined toward pedophilia? You're an ignorant idiot. Pedophiles are overwhelmingly heterosexual, far more so than the general population. As with Hitler and the Nazis, pedophiles belong to your side of the aisle. We gay men go for men, not boys, men with secondary sexual characteristics. Do I need to spell this out? My god you are a dumba$$.

When you need to make crap up, you should shut up instead.

"Part of "worst" (especially for a political sex scandal) has to be high profile. Ted Kennedy's murder of Mary Jo would be right up there too."

"Murder," Jake, really? Oh, that's right, you call abortion "murder" too. Let's just chalk this one up to prejudicially poor nomenclature.

Kennedy had an accident. He didn't shoot or stab MJK.

Really, Jake, if your reasoning is so poor and your mind so dim, you really should find somewhere else to post.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 12, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

if Gov. Palin decides to run, she will get more than 60 million votes -- by all means please keep underestimating her.

==

I don't think underestimating her is even possible.

She'd get 20 million votes if the GOP was suicidal enough to run her. Which they probably are,

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 12, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Clinton-Lewinsky was a worse sex scandal than the four options

==

knock me over with a feather.

Clinton's slippage was a one-time late-night BJ, by a young woman who planned it out.

Ensign was an ongoing affair with his best friend's wife. Once again you follow the GOP playbook to the letter, showing no evidence whatever of having a mind of your own

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 12, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

But the worst, by far, goes to Slick Willie Clinton, who looked right at us and lied!

Posted by: ziggy2
----------------------------------
Ziggy, I know...how shocking...a politician lied. You must really be upset about the Bush lies that brought us into a war with Iraq under false pretenses and cost thousands of people their lives.

Oh, those lies were okay? Got it. Hypocrite.

I lost respect for the GOP when Republican operatives, and the lemmings that follow them, started referring to President Clinton as 'Slick Willie' from virtually the first day he was in office.

Posted by: scootmandubious | July 12, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

But the worst, by far, goes to Slick Willie Clinton, who looked right at us and lied!

Posted by: ziggy2 | July 12, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I seem to remember a press secretary of Lyndon Johnson being caught "in flagrante" at the YMCA swimming pool. Seems it was then a known gay meeting place, or something.

I also seem to remember that this (back in the 1960's) was probably the last time anybody in the federal government, maybe in government at any level, resigned or was fired over a sex scandal. Now, it just causes the obligatory press conference and a few letters to the editor.

Posted by: seattle_wa | July 12, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

B'way joe:
Winners--everyone I like
Losers--everyone I don't like

See how simple it is?

Posted by: capsfan77 | July 12, 2009 12:35 PM
____
Sounds about right.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | July 12, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

@Jake - Noticed the Edwards bit. I don't think it's relevant to comment on the 2004 race, since the affair occurred after 2004, no? My guess is that if Edwards had become Veep, he wouldn't have had the chance.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 12, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

@Jake - As pedophilia and homosexuality are not linked, no more likely than any heterosexual member of Congress. Next stereotype?

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 12, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Jake D. wrote:
Do you REALLY think that Rep. Frank (D-Mass.) has never crossed the line with a Congressional page?
--------------------------
I hear you Jake. Since Barney Frank actually admits to being gay, he obviously has sex with young male pages.

In fact, I think I saw the process described on page 834 of "The Gay Agenda."

It reads:
"Once you have cleverly gotten into office, the next step is getting into the pants of the youngest DC staffers you can find. Usually, these are pages and, yes, they can be turned."

The only thing I can't figure is why Frank has given cover for Obama to do absolutely nothing on glbt issues.

I will have to consult the 'Agenda' and check out the chapter on absolute power corrupting absolutely.

Posted by: scootmandubious | July 12, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

chrisfox8, re: 7/11 @ 10:35 p.m.


Keep libeling me and memorializing it here...

...and who knows? I may have some allies "on the inside" who'd like to see whomever is pulling your strings hung up on defamation charges (financed on the public dime?)

http://nowpublic.com/world/govt-fusion-center-spying-pretext-harass-and-censor

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 12, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

B'way joe:
Winners--everyone I like
Losers--everyone I don't like

See how simple it is?

Posted by: capsfan77 | July 12, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

You're actually ARGUING about this?

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | July 12, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

mark_in_Austin and others who mentioned Rep. Foley (R-Flor.):

Do you REALLY think that Rep. Frank (D-Mass.) has never crossed the line with a Congressional page?

Posted by: JakeD | July 12, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget about Barney Frank and the male prostitute ring running out of his own house.

