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'Cheating' politicians: Yes or no?

Posted Thursday, August 14, 2008, at 11:44 AM

John Edwards' future in politics may be limited after his admission of cheating on his wife. The former presidential hopeful has likely lost a chance for a Cabinet position if Barack Obama is elected president.

Yet at other times it seems like those in other lines of work who cheat see few effects on their careers. Look at how many entertainers leave a long line of "victims" behind them.

So how much will the American public accept from a candidate? How far is too far?

Suppose a serious presidential contender has a live-in instead of a spouse. Is that acceptable to enough of the American public to be electable? Or not?

Should more attention be paid to previous divorces or scandals? Or should they be thought of as past history?

I suspect that a few politicians - those with what some would call a "magnetic" personality -- could overcome scandals. Example: Bill Clinton.

Does America want leaders who are representative of what I'll call an American ideal, in terms of clean living? Or does America just want someone who can handle the "at work" part of runnning the country, with no real concerns about their personal life?


Comments
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So what's the difference between one family's 17 year old daughter and any one else's, both of whom are in the public eye? Can't have it both ways, unless your Fox News.

-- Posted by nascarfanatic on Tue, Sep 9, 2008, at 7:54 AM

Jaime Lynn was also in the public eye. Her child, Brittany's kids and any public figures (insert name) CHILDREN should be left out of the public eye no matter what the parents are or are not doing.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Mon, Sep 8, 2008, at 11:13 PM

That goes for Presidential Candidates, V.P. Candidates and their families. Say what you want, but Fox News and others had NO problem slamming Jamie Lynn Spears (Britney's 17 year old sister) for getting pregnant while unwed. Even to the point they called her parents "Pinheads" for not being there for her, and focusing on their careers..

Sound familiar? Except this time, we're not supposed to say a word. PUH-LEASE!

Also, it's Britney Spears.. lol

-- Posted by nascarfanatic on Mon, Sep 8, 2008, at 10:17 PM

When you live in the public eye, either as a politician or celebrity you do not have much of a private personal life, i.e. Brittany Spears. I bet she wished all that's happened to her recently was kept private and I'm not even a fan of hers.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Mon, Sep 8, 2008, at 12:03 PM

What part of personal life seems to be escaping you all?

-- Posted by flat creek girl on Sun, Sep 7, 2008, at 8:53 PM

"People have become so "desensitized" to sin like adultery and fornication and using God's name in vain, and homosexuality because of the acceptance of it by the media that today's people as a whole can't decide what is right or wrong." michaelbell

Wow...good word, Michael. I couldn't agree with you more. This, to me, is just another confirmation that the Lord is getting ready to come back for His people. And true it has been going on for years, but then they just didn;t get caught. Also, it may have went on, but it is more common and accepting now. I can't understand why....it is still wrong!

-- Posted by honda14 on Sun, Aug 17, 2008, at 9:06 PM

Adultery has been going on since the beginning of time & I am a victim/survivor of this moral issue. My heart goes out to the Edward's family...politicians are human beings & they mess up too. I think the media's exposure is harsh & I can only hope that John Edwards would take this time to make amends to his family & repent.

-- Posted by XoXo_notes on Sat, Aug 16, 2008, at 11:01 AM

Trust is trust and everyone keeps trying to say that we were lied to about Iraq.

Why would you then vote for someone who is lying before they get to the White House?

-- Posted by nellie on Sat, Aug 16, 2008, at 9:17 AM

George Washington, on the eve of marrying Martha, confessed to Sally Fairfax, his best friend's wife, that he was really in love with her.

Thomas Jefferson also had his secrets. As a young man he attempted to seduce his neighbor's wife, whom he was supposed to be looking after while her husband was away. And, of course, he may have had an affair with black slave Sally Hemings, though the facts remain in dispute.

Andrew Jackson, unwittingly or not, married his wife Rachel while she was still legally married to her previous husband.

The list of those who concealed a history of sexual misbehavior includes both Democrats and Republicans, well-known Lotharios and strait-laced Presbyterians, among them: James Garfield, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson. All deliberately contrived to leave the false impression with the public that they were good family men who never strayed.

Wilson, for example, almost certainly cheated on his first wife Ellen Axson while on vacation in Bermuda. Teddy Roosevelt was advised by friends in 1916 to smear Wilson's reputation through an adroit lead to the press, but declined, on practical grounds. "You can't cast a man as a Romeo," he explained, "who looks and acts so much like an apothecary's clerk."

Harding's cheating was legendary. He reportedly had sex just outside his office in the White House with Nan Britton, a young woman who had idolized him since high school and who eventually had a child by him.

Kennedy, of course, had numerous affairs.

Of course Clinton lied about his affair also.

There have been numerous Presidents and Candiates who lie about their health:

The first president to commit this offense was Chester Arthur, who was diagnosed with Bright's disease, a fatal kidney disorder, during his first year in office.

Grover Cleveland,underwent a secret operation to cut out a small cancerous formation about the size of a quarter that had appeared on the roof of his mouth. Franklin Roosevelt, who ran for a fourth term without informing the public that he'd been diagnosed with a life-threatening case of hypertension.

Dwight Eisenhower, who hid the news that three years before he ran for president he'd suffered a heart attack so serious he was hospitalized for a month.

John Kennedy, who denied having Addison's disease, a debilitating disorder involving the adrenal glands.

