Sunday, April 29, 2007

Ah, sex scandals...

I hate Washington sex scandals. Sure, I find them entertaining but, no matter what political party the scandalee is a member of, I do hate publically judging people by how they find a way to get off. The current scandalee is Richard Tobias who is a high-ranking official at the State Department or... was. There's a nice hypocrisy angle here because Tobias is on record as a supporter of Bush's "abstinence only," approach to sex education. He got in trouble because he was a client of an escort service run by a Washington D.C. madame who is being prosecuted for running a prostitution ring. Tobias says he never had sex, only massages. Sadly, he referred to ordering massage girls as being akin to ordering a pizza.

Still, even though this one gets the other side and even though the pizza comment is horribly demeaning towards women... I hate sex scandals. Hate, hate, hate, them. This is just not important to me. I care about policy. Yes, the Republican ox just got gored. But, the Madam has a long list. I'll bet it's bipartisan. And, though the Republican "famility values" platform makes them the most likely hypocrisy targets, every national political from both sides has made statements against promiscuity and lascivious yearnings. Our culture is just so repressed that only people who at least speak out against having fun can get elected or appointed to national office.

Any beef I have with Tobias has to do with the policies he's helped enable, not with who he has over at his hotel room to give him a massage. Though, a gentleman opens doors, pulls her chair out for her, walks on the traffic-side of the road and does not, under any circumstance, compare a lady to pizza. He's a cad. That amuses me. I like to laugh at cads.

But, politically? I'll take a qualified, intelligent government official who enacts and enables good policy but also gets massages from hookers over a prude moron any day.

I just don't care about who they sleep with.


At 8:18 PM , Blogger Jon E. said...

I think the primary thing I take away from this is that I am never, ever sitting down to share a pizza with Richard Tobias.

Mostly I agree with what you say, Mike. Government sex scandals are usually cynical diversions or dirty attacks. At best they're mildly irrelevant wastes of time.

Still, I do think that public officials who support--especially those who help design and implement--counterproductive and silly policies should be judged by the same dumb standards that they want to impose on the rest of us. Same goes for people intent on keeping prostitution illegal (and dangerous) who nonetheless pay for hookers.

I think if people are going to go around pretending that we can all live happily in super-smiley Ward-and-June heteronormativity then they should be held up for public ridicule every time their own desires and conduct prove how untrue that is. Especially if those people are not just claiming it but legally coercing us into doing it.

Sounds like Tobias isn't a good case of that--his job doesn't seem to have much to do with that kind of sanctimony or coercion, so you're probably right that this scandal is kinda lame.


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