Posted by: JakeD | July 12, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Part of "worst" (especially for a political sex scandal) has to be high profile. Ted Kennedy's murder of Mary Jo would be right up there too.

Posted by: JakeD | July 12, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Just because Ensign is the most recent doesn't make it the "worst" people. Edwards was running for President of the United States. Maybe he didn't have a chance anyway, but what if he had gotten the Dem nomination? For that matter, what if Kerry-Edwards had won in 2004? This could have been WORSE than Clinton-Lewinsky. That's why I voted for this sex scandal, among the four choices. For gawd's sake, Elizabeth Edwards has CANCER. John Edwards may (or may not) be a new father. Short of an OJ-type murder tossed in, Edwards-Hunter is the worst.

What I really want to know is if Ensign ever went on the Colbert Report.

Posted by: JakeD | July 12, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

As long as we adding other, might I suggest:Wilbur Daigh Mills. It may have been forgotten, but the lady jumping into the Tidal Basin is a local legend. And Argentinian to boot!

I voted for Sanford of these 4, though I would reconsider. It was a bigger scandal in that he abandoned his office for a week. [I can see Buenos Aires from my back yard!] As sex scandals go, it's rather prosaic.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 12, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

My vote would be for Ted Haggard, political adviser to George the Dumber on how to pander to the "Christian" vote.

Judging and condemning gays while romping with a male prostitute in Denver high on meth wins the "Evangelical Republican of the Decade" award.

Posted by: coloradodog | July 12, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Hheeaatt:

Are you suggesting that it's "better" to sully the Oval Office than an airport bathroom stall (keep in mind that Craig did not even have sex with the police officer)?

Posted by: JakeD | July 12, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

For all of you who would like to say that Clinton was the worst Sex scandall....He cheated on his wife, same thing Repubs did, he had sex while married, same thing Repubs did...the only difference, Clinton did his in the oval office, Repubs choose to do theirs in Argentina, a bathroom airport stall, and inside the GOP promisekeepers organization....so,for all of you self righteous folks don't forget your apple dosen't fall far from the tree either...

BETTER POINT.....HOW COME U NEVER HEAR WOMEN DOING THIS?....hell, we cheat too, guess we just do it better than a man who is thinking with his penis only huh?!!

BUZZARDSKORNER!

Posted by: Hheeaatt | July 12, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

shrink2:

My wife and I live in San Diego, while not "urban" like New York City or Detroit, is still not "nonurban" -- if Gov. Palin decides to run, she will get more than 60 million votes -- by all means please keep underestimating her.

Posted by: JakeD | July 12, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I think the worst sex scandal is a group award that should go to the likes of Craig, Foley...Christ...and their ilk.

These are the people who privately engage in gay sex, and then publicly seek to hurt glbt Americans with intentionally oppressive policy decisions.

It is not just their hypocrisy that elevates these men to the top spot...it is the fact that they think nothing of hurting others who happen to be gay, as well.

Posted by: scootmandubious | July 12, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I agree that Clinton-Lewinsky was a worse sex scandal than the four options (I voted Edwards-Hunter because he got the closest to the White House). Jefferson-Hemmings was the "worst" American sex scandal though.

Posted by: JakeD | July 12, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Oliver, Clinton's indescretions are the most disturbing. To get to the level of Presidential leadership with so little self control! This is a disturbing and a horrible example to youth of the value of true committment to family relationships. Me first attitudes (lusts for sex and power) make you wonder about the commitment to the nation as well. This is true whether one is of democratic or republican ideology. There is an emotional immaturity if one needs these things to make themselves feel better. Not the kind of think I like to see in leadership.

Posted by: spngnbrg | July 12, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

THE WORST SEX SCANDAL WAS BILL CLINTON. NOT ONLY WAS A SCANDAL, IT WAS DIRTY AND AT OUR OVAL OFFICE. IT MUDDIED OUR WHITE HOUSE PERCEPTION AROUND THE WORLD.

Posted by: InesJones | July 12, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

THE WORST SEX XCANDAL WAS BILL CLINTON. NOT ONLY WAS A SCANDAL, IT WAS DIRTY AND AT OUR OVAL OFFICE.

Posted by: InesJones | July 12, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

[Palin leads] a dwindling white nonurban America that is aflame with grievances and awash in self-pity as the country hurtles into the 21st century and leaves it behind.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 12, 2009 10:13 AM
_______
Prominent GOP leader Audra Shay (VP of the "Young" Republicans) believes the biggest problem in the US today is "[rac]coons." How do raccoons affect the economy, domestic policy, etc.? I don't get it. Maybe Phalin knows...

Posted by: broadwayjoe | July 12, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about your wife, but at least there is still the NYT.