Ronald Reagan, who came much closer to dying after he was shot by John Hinckley Jr. than the public at the time was told.

Nixon Lied about Watergate, Johnson lied about Vietnam.

In real Life Sometimes even the Good Guys Lie.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Aug 15, 2008, at 11:12 AM

If you will cheat on your wife, then you will lie to the American people. End of story.

-- Posted by MarcmissesTN on Fri, Aug 15, 2008, at 9:22 AM

amen darrick_04

-- Posted by greasemonkey on Fri, Aug 15, 2008, at 8:52 AM

Should we really begin the list of politicians and/or leaders who cheat, steal, lie and rob??? Wow, I think many would be surprised of just how long that list would be. I can think of almost 600 now... i.e. Congress, and the entire Executive Branch.

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Fri, Aug 15, 2008, at 12:38 AM

I heard Paul Harvey once tell a story about a little boy asking his dad... "Dad why are you loading our bull on that trailer?"

"I am taking him to another farm so he can serve some female cows son" said the father.

Paul Harvey says to always remember this story when a candidate says he will go to Washington to serve you!

-- Posted by seedsower on Thu, Aug 14, 2008, at 10:12 PM

Chef Boy R.D.

Amen

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Aug 14, 2008, at 9:11 PM

Who really cares? In years past, most politicians had a mistress, and the media paid no attention to it. Now it is needed to make headlines and sell more papers.

-- Posted by Chef Boy R.D. on Thu, Aug 14, 2008, at 9:06 PM

People have become so "desensitized" to sin like adultery and fornication and using God's name in vain, and homosexuality because of the acceptance of it by the media that today's people as a whole can't decide what is right or wrong.

-- Posted by michaelbell on Thu, Aug 14, 2008, at 4:59 PM

the marriage issue is bad enough on its own. in addition, this man has been cheating people all over this country as a trial lawyer for many, many years. he has made his fortune off being a cheat and a liar. he is scum of the earth in most everyone's eyes now and his history proves it.

-- Posted by DoubleJ on Thu, Aug 14, 2008, at 4:34 PM

John Edwards cheated on his wife while she was in remission from her first cancer bout. It is well known that cancer is a stress related disease. So following his cheating, voila! She comes down with cancer again and it is incurable, hmmm could he be the cause. Did she know he was cheating. I feel so sorry for this woman. During all that time she has backed his sorry ass in all his political meanderings and never once said, "Heck with that, I need to heal." Then he can't keep his darn pants zipped up. What the heck?

As far as Clinton goes, Mrs. Clinton was well aware of who and what she married. She is stronger than any woman I have encountered. No, it isn't right and if he were mine, I think I'd have him castrated, but Mrs. Clinton can handle him. In the case of Elizabeth I think the pain she felt is obvious since she is now dying with cancer. Poor kids...wonder who their new mommy will be...that crazy wacko with a camera? OMG, is there ever any justice? As far as cheating being illegal, I think we spend way to much time putting minor offenders in jail and less time getting people to care about others feelings. Minor offenders should be doing community service and cleaning the parks, scrubbing down hospitals floors, picking up litter and such. Major offenders like many of the public officials should be publicly humiliated for embezzling, showing our children that torture is an ok thing for Americans to participate in and lying like a rug about everything that comes out of their mouths. Come on people, Stand up and be counted, tell the country we want honesty, good jobs and good pay and for god's sake some benefits so we can see a dr. now and then. We've got to shake this country up. We care what goes on. Lets tell the people by the way we vote. Don't listen to promises, see what they are doing. How they treat their families. If they cheat on their families, they will cheat us cuz they don't love us!

-- Posted by leChat on Thu, Aug 14, 2008, at 2:18 PM

To clarify, when I was referring to "previous divorces," I was thinking of extreme cases involving public figures involved in adultery, not situations where a marriage just didn't work out.

-- Posted by David Melson on Thu, Aug 14, 2008, at 1:38 PM

Presidents, Congressmen/Congresswoman, Senators and even candidates are human.

It is not illegal to cheat on your spouse as far as I know. If it was we would have to build high rise jails. It is of course morally wrong, I do not believe it should be up to the American public to decide the fate of someone who has cheated on their spouse, that is personal and between the husband and wife. If the spouse that was cheated on can forgive, surely the American public can.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Aug 14, 2008, at 1:36 PM

Divorce can happen without adultery. While I believe it can be granted all to easily, if two people agree that it won't work and they have given it a hard try, then so be it.

BUT, if there are children, it brings on a whole different perspective.

Adultery is lying and cheating on your spouse. Throwing you vows and promises to the wind. To me, that speaks of character and I want a person in office who has strong character. If they do this to their spouse, why does one think think it will be different with their constituents?

The same goes for people who form adulterous relationships. Why would they think that either person will live up to their new vows if they would not keep their original?

That does not mean that people can not change, but I would want to see some evidence of that, not just words. We make mistakes, but show me things have changed before I vote you into office.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Aug 14, 2008, at 1:03 PM

I have found taht the majority of people no longer care to much about adultry or divorce. Its treated more as a scandal for entertainment purposes, than a reflection of their qualifications. I believe personally that its a statement of the persons character.

-- Posted by greasemonkey on Thu, Aug 14, 2008, at 12:24 PM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.