Sleazy politicians are nothing new and stupidity has no party affiliation.
From the infamous dalliances of Alexander Hamilton with Maria Reynolds, to John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton, and now to the seemingly ceaseless string of headlines we see about sexual misdeeds and judgment lapses from members of both major parties, we know the moral high ground is often the size of an anthill.
But no matter the perpetrator or party, if what happens under the covers doesn’t stay under the covers, the consequences range from a shattered reputation to a career checkmate.
The latest to tip his king is now-former Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel.
He resigned after a POLITICO Florida report cited six unnamed women who said Bittel made sexually suggestive remarks, created a hostile work environment, and was, in the words of one woman, “creepy.”
The career of Republican Senator Jack Latvala is in serious jeopardy following accusations of sexual misconduct, and we know what’s going on in Alabama with the U.S. Senate campaign of Republican conservative firebrand Roy Moore.
There is a trend here – powerful men accused of saying and doing things they shouldn’t because they forgot The Old Boys Club today is equipped with cameras, recorders and lots of ways to get the story out.
It doesn’t have to be sexual deviance, either. Republican Frank Artiles can testify to that. He had to resign his seat in the Florida Senate earlier this year after making racially divisive remarks over drinks at the exclusive Governor’s Club.
It’s a standard for political campaigns to produce feel-good ads with their spouse and adorable kids. It’s supposed to make the voter feel like they could meet up with the candidate for a picnic lunch right after Sunday School.
Nice image. The truth is neither major party can claim a copyright on purity. There are scoundrels on both sides of the aisle. Regardless of political stripe, power can bring the illusion of immunity from consequences.
And man, have there been a lot of consequences lately. If someone believes they can get away with something because they have a fancy title, they are delusional — President Donald Trump being a notable exception.
Avoiding that shouldn’t be all that tricky though. Just remember the words of Aretha Franklin, who famously sang about R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Find out what it means, then put it into full-time practice with everyone.
Do that, and you’ll be fine.