Why Politicians Cheat: Reexamined

Liz Sidoti, along w/ Donna Cassata, Christine Simmons, and Nancy Benac (note the abundance of X chromosomes ) suggest an analysis of Why Politicians Cheat.

Apparently, for politicians:

It’s a different world — a public that feeds on the exploits of Paris, Lindsay and Britney documented in the tabloids, glossy magazines and at-your-fingertips Internet has developed an insatiable appetite for scandal.

That makes it all the more inexplicable that these men — and they are almost universally men, as politics remains mostly a man’s game — tempt fate. And, particularly, men with presidential aspirations.

So…it’s a man thing.

These are men who love themselves deeply, need to be recognized and relish approval. These are men who adore getting praise and who often are surrounded by swarms of sycophants. These are men who, in some cases, need to exercise power and sometimes can become drunk from it. These are men who think the rules don’t apply to them and who think they’re untouchable.

As leaders, these are also the type of men who are likely to break promises, manipulate and cut corners. They probably are big risk-takers. And they’re prone to thinking of themselves first.

Sorry, ladies; I don’t buy it. Women may not be as public as men, but we are equally competitive and conquest-driven. Many male friends complain of women who call when they’re hungry for an expensive meal, but are interested only in frigid "friendship."

I’ve never been one who believes that cross-gender friendship is impossible, but I do believe (emphatically!) that all relationships require basic quid pro quo. Just because women’s conquest orientation isn’t overtly sexual doesn’t mean we don’t thrive on attention, competition, and, indeed, infidelity. To women pointing to sex scandal statistics: Remember that emotional infidelity is as or more damaging to a relationship as sexual infidelity.

I’m not saying it’s ok. Obvi cheating is cheating. Someone who cheats in a marriage likely has few qualms with cheating on his or her constituency. Reading Sanford’s e-mails, it’s clear that whatever he needed had a lot to do with love, affection, energy, and attention. While I’m thrilled that Jenny is taking him to task for his behavior, the lesson to take away from the Sanford Affair has more to do with communication than with "how to deal w/ your lying man" (or insert any cliche country song title here).

At first glance Sanford’s emails to his paramour sound like he’s in love with her:

I have been specializing in staying focused on decisions and actions of the head for a long time now — and you have my heart. You have oh so many attributes that pulls it in this direction. Do you really comprehend how beautiful your smile is? Have you been told lately how warm your eyes are and how they softly glow with the special nature of your soul. I remember Jenny, or someone close to me, once commenting that while my mom was pleasant and warm it was sad she had never accomplished anything of significance. I replied that they were wrong because she had the ultimate of all gifts — and that was the ability to love unconditionally. The rarest of all commodities in this world is love. It is that thing that we all yearn for at some level — to be simply loved unconditionally for nothing more than who we are — not what we can get, give or become.

But read closer. He’s bored with his routine, tired of feeling unappreciated, probably restless in a marriage that has become — by his own actions — more about work and life than about the romantic first few months of a relationship. What better than an affair (and in the most romantic city on earth, Buenos Aires, no less!) to shake that up?

"Unconditional love"? Sorry, kiddo. I agree that love should be unconditional when it comes for your children. But to claim "unconditional love" for a stranger you met just a few days ago — to use the word "soul mates" to describe an exciting fling with "glorious" body and, no doubt, passion? With all due respect, this screams of "midlife crisis."

If you admire the feat — and it is indeed a feat — of unconditional love, that should come for your wife and family. Ladies, when your life falls entirely to work, go *take a trip to Buenos Aires*, or to La Perla, or otherwise address the doldrums that arise inevitably in every relationship.

To blame men for the fact that "politicians cheat" is simply acting as an apologist for testosterone, pointing a finger, and refusing to address the problem. It’s like a big, French shrug and a "nope" drawn like a curtain over the opportunity to communicate and move forward in a productive way. Please, women: Don’t sigh "boys will be boys" like a dejected adage, while claiming to cheer Jenny on for "reclaiming her independence" from a man who done her wrong.

Life happens. Communicate better. Address how insipid the quotidian becomes, even if it is the exciting "quotidian" becoming of a governor. Talk about how you wish he’d do that, and recall together why she used to do this. And, for god’s sake: When the s*** does hit the fan, don’t act like the clean-up is all about saving face, making a statement, or teaching anyone a lesson. It’s about communicating, picking up the pieces, and moving forward in a way that is better than before.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Why Politicians Cheat: Reexamined

  1. interesting material, where such topics do you find? I will often go

  2. Pingback: Redefining “Depreciation” « Unkategorized

  3. Pingback: The New Agenda » Blog Archive » Pop Culture and Feminism

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