As you are aware, the National Enquirer reported that Ted Cruz supposedly had extramarital affairs with at least 5 women. Meanwhile, the Governor of Alabama is embroiled in his own sex scandal. He is accused of having an ongoing affair with his married Chief of Staff. His wife of 50 years filed for divorce even before the scandal became public.
I don’t know if either of these scandals is true or not. That is not the point of this article. The point of this article is to determine if a scandal like this should effect the outcome of an election. That is a valid question to ask.
The question is should these sex scandals really matter, especially at the polls? Some believe it is a matter of privacy if two consenting adults have a sexual relationship and that it isn’t the business of anyone else. However, you must also look at the difference between normal people having an extramarital affair and a politician having one.
Normal people involved in an affair do not make public policy. They don’t introduce laws that affect the lives of millions of people. Politicians do. Should that make a difference? Growing up I was taught that “actions speak louder than words”. That is a true principle to live by.
Back in the 1990s, then President Bill Clinton was “impeached” for the “crime” of lying about an affair he supposedly had with an intern. The Republican Party has been running on the “family values” platform for decades. So, should we analyze sex scandals that come up during elections?
Both of the current Republicans who have had sex scandal accusations come up are “family values” candidates. The Governor of Alabama ran on the very idea that he had been married for 50 years. He is also very anti-choice and very anti-LGBT.
Ted Cruz is just as bad on these issues. Cruz even believes that if the mother’s life is in danger, she still should not be allowed to have an abortion. Obviously, rape and incest are invalid reasons for Cruz as well.
Cruz is against gay couples adopting children. Even though all studies say otherwise, he claims that being raised in a gay household harms children. Well, Ted, what really harms children is infidelity of one or both of their parents.
Besides, don’t tell me that homosexuality is a “terrible sin” if you practice another form of “terrible sin” having extramarital affairs. If we use Cruz’ own words, we should discriminate against everyone who has had an affair and/or been divorced. But, that would mean a large number of Republican “family values” politicians would be thrown out of office.
I know that you will probably say that this problem goes to both sides of the aisle. That is true. The difference is that when Democrats are exposed, they lose their elections. Look at Hart and Weiner.
The Daily Beast points out that the GOP solidly “trumps” their Democratic rivals: Between the years of 1990 and 2010, the outlet found that Republicans were responsible for the majority of sex scandals. When it came to the particular fact of sexual hypocrisy, the conservatives overwhelmingly snowed their liberal competition—by a 2:1 margin.
This isn’t just limited to extramarital affairs. There have been conservatives who have voted against LGBT rights bills who were actually gay themselves. In 2006, Craig—the now-disgraced Idaho Senator—supported adding an amendment to the Constitution that would ban same sex-marriage.
After Boehning, a North Dakota politician, was outed by Dustin Smith last year following an online chat, he told reporters that the leak was a relief: “The 1,000-pound gorilla has been lifted.” Boehning further explained that his prior anti-gay legislative decisions (including voting against a 2015 gay rights bill) were in service of a cover-up. “This has been a challenge for me,” he told The Forum. “You don’t tell everyone you’re going to vote one way and then switch your vote another way—you don’t have any credibility that way.”
There is a thing called the Barney Frank Rule on the subject. The retired Congressman once explained to Bill Maher: “I think there’s a right to privacy. “But the right to privacy should not be a right to hypocrisy. People who want to demonize other people shouldn’t then be able to go home and close the door, and do it themselves.”
You will also hear arguments about past politicians and even Presidents who had extramarital affairs that never made it into print. It was considered unprofessional and not in the best interest of the country to report sex scandals in the press. That all changed with Bill Clinton’s “affair”. Once he became fodder for the press and the Republicans in Congress, sex scandals became a legitimate topic.
I don’t know if the Cruz story is true or not. I will give him some credit. At least he didn’t say “I did not have sex with any of these women.” Instead, he blamed Trump for “planting” the story with the National Enquirer. Other than that, he hasn’t said much about the story’s accuracy.
I asked if a sex scandal should be part of a political process. The answer is it doesn’t matter what I think. What does matter is that the Republican Party has made “family values” the center plank of their platform. As a result, we should question them about their own behavior that goes against their “family values” stance.
For that matter, any politician, regardless of party, should be held to the same standards. If you espouse the “protection” or “discrimination” against groups people and do not follow your own words in actions, you should not be elected to any office.
This is not so much a question of “morality”. It is a question of “integrity”. Once an individual loses integrity, that person becomes nothing. Especially in the political field. That is something the been lost on the electorate. The common belief among the electorate is that “all politicians lie”. If that is true, then we can only blame ourselves for allowing them to get a way with lying to us.
Although I must point out that saying what you think the people want to hear and outright lying are not necessarily the same thing. But, when your actions are contrary to your “stated principles” that is lying.
As for me, if you tell me you believe in “family values” and yet have affairs, you are a liar and do not deserve to hold office. Not because I care about your affair. But, because I believe you have no integrity. That will lose my vote every time. So, if the Cruz story is true, then he should eliminate himself from the competition. Because he would be exposed as a liar with no integrity.
At the very least, he should be questioned by reporters about the story. We need to hear him say that either he did or did not have these affairs. He should also be asked to explain why a Super PAC that supports him donated $500,000 to Carly Fiorina’s campaign last July. Why would a pro-Cruz PAC give money to the competition?
That is a legitimate question. Especially when you consider that media sources have suggested that the reason for the contribution may have been that Cruz was allegedly having an affair with a staffer on Fiorina’s failed presidential campaign. If he was having an affair with that person, that really doesn’t matter. But, if Cruz coordinated with his PAC to bribe Fiorina’s camp with the donation that really amounts to “hush money.” That isn’t just sleazy, it is a federal crime.
The only way for our democracy to work is to hold politicians accountable. Ignoring stories or saying that the “source” isn’t really legitimate, doesn’t help get to the truth. Questions need to be answered. Those answers are the only way we can decide the integrity of the candidate.
As you can see, it really does matter that “actions speak louder than words”.