The Frank Rich column today is outstanding.
But for a few cliches, it is also really well written. It channels Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals.

I love this line...

[Palin leads] a dwindling white nonurban America that is aflame with grievances and awash in self-pity as the country hurtles into the 21st century and leaves it behind.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 12, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Meh. This post feels like something my wife would read in Glamour magazine.

Posted by: mnteng | July 12, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I vote for Mark Foley.

Oh, he's not a choice? Well, Chris, your bias is showing as Foley's sexscapades are more current than John Edwards.

But since you have to maintain the faux balance, you wouldn't understand this.

Posted by: cadet70 | July 12, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

The worst is probably on the horizon: the whole "C Street" group thing. It appears the C Street group is the mother ship for bizarre activity, which allegedly includes fascination with Nazism on some level. My guess is the MSM, including the Post, have all the details about it but have decided to cover up to protect its insider Washington participants.
________

Winners
Sotomayor (good luck next week)
BHO (great Africa trip)
Holder (anticipating good things next week, acc. to Newsweek-stay strong)
Michael (the greatest there ever was, the greatest they're will ever be)
McNair (Steve, you didn't lose, the game just ended too early)
Man-Ram (a 3-homerun comeback speaks for itself)
Dan Froomkin (the Post's loss is HuffPo's gain and the intelligent readers')
Eugene Robinson
Hank Worden (as Parson in John Wayne's "The Alamo" (1960))

Losers
Audra Shay (the most infamous 38-year-old "Young Republican" in the country)
Phalin (your 15 minutes expired a loooong time ago)
Phalin's weekly and tiresome dramas
The Valley Swim Club in Huntingdon Valley, PA
Brian Kilmeade (maybe a winner actually for explaining on the air (rather than off camera) Faux News's racial purity doctrine))
The Post's legions of neo-con, neo-seg op-eders (Kathleen Parker, Krauthammer, et al.)
David Brooks (for, as hundreds of posters have commented, not explaining why you let a perv (allegedly a GOP senator) do to you what he did for an entire dinner engagement--says more about you than him--dude, what is your problem?)
Juan Williams (in the words of Terence Howard, you embarrass us, you embarrass yourself, every single week)
Woody Allen's last 10 films

Posted by: broadwayjoe | July 12, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I voted for Spitzer because he was such a hypocritical "crusader" against illegal conduct, all the time paying a prostitute to have rough, unprotected sex.

And he wore his socks during sex, too.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | July 12, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I am mildly surprised that no one but DDAWD at 3:13A and I at 11:05P think that Foley, who was abusing the underaged clerks in his "care", is a far worse man than the current spate of adulterers.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 12, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Portland Mayor Sam Adams' scandal is the worst. If he had not lied about it, covered it up and even counterattacked his accusers (as homophobes), he never would have become mayor.

It is not that the laughable flower merchant ShoDo could have beaten him, it is that there were serious people willing to run, but who felt Sam could not be beaten.
The grotesque story of his waiting for the 17yo Beau Breedlove (!) to come of age so he could climb on top of him without breaking the law would have entirely changed the political map in PDX.

The point here is the way these people are surviving these episodes. Personal integrity does not matter at all? They should not be able to survive and that my friends is the fault of America today, to sample a previous point from a Canadian.

On a related note, I can not wait to see what Dick Cheney was using the CIA for. Partisan aims? Or is Leon Panetta about to reveal a CIA plot that causes multiple identical postings by crazy people on the internet?

Posted by: shrink2 | July 12, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Despite Elizabeth Edwards' books to secure HER legacy - she went along with her husband's scam - accepting donations from unsuspecting followers while KNOWING her husband had had an affair.
They'd been through a VP race before and surely knew their lives would be fully scrutinized.
Who's rearing John Edwards' baby?


Posted by: angie12106 | July 12, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Mark Sanford's was worse because he left the state rudderless. A leader must be reachable and ready to act. His failure could have been catastrophic.

Posted by: rcvinson64 | July 12, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Dumping your duties as governor and not leaving anyone in charge is the worst.
If there had been an major accident (say a plane crash or a bombing) it would have been a constitutional crisis , as the gov. didn't hand off his power (temp.) to the lt. gov.

ensign using his parents to pay his blackmail, the whole of the christian conservative republican senators knowing he was cheating,.. that just shows the depth of the GOP hypocrisy.

Edwards ranks up there with newt in cheat on his wife while claiming he's the better man.
Edwards hypocrisy shows that the christian hypocrisy isn't limited to rejpublilcans

Spitzer.. what an idiot.
He's the only one who could have a come back IMO

Posted by: newagent99 | July 12, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Ah--the power of a woman's body! Giving up your entire career for moments of physical pleasure---hopefully, it was really good!

