The Atlantic‘s October issue is hot on the newsstands this week. Get past the cover story — the shame of scandal-torn college sports — and you have another kind of examination of shame. This story takes a deep, historical look at “Sex and the Married Politician.”
David Greenberg writes about the changing tide of political sex scandal coverage, pointing out that in the Gilded Age, tawdry stories about politicians were naturally off limits. Not so anymore. But ought we not return to that? Among the usual suspects in the story are ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), ex-Rep. David “He’s Grrrreat!” Wu (D-Ore.), ex-Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) and more.
But there are others, pols you’ve not necessarily heard of, who have done things that would easily eat up an entire Washington summer. An excerpt: “Estes Kefauver, a Democratic presidential candidate in 1956, was known to reporters as a notorious womanizer; once, as his campaign bus pulled into an Upper Midwest town, he blurted out ‘I gotta fuck!’ within earshot of Russell Baker of The New York Times. Baker did not report the comment, or the corresponding behavior.”
The phrases and words you’ll see sprinkled throughout the story are ones that generally come up in pieces like this: Titillating, sex flaps, salacious texts, hush money, sexual assault, love child, lewd pictures, delicious, bawdy and sex-saturated culture.