• SumoMe

Potential presidential candidate Herman Cain announces he is suspending his campaign. Photo: GETTY IMAGES.

The expression “as American as apple pie” needs an update in modern American politics, particularly during this election season. Has adultery become the new apple pie?

Given recent developments, I’m sure most people are familiar with Herman Cain suspending his campaign due to the numerous allegations of infidelity and sexual harassment.

What I find most troubling/interesting is how politicians handle these situations. For instance:

“I am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distractions and the continued hurt caused on me and my family,” Cain said in his suspension speech.

See what he did there? In politician fashion he shifted the focus away from his own actions and onto the actions of those who propagate the “continued distractions,” which is quite clearly (given the context) the women who were brave enough to come into the public and make their abuse known. According to politico, when he was asked “Have you ever been accused, sir, in your life of harassment by a woman?” He breathed audibly, glared at the reporter and stayed silent for several seconds. After the question was repeated three times, he responded by asking the reporter, “Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?”

Good recovery, there. Takes one to know one, reporter scum.

Cain’s not the only one mixed up in this inability to maintain a relationship. Newt Gingrich also has a hypocritical history of cheating on his wives. As Talking Points Memo succinctly put it:

Let’s remember, Newt famously dumped wife #1 for wife #2 while wife #1 was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery. As in literally went to the hospital to present her with divorce papers while she was recovering from surgery for uterine cancer.

He eventually dumped wife #2 for wife #3 shortly after wife #2 was diagnosed with MS back in 1999. And he was having the affair on wife #2 with wife #3 while he was turning the country upside down trying to drive Bill Clinton from office over his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

It’s good to know that when Gingrich runs into a difficult situation he sticks with it to find a solution. However, he only cheated because he loves America:

“There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate,” Gingrich said in regards to his admitted affairs.

So because you work hard and are passionate about America, “things happened that were not appropriate?” Sounds convincing. I know that sometimes I work really hard at something, school for instance, and all of a sudden I realize oops! I just cheated on my significant other. In what world is this an acceptable answer?

All this nonsense has even led Rick Santorum to pledge to not cheat on his wife. In what kind of world would someone find this necessary? I’m pretty sure you pledge to not cheat on your wife when you get married–that’s the whole point. Coming out and saying it again, while it doesn’t hurt him, reflects poorly on the state of the political culture. You would think that by virtue of marriage alone, these men would understand to have already pledged to not cheat on their wives, but apparently we need to hear it again… just to be sure.

In what world does all this happen? Ours. Allegations of infidelity occur all over politics, in both sides of the aisle. In fact, this happens so much so that the allegations and admissions stopped shocking me. I’ve come to expect scandals of infidelity now. What I haven’t come to expect is the bizarre ways politicians try to escape. Whether it’s “takes one to know one” or “I just love America too much,” the excuses never cease to amaze me.

And what does this say about the state of American men? Are the best and brightest that we have to offer, the candidates for the most important job in America, often unable to maintain a relationship with those closest to them? Certainly this is naive, as the best and brightest are often not in a seat of power of economic influence–both are necessary to run for the presidency. Nevertheless, it depresses me that I’ve become cynical enough to expect that political vetting will result in histories of sexual abuse or infidelity in so many men.

What do you think? Is fidelity even a relevant criteria when evaluating presidential candidates? Are you surprised when you hear of another male candidate’s adulterous past? Speak your mind in the comments below.