It’s high time to leave the sex out of politics

Prof C Explains
4 min readAug 12, 2008

by J Scott Christianson, Columbia Daily Tribune Columnist

John Edwards’ public confession of an adulterous affair in 2006 — an affair that he apparently disclosed to his wife shortly thereafter — has been front-page material since the story broke late last week. We already know much more than we need to, thanks to hundreds of articles and reports, many of which are accompanied by intersecting timelines of Edwards’ affair, his presidential campaign and Elizabeth Edwards’ cancer diagnosis. Given this revelation, many former Edwards supporters are expressing their disappointment with the former presidential candidate.

“I’m disappointed and angry,” said Edwards’ former campaign manager David Bonior.

I supported Edwards during the Democratic primary. Do I regret supporting him in the primary? No, because I wasn’t supporting him because of his sexual fidelity. I supported him because of his economic plan and policies to help working Americans who are — if it is not too callous to use a sexual metaphor here — getting screwed by the forces of globalism and unfair trade practices.

Basing your vote on a candidate’s sex life is a dicey proposition in any election. Not only because it’s hard to have knowledge about such things, but more important because it doesn’t seem to be a good indicator of a person’s performance as a public official. Many people voted for Bush in 2000 because of his pledge to “restore honor and dignity to the White House” after Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. So far, the Bush administration has been a grand success in this regard. Not even one hint of sexual indiscretion. Of course, the war in Iraq has lasted longer than World War II, we have the largest trade-deficit of all time, a budget surplus that was turned into the largest budget deficit of all time, a devalued currency, high unemployment, a housing and financial market meltdown and subsequent bailout, stagnant wages and record gas prices. You might lose your house, but at least you can be comforted in knowing that the prez is not fooling around with the interns.

While John McCain’s camp has remained silent on the Edwards affair — no doubt due to McCain’s own extramarital affair that led him to divorce his first wife rather than any magnanimity on the behalf of his campaign strategists — the news media are already testing to see how far they can go in linking Edwards’ scandal to the presidential race. David Gregory floated the…

Prof C Explains

J Scott Christianson: UM Teaching Prof, Technologist & Entrepreneur. Connect with me here: