Political Affairs are Not New
Let’s take a historical trip down memory lane and see how politics and infidelity have always gone hand in hand.
Anthony Weiner, John Edwards and several other political and entertainment notables may be the most recent of the American elite to be caught with their pants down, but those who run for office in the U.S. have a long and sordid history when it comes to fidelity and honesty. Zippergate is not a new phenomenon.
One of the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, fathered a number of children with his mistress/slave Sally Hemings. Another member of the clan of founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, admitted to paying a bribe to cover up an affair he was having with the wife of a convicted swindler.
In 1874 President Grover Cleveland began paying financial support to a woman he had an affair with although he wasn’t sure he was the father of the child – it seemed his female friend was actively involved with a number of men. Cleveland eventually had the woman committed to an asylum and the child to an orphanage – giving new meaning to the term “the power of the presidency.”
Other early presidents were also busily running the country’s affairs at the same time they were conducting their own extramarital affairs. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had an affair with Lucy Page Mercer, his wife’s social secretary – a not too well kept secret. And before he became president, General Dwight Eisenhower had an affair with Kate Summersby, his personal secretary and military aide during World War II.
In more recent history, rumors of John F. Kennedy’s supposed affairs with Marilyn Monroe and Judith Exner are still the stuff of tabloid fodder and speculation. Few doubt he had affairs with women other than his wife Jackie, as was also the case it is said for his brother Robert. Presidential candidate and Senator Gary Hart saw his political dreams come crashing down when he was photographed with a “friend” on a boat. And, of course, President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky almost ended his presidency.
LOCAL PERFIDY AS WELL
It isn’t just presidents or presidential candidates that have been free and easy. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was found to be openly cavorting with a Spanish television station’s anchorwoman, only to have both his girl friend and his wife leave him. Similarly, New York Governor David Patterson, who came to office when former Governor Eliot Spitzer himself was caught in a prostitution scandal, admitted to having had a number of affairs.
It seems, when it comes to politicians, history shows their run for office will often include a run for the bedroom as well.