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Can your political career survive a three wheeled scooter?

Hollande Va Va Voom Hollande Va Va Voom Times 11/01/2014


Can your political career survive a three wheeled scooter?

Politicians and their illicit sex-scandals are all the rage these days. Although French and Italian politicians might have been ‘spreading their love’ since the dawn of time, getting busted has never been so widely publicized or debated as today. Public outrage has typically been the reserve of Americans. With this months' IV theme of promises, or, in this case, broken promises, my question is: can a politician’s career survive highly publicized scandals? And as long as there are no illegalities involved, is it really any of our business who our politicians sleep with?

Honesty- the best policy?

Honesty is the best policy, they say. And it may even bring you some advantages. It seems like certain politicians make a name for themselves by provoking a scandal, and later run a campaign focused on redemption and second chances, because as we all know: there is nothing more believable than a regretting sinner. So maybe a little lie can get you far as a politician?

It's easier to relate to a man or woman admitting to their mistakes and promising to do better. In contrast, the smiling, groomed picture-perfect representative in the corner is harder to believe. “Why does he smile all the time? There's got to be something wrong with him. Better go for the sinner – at least we know what’s wrong with him.” A 2013 report from the Pew Research Institute highlights the fate of some of the unlucky few members of the U.S. House of Representatives who got caught with their hand under the wrong skirt or bank. The researchers found that about 26% resigned or retired while 25% ran for re-election and lost. This is where it gets interesting. Of those representatives involved in scandal, about half were reelected. Even when, according to the report, the scandal-stained incumbents saw their victory margin drop by about 12%.

But some political careers are unsalvageable. Like that of Anthony Wiener (sorry, correction: Weiner) who was caught sending pictures of his- how to say this without being edited - Weiner(!) to several women, while married. Twice. Weiner resigned from his position as congressman in 2011, as a direct result of the crisis famously named Weinergate. It was not until he returned to the limelight in 2013, running for mayor of New York City as a reformed sinner, that Wiener (again, so sorry: Weiner) once again got caught sexting pictures of his junk.

I beg your pardon; I never promised you a mistress-free rose garden

As the wise Lynn Anderson shares in her all-too-famous song from the 1970’s:
“Along with the sunshine there's gotta be a little rain sometime
When you take you gotta give so live and let live and let go oh oh oh oh
I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden”

Maybe we should accept that politicians are not perfect, and that they are human beings made of flesh, blood and desires like the rest of us. It can be tempting to put them on a pedestal, and believe that they should be better than us as, after all, they are ruling the country – but let’s remember that although they might have half-heartedly promised to love their spouse until death do them part (or in French President François Hollande's case: the foreseeable future), their capability to govern the country is not directly linked to their libido or sexual partners.

At least the French are consistent: Hollande’s popularity has increased since news of the affair got out. Because if there is anything the French do not approve of, it is how un-presidential Hollande looks riding his three wheeled scooter. Not his Hollywood affair.


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