The recent claims of executive privilege by the Bush/Cheney Regime — struggling as it is to cover acts of treason — have many folks pining for simpler times when presidents invoked such fictional “rights” to mask crimes like burglary and adultery.
Richard Nixon claimed executive privilege in a futile effort to cover crimes committed before, during and after the Watergate break-ins, and other more serious acts. Bill Clinton did not make such a claim when caught with his pants down and in a little white lie told under oath, one that resulted in his impeachment. Perhaps he could have avoided that stain on the Clinton Presidency (though not the one on his lover’s dress) if that unique claim to privacy had been put to better use.
You see in many past administrations the claim of executive privilege appears to have included the right to commit adultery — which is the object of our brief examination of Sex and the Presidency…
Many presidents from George Washington to George Bush the First have been said to have had secret liaisons with women who were not their wives. Thomas Jefferson is a good example.
Jefferson had an “affair” with another woman: What is more, this sexual “relationship” was with a slave — one that “belonged” to him. Besides the issue of adultery, such a tryst must be viewed as rape since the object of jefferson’s lust had absolutely no rights and was in no position to give her consent to such a relationship.
Yet Thomas Jefferson is still considered one of the greatest presidents in history. It matters not that he forced Native Americans off their lands, “owned” slaves, and did not believe women were intelligent enough to vote. All that matters in our history books are the “contributions” he made to the “building of this nation.”
Jefferson was also the first president to claim “executive privilege,” a term that has acquired a number of different meanings in the life of the republic. In addition to an extraordinary range of “rights” invented by presidents , it appears to also include unique sexual rights. Yet it does not appear that Jefferson invoked this privilege to conceal his extra-marital affairs since white and upper class supremacy was a given.
Probably one of the most beloved Commander-In-Chiefs in history was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a man who led the U. S. and its allies in World War II, crafted the New Deal, and is credited with lifting the U. S. out of the Great Depression. Yet it was FDR who ordered mass deportations of Latinos in the Southwest when the economy floundered, and it was FDR who issued a directive that, during the Second World War, resulted in the arrest of every Japanese-American on the West Coast, all of whom were forced to languish in concentration camps until the war was over.
But let’s get back to sex since that seems to attract far more interest than history. Roosevelt was terribly disabled by polio, required leg braces to walk, and spent a good deal of time in a wheelchair. But it has been said that living in The White House inspires men to greatness, including greatness of carnal desire. His physical handicap was no obstacle to having at least one mistress, though his extra-marital affair was never reported by the press.
Franklin D. Roosevelt is considered by many as one of the most dynamic, strong and ablest presidents ever to sit in the Oval Office. Has the revelation of his affair tarnished Roosevelt’s reputation? On the contrary, it apparently put a polish on it.
But FDR does not stand alone as an able and competent administrator: The history of the presidency is one replete with such men. Yet only one president was impeached for adultery — or lying about it. And that of course was William the Fornicator.
Unlike his predecessors, Clinton’s sexual escapades were not kept private by the press, much less political opponents. Republicans pursued Clinton with a vengeance one would expect from a Congress investigating the crimes of a power hungry regime rather than a man who told a lie to conceal an act of fellatio. And the press covered the whole affair with the same lack of journalistic objectivity and appeal to prurient subjects as Jerry Springer.
There were few details about Clinton’s extra-marital affairs that were not uncovered by the press. For instance, during the impeachment process, the media reported that Paula Jones could describe distinct characteristics about the president’s genitals. However that particular revelation did not make headlines: afterall, anyone paying attention to Clinton’s “Third Way” approach to politics knew that Bill had no balls.
Yet when the media unveiled the lascivious details of Monica Lewinsky’s sexual relationship with Clinton, even stuffy old newspapers like the New York Times read like The Berkeley Barb. Every salacious detail was reported in far greater detail than the growing power of corporate lobbists, the military industrial complex,or any other story. And that’s saying a mouthful.
One must ask: Why did the media report intimate details of a president’s sex life with greater vigor than history and world news? What changed?
What has changed is this: In the past, the press overlooked such activities and even had a little fun at presidential parties. Yet now, in the era of tabloid journalism, sex scandals are far more important than world events because the media is owned and controlled outright by big corporations. Though they also have obvious political motives, these media corporations are much more motivated by an unsatiable craving for profits — an obsession that drives them into a supra-sexual frenzy. And every company and corporation knows sex is a sure sell.
