It’s not that Senator Bob Menendez and his Dominican Republic juvenile jamborees are a novel concept. Heavyweight politicos have been tripping over their own — um — feet since the first time some Cro-Magnon decided to drag the cute female with the two-syllable name back to his cave. But some of the more recent dalliances with “girls Friday” have crossed the line between scandalous and enormously entertaining.
Now, I can’t possibly cover all the lawmakers who have been caught with their proverbial pants around their ankles. I eliminated some because Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet when Thomas Jefferson slipped out the side door with Sally Hemings, others because we don’t have the bandwidth for the Kennedys. I left out still others because they’re just sad (Gary Condit and Chandra Levy), because I did a joke about them recently (Mark Sanford, hiking the Appalachian Trail) or because their sex scandal represented a small part of a much larger personal disgrace (former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick). So this list may be miles from comprehensive, but it is right next door to fun.
Senator Gary Hart (D-Colo.)
Senator Gary Hart actually dared reporters to catch him stepping out during the 1988 Democratic campaign for the Presidential nomination. The girl was named Donna Rice. The boat was named Monkey Business. And the nominee was named Michael Dukakis. You can’t make this stuff up.
Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.)
In 1989, Representative Barney Frank’s live-in lover, Steve Gobie, was caught using “Bawney’s” digs as a brothel. Hey, we all have a few past paramours whose behavior left us regretting the association. But none of my exes ran a prostitution racket — from my living room. Feel free to insert your own “employer discount” gag here.
Senator Bob Packwood (R-Ore.)
One would think Senator Bob Packwood, who met his legislative end in the middle of President Bill Clinton’s unprecedented womanizing, need only have kept a low profile in order to keep his seat. And by “low profile,” I most certainly do not mean “bragged about his sexual conquests in his diary.” On a related note: What 63 year-old keeps a diary?
Representatives Mark Foley (R-Fla.) And Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.)
Representative Mark Foley sent sexually explicit text messages to underage Congressional pages. Foley was then replaced by Representative Tim Mahoney. Mahoney hired his mistress, fired his mistress and lost a re-election bid in a year when President Barack Obama’s coattails were longer than a union thug’s rap sheet.
Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho)
I fly through the Minneapolis airport fairly often. I’m still a little nervous about hitting the head while waiting for my connecting flight. Gee thanks, Senator.
Senator John Edwards (D-N.C.)
Even with the corporate media trying to bury the story next to the corpse of King Richard III, Senator John Edwards’ affair — and child — with paramour Rielle Hunter crawled out. The fact that Edwards tried to pay off staffers and lied like a trial lawyer to hide his infidelities was almost as embarrassing as the fact that he did it all while his wife was dying of cancer. What do you get when you cross an ambulance-chaser with a politician? John Edwards.
Governor Eliot Spitzer (D-N.Y.)
How do you know your personal failings have hit the big-time? “South Park” mocks you. New York Governor Eliot Spitzer shall forever be known by his petit nom d’amour: “Client 9.” The best part: Spitzer was replaced by his Lieutenant Governor, David Patterson, who made Spitzer look like a Cistercian nun.
Representative Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.)
This is the Congressman from New York’s 9th district. And this is the Congressman from New York’s 9th district on Twitter. Any questions?
President Bill Clinton
There’s no way I could file this piece without noting the most famous philanderer since Casanova, if not in all of human history. Clinton remains a “perv” to this day; check out the photo of Bubba giving Kelly Clarkson the twice-over at Obama’s inaugural. Sure, he followed a promising career as an alleged gubernatorial rapist by throwing himself at any White House intern with a blue dress and a weight problem; but Clinton did leave us with some parting gifts: He forced double-talking Republicans like Newt Gingrich to choke on their feigned morality, and his eight-year-long Presidential frat party relegated Al Gore to a career of chasing ManBearPig and “allegedly” pawing massage therapists.
Did I leave some out? Of course I did. The complete list of politicians who let their “little Senators” do their thinking would be as long as the Encyclopedia Britannica, albeit with unsettling photographs.
Join Ben Tuesday night, Feb. 12, beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern time as he liveblogs the State of the Union address. You can comment along with Ben or take your verbal shots at him as he employs his unique humor to make sense of the festivities.