The cheating game in the world of politics has evolved in recent years thanks to the internet, 24-hour news stations and our changing values as a society. Just like “The Dating Game” turned into “Blind Date” and “8 is Enough&
The cheating game in the world of politics has evolved in recent years thanks to the internet, 24-hour news stations and our changing values as a society. Just like “The Dating Game” turned into “Blind Date” and “8 is Enough” turned into “John and Kate plus 8,” we want more and more details of the personal and sexual affairs of high-ranking politicians. South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s teary-eyed apology after disappearing for almost a week and cheating on his wife was made all the more exciting and titillating since emails between him and his paramour surfaced just days before his major speech. At one point, all you needed was a photo (a – la Gary Hart) to get yourself in trouble; nowadays we’re not happy unless every element of the affair is pored over. Of course, this also depends on the race and status of the political leader.
This is not news to anyone, minority politicians are not going to be treated the same as white politicians by the press, or even criminal investigators. You can see this with most of the press’s coverage of the Mark Sanford scandal, compared to that of the recent sex scandal involving former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. The men were both basically brought down by the power of email as the major newspapers of each man’s state got ahold of text messages and put them out publicly to ensure that they never rose again. If you really think about it, it was Mark Sanford’s slavering over the ‘exotic way’ that his Argentinean mistress holds her hands on her hips and "luscious kisses” that really put this scandal over the top. In the same way, Kilpatrick was in some trouble, but it was really the existence of text messages between him and Christine Beatty that led to his whole political unraveling. As we saw with Clinton, often the cover-up ends up being worse politically than the crime.
Of course the political comparisons between Kilpatrick and Sanford don’t just begin and end with their texting/email sex. Both men were considered (at least initially) to be rapidly on their way up the political ladder. Kilpatrick’s first term was lauded as a brand new direction for the city of Detroit, and he was considered a good prospect to become governor of Michigan if he waited his turn and ran the city properly. Mark Sanford was considered to be a front-runner for the Republican nomination for president in 2012 with his southern connections and leadership of the Republican Governor’s committee. Both men were also known for arguing vociferously with their respective legislative bodies.
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