While journalists used to bash the paparazzi for chasing celebrities, they now routinely report about the personal lives of world leaders (Lady Gaga and Johnny Depp, for instance). And these correspondents still see the value of murder and mayham — especially to their corporate sponsors. It can honestly be said that out of pure professional ethics they still grant equal time to such affairs as mass murders, though they tend to focus on local examples and avoid wars fought for natural resources and territory. Yet still it must be said that journalists like Wolf Blitzer and Tucker Carlson are increasingly drawn to sexual scandal and smut, one reason they are two of the most successful reporters on television today.
As far as the presidency goes, this endless hunt for sexual gossip is a strange development, indeed. Yet historically Americans have preferred to have an adulterer in the White House. It has been practically a qualification for office.
During the Cold War, members of the press obviously believed that any man over forty who could “satisfy” two or more women at the same time — especially if those women were young and attractive — could certainly stand up to the Russians. It was no accident that at the very height of the Cold War, when the United States and Russia narrowly averted a nuclear holocaust, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was president, his tireless work as an inspired fornicator unsurpassed in the history of the nation.
Everyone knows that John F. Kennedy was Bill Clinton’s hero , his political and ideological inspiration. Putting politics aside, one must admit: Clinton successfully emulated his role model.
Other earlier adulterers fell far short of Kennedy’s prodigious achievements. Warren G. Harding, whose term was plagued by financial scandal, was also said to have been a “ladies man,” though there was little objection to such affairs. During World War II, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, he also had a supremely satisfying affair with his secretary. He was later elected president by a landslide.
Then there was Lyndon Baines Johnson, the heavy-handed old-style backroom Dixiecrat from Texas. Generally credited for declaring the “War on Poverty” and the War in Vietnam (though Kennedy had already sent troops there) LBJ has been referred to as a “giant” of a man, a description only his late wife Lady Bird (and dozens of other younger women) could verify. Lady Bird Johnson, his widow, was asked about her husband’s reputation for womanizing. Lady Bird said, “Well, Lyndon LOVED the human race …and half of the human race are women .”
Granted, there WERE Commander-In-Chiefs who appear to have been loyal to their wives.
Though Jimmy Carter admitted to having “lusted in his heart,” there was never any suggestion that he committed adultery.
He was not re-elected.
And what about Ronald Reagan? There are no allegations that Reagan had secret sexual liaisons with any woman but Nancy. Still it seems likely that, despite his age, the Oval Office cast the same spell on Reagan as it did to so many others before him.
To this day, the faithful spouse Reagan remains a cult figure, an icon of the right with a virtual army of devotees. Yet Reagan led the attack on working people and their unions while granting huge tax breaks to big corporations. He funded a collection of known drug smugglers and other criminals as they attempted to overthrow the Sandinistas, then lied about his policy to the world. Reagan openly supported dictators in El Salvador, Guatemala, and South Africa, sending them military and economic aide that propped up their regimes for years. (For that matter, it was the Reaganites who helped arm Saddam Hussein.) And the “Great Communicator” did all this while tripling the national debt in the United States, spending trillions of dollars to do what the right wing loves him for most: He brought Russia to its knees.
All this demonstrates the difference between the Republiklan and the Demographic Parties — the only difference. One has an ideology, a “Fatherland” nationalism that views the republic as under siege from immigrants, unions, African Americans, welfare mothers, liberals, and a host of other devils. As a consequence, it has loyal party members who would fall on their swords before betraying their leaders.
The Demographic Party, on the other hand, is little more than a dim-witted twin of the GOP, lacking a clear identity, occupied by an effort to appear to be equal to its older brother yet somehow “different.” It does not build loyalty based on ideology or principles. On the contrary, it simply appeals to people who distrust the Republiklan. If there is one issue on which they will not budge it is abortion.
The most vocal supporters of the Demographic Party are celebrities who attend extravagant fundraising events where they hobnob with politicians. The closest they would come to risking their life and reputation for a Democrat is snorting a little spoonful of cocaine.
George Bush I, an aristocrat with a speech impediment, was also said to have had a girlfriend while president. As the one-time head of the CIA, it would have been easy for Bush to arrange a secret sexual liaison. Yet Bush had a view of history and dedicated himself to establishing “A New World Order.” He obviously concurred with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who once said power is a greater turn-on than sex.
If that is the case, George W. Bush undoubtably experienced one of the most profound sexual experiences of any president in history when he unleashed one of the most brutal and relentless assaults in history — an orgasm of cruise missiles, “smart” bombs, off-shore shelling, artillery barrages and Stealth bomber attacks that literally leveled the nation of Iraq. That act — combined with the undeniable fact that the Bush/Cheney regime has screwed every man and every woman living in Iraq and the United States — makes George W. Bush the Greatest Deviant to ever occupy the White House.