Wednesday, June 23, 2004


Sex, Lies, and Divorce Papers

Living in Illinois, I find this particularly interesting, but I also think that this has a greater ramification. Illinois Senate candidate Jack Ryan (R) is reeling from the sex scandal set off by the release of his sealed divorce papers.

To begin with, I am inclined to say that this is nobody's business but his own. I had the same opinion when the Republicans were hunting Clinton for his indiscretions with Lewinsky. Things like this make no difference in every day life and simply serve as a political tool for the opponent. Is it a little twisted? Maybe, but it's his business.

One thing this situation does is that it points out a few differences between the parties. Take for instance the Republican reaction to the Clinton affair: feigned outrage, months of media coverage, Ken Starr's investigation, and impeachment. Now contrast that with Ryan's opponent, Barack Obama's reaction: "I don't think it's appropriate for me to comment on that. Those are issues of personal morality. The issues I'm focused on are public morality." Slightly different approach, wouldn't you say?

I would also like to point out that the Republican party is supposed to be the party of "family values." They also claim to be the party of moral decency, higher integrity, and, if you ask our President, God's personal choice. Apparently God looks the other way when it comes to certain Republicans like Packwood, Gingrich, Limbaugh, et al. (Maybe God even looks the other way when it comes to ignoring the Pope's advice and killing innocent Iraqi civilians too.) But what I find the most interesting is that you don't hear the Democrats whining and haranguing about the sex scandals like the Republicans do. I think it's called taking the high road.

Everyone has skeletons in their closet. If you don't want them exposed, I would advise you to stay out of the public eye. Or, at the very least, be honest and up front about it. When he began his bid for the Senate Ryan was asked by GOP officials if there was anything embarassing in his past and he replied that he "didn't think so." Did he really think that this would remain hidden? Based on recent political history that would be naive.

As I said, I find this to be an interesting dilema. What will the GOP do to spin this into a Democratic attack?

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