Spizter's affair is the only one that led to a resignation. The other cheats are still doing the same thing they were.

Posted by: Socialistic | July 12, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Ensign got his parents involved. Not only did they give lots of money to the mistress, but they carefully divided it into checks small enough to be below legally-mandated reporting limits. That is really creepy.

Posted by: Sutter | July 12, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Tough call. A lot of this stuff is part of the human comedy, and not just in politics. Many of us have done regrettable things while besotted with love and/or lust. What bothers me is the sanctimonious set, the "family values" types who pontificate and fornicate concomitantly. So the Craig, Vitter, Ensign, Limbaugh, Gingrich types seem worse than the others. Throw the bums out.

Posted by: frodot | July 12, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Wait, people seem to be forgetting William Jefferson Clinton and Monica Lewinsky?

That brought on a Constitutional crisis, a "Wag the Dog" military strike on Somalia, and a wasted second term -- precious years that could have been spent productively to solve some of the country's problems.

Posted by: OliverKlozov | July 12, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse

"Of the recent ones, Larry Craig beyond a doubt."

I didn't know that counted as recent. Does Mark Foley count then? His involved underaged children.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 12, 2009 3:13 AM | Report abuse

I'll have to go with my gut and say Edwards. Sanford was irresponsible, Ensign pathetic, Spitzer's hypocrisy was off the chart, but for all those three you'd feel that justice could by and large be done by kicking the bums out of office. Edwards's betrayal -- I don't think there's a milder word for it -- is tragic and wrong far beyond politics.

Politically, Ensign might be the worst, though, since he seems to have been the one that really dragged C Street into the media spotlight (although Sanford was also a big help).

Posted by: Widebrant | July 12, 2009 2:55 AM | Report abuse

I'd score them Ensign > Edwards >> Sanford > Spitzer.

Ensign is so creepy and so hypocritical he is the worst. He says he is a Christian leader and then has an affair with a staffer that is married to another of his employees and then harasses this woman. Ensign is just repulsive. Edwards is sleazy, but he was always sleazy. Sanford (a) fell in love and (b) came totally clean after he was caught. Spitzer overpaid for a prostitute - big deal!

Posted by: Renu1 | July 12, 2009 2:39 AM | Report abuse

Which one? Why of course, the next one.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | July 12, 2009 2:37 AM | Report abuse

there are so many, where to begin...

what isn't scandalous is the fact that power has corrupted these men so completely that they think (which head?) that no one will notice or that they can brazen it out.

seemingly intelligent people (and both Spitzer and Edwards have accomplishments enough to prove their intellects as well as drive to succeed) throw all cautions to the wind in chase of tail. why is that? what is corrupting their thought processes so much that they lose sight of what they can lose (aside from integrity, if they had any to begin with)?

the biggests hypocrites are the allegedly- religious, whether in a pastoria sense or politicians-as-family-values stalwarts. Their corruptions are worse than the vaunted Daley Machine in Chicago or Tammany Hall's because when you voted with that machine you knew exactly what you were getting.

Those who where sheep's skins to cover their wolf-like predilections are the sorriest of the bunch, the lowest of the low. IMHO

Posted by: can8tiv | July 12, 2009 1:43 AM | Report abuse

Political sex scandals are just that. There are no good, bad or worst political scandals, so I find this article ridiculous. I am sure that there are more important issues for the American public to ponder than rate political sex scandals.

Posted by: kyprios9281 | July 12, 2009 1:15 AM | Report abuse

Why do the women involved in these scandals get off the hook in this poll? How about asking which one of the sex partners in these sex scandals was the most morally bankrupt? Now there's a poll worth conducting.

Posted by: dlopata | July 12, 2009 12:59 AM | Report abuse

The Worst Political Sex Scandal? Any one that was perpetrated by a conservative or repubican. Why? Beause Their 14th century leaders required them to keep their zippers locked, their wives barefoot and pregnant, and their IQ's to never exceed that of a 5th grade mentality.

Posted by: swatkins1 | July 12, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

I vote David Vitter.

Anyone sick enough to pay a hooker to dress him in a diaper (as Vitter did), then make his wife parade up to the podium to support his sick and sorry azz during his televied mea culpa, has got to be the worst.

Posted by: Hawaiiexpat | July 12, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

I need to add: Edwards' affair finished him in politics, and rightfully so. Ensign went public only as a preemption of blackmail, and he seems to think that mentioning Jesus gets him off the hook. He's not even contemplating resigning. I factor his unrepentant lousy conservative outlook into this.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I didn't realise we could choose from amongst all the sex scandals.

I thought we had to confine ourselves to just the four options. Damn! (or ought I to have said 'Darn' to keep the family-values readers happy?)

Posted by: sverigegrabb | July 11, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

I think Ensign outshines Edwards; not only did he betray his wife, he betrayed a friend. Edwards' philandering was scummy and'd be worse than Ensign's were it just someone he met, but to look a friend in the eye while you're shtupfing his spouse is just low as hell.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

In your grouping, I choose Edwards betraying his loyal cancer stricken wife.

However, Foley, in charge of House clerks, chatting them up for sex - we are talking soliciting minors supposedly under his protection - is the worst of the last few years.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 11, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

In case anyone here is new and wondering, scrivener50 is psychotic

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm having trouble deciding, except that Sanford's is the least of the four options. I'll say Spitzer & Ensign tie for worst, then Edwards, then Sanford.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 11, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Of the recent ones, Larry Craig beyond a doubt.

Nasty scold, mealymouthed with the family values shtick, against gay marriage, against abortion and blah blah blah, and all the time he's cruising for sex in *toilets*

Gay men meet each other in clubs, online, in settings seedy and wholesome, and this self-loathing busybodyu scold is not only a closet case, but he does 50's footy crap in "tea rooms."

Bonus points for the ridiculously thin explanations. "Wide stance" indeed.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 11, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

A P.S.:

Let's not forget about the upcoming scandal: Which (R.) Senator spent an evening with one hand resting on (caressing) David Brooks' inner thigh!

Let's hear it for ambidexterity!

Posted by: sverigegrabb | July 11, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

Surely with a 5-month-old son, and the accompanying sleep-deprivation all that implies, you ought really to be relaxing to whatever extent you can rather than letting your feverish brain think up these polls--although we are in the midst of the 'silly season'. (New cure for insomnia: count DC sex scandals as they jump over fences!)

Of course, it's addictive, and I couldn't resist taking the poll--Chris, you're responsible for the downfall of a serious-minded journalist!

It was difficult to choose between Edwards and Ensign, and two pigs don't make a puppy-dog, but (sigh) I finally voted untypically with the majority and chose Ensign.

When the nexus of sex and money (and, apparently, religious fanaticism) intersect, you KNOW it means trouble with a capital (capitOl???) 'T' and that rhymes with D.C.!

As usual, it was the money which did it--particularly the fact that the emolument was paid in such calculated installments so it would come under the category of a tax-free gift!

It almost makes one long for the good old days of a randy but good-hearted rogue such as 'Slick Willy' (any Brits reading this must realise that whoever coined the sobriquet didn't understand how evocative it would be to an international audience)!

Posted by: sverigegrabb | July 11, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings (sp?)

Posted by: JakeD | July 11, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

I guess morally it would be Edwards. In terms of politics, it would be Sanford who seems to have used public money to finance at least part of his trysts. That is, unless Ensign's $96k came from campaign funds, but that hasn't been shown yet.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 11, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

None of the above.

These are the merest of the merely homey. They couldn't keep their libidos amused and in a moment of bore dome or randiness went off and indulged there egos.

Sex scandals? Wayne Hays and Elizabeth Ray, or Fannie Fox and Wilbur Mills. Blatant, imaginative, press worthy.

Outrageous scandals? whenever J. Edgar Hoover wore a dress.

Government ending scandals? John Profumo and Christine Keeler.

These four? They wouldn't make an appendix to Peyton Place.

If we are to have scandals, let's have SCANDALS. John Quincy Adams getting caught in his version of a bathtub by a reporter.

But guilty, sheepish, divorce court sleaze?

Not worth the ink it took to print.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 11, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

'FUSION (CENTER) CONFUSION'?

Pardon double-post below. May have something to do with apparent real-time warrrantless surveillance and tampering via malicious "remote computing" software:

http://blog.aclu.org/2009/01/26/internet-filters-voluntary-ok-not-government-mandate/#comments


Posted by: scrivener50 | July 11, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 11, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 11, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Edwards, no question. To be out there running for president, publicly supporting his disease stricken wife while cheating with his online video producer -- he had to know it would become public but he continued to run for president. Incredibly narcissistic.

Posted by: jrosco3 | July 11, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

It HAS to be Spitzer. He was a former prosecutor and sitting governor who spent thousands of dollars paying young women to have sex with him. Give Sanford and Edwards some credit -- their sex was consensual. And I'm guessing Ensign's was too, before he went all stalker.

Posted by: Russ_Walker | July 11, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

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