Fire in the Loins!
Newcastle — Lockheed Martin’s incoming CEO Christopher Kubasik resigned this week due to a “close personal relationship with a subordinate employee.” On the very same day, the highly reputed General David Petraeus, current CIA chief, tendered his resignation to President Obama citing an extramarital affair. These are the latest of the alpha males in high positions to fall due to an excess of hubris and testosterone. Politicians seem particularly prone, perhaps because of the close scrutiny paid by the media.
Some digressions are more serious than others. John Edwards comes to mind for a particularly insensitive dalliance. He was an able and popular senator and even positioned to ascend to that highest office held by such exemplary models of rectitude as WGH, FDR, JFK, WJC, and likely a number of other incumbents lucky enough not to be exposed.
Remember Monkey Business? That was the name of the yacht where Gary Hart had his little extramarital fling with Donna. Down went his chances for the democratic nomination in 1988.
Good old Eliot Spitzer. I like this man. I thought he was a courageous Attorney General for the scandal-ridden government of New York. As governor, when in 2007 his approval rating fell from 44% to 33% in the space of a single month, I felt certain he was doing something right. Then in March 2008 somebody dug up that he was paying for sex. Oh horror of horrors!…another resignation.
The list of political sex perpetrators achieving disgrace is extremely long. Some of the better known names: Newt Gingrich, Bob Barr, Robert Packwood, Charles Robb, Anthony Weiner (I always thought “Weener” would be a more appropriate spelling) etc. Herman Cain; he had a shot at the republican nomination for president in 2012, but he can’t keep his hands off anyone. Too bad, he’s a capable man.
There must be something lacking in my character because I can’t find much fault with men who fool around, provided that the affairs are adult and consensual, and, of course, some are not. There’s a lot of pressure on high profile individuals. Why not let them have a little fun, as long as they are performing their regular job with diligence and a measure of competence? Spitzer’s case is especially vexing. Blame his wife.
The reproving, moralistic BS that is flung at these scurrilous individuals annoys me. What do you expect? All men suffer servitude to the lion lurking behind the zipper, and especially the alphas. Sex drives the world. Doubt it not.
Not everyone suffers for their indiscretion. Worthy of special note is the redoubtable Wilbur Mills of Fanne Foxe fame. He was re-elected after the tidal basin episode. OK, there is something to be said for name recognition and what better way to be remembered than by having a salacious affair? John Profumo comes to mind; but he was a Brit and they march to a different drummer than do the scoundrels of the colonies.
Some of you may recall that I have established the Wilbur Mills Award to be given annually for the most bone-headed, irresponsible sexual indiscretion by a politician. I gave the award to Wilbur himself when he had to resign after giving an intoxicated press conference from Foxe's burlesque house dressing room. What was he thinking?
Why does it seem that only male politicians get involved in these lecherous liaisons? Admittedly we are the more reprehensible gender, and the more reckless, as evidenced by our passion for violence and war. Perhaps with ever more female incumbents we can expect a slight swing of the pendulum, but I doubt it.
I wrote above that many of the fallen are diligent and capable, but they can also be amazingly stupid. The indiscriminate use of electronic social media is incomprehensible to me. There’s not a shred of privacy there; might as well use a bullhorn. It’s pathetic.