The traditional media may be interested almost exclusively in the sex lives of Democratic politicians, but on the hypocrisy index, it is hard to score higher than Republicans pontificating about saving the institution of marriage while so many of their leaders are serial and long-time adulterers:
1. President George H.W. Bush allegedly had an LTR with British-born Jennifer Fitzgerald that lasted at least two decades, all while married to Bar, who said, “He didn’t even notice when I stopped coloring my hair.”
2. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, famously married to Maria Shriver since 1986, is allegedly a purveyor of prostitutes, the father of at least one child out of wedlock and a serial groper of women in workplace situations.
3. Sen. John McCain, 2008 Republican presidential frontrunner, and admitted adulterer and alleged philanderer. [Update July 2008: McCain’s Extramarital Affair with Cindy Ended His Friendship with Reagans in the 1970s]
4. Rudolph Giuliani, former mayor of New York City and another GOP 2008 presidential contender, betrayed his second wife, TV presenter Donna Hanover, with his “very good friend” Judith Nathan, whom he has since married. Hanover also publicly accused Rudy of having an affair with a staffer, Cristyne Lategano-Nicholas.
5. Rush Limbaugh, comedian, (a.k.a. “Rusty Sharpe”) dated Marta Fitzgerald while she was married to someone else. Marta later became his third wife. (He and CNN’s Daryn Kagin recently stopped dating.)
7. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, is probably the most audacious serial adulterer in any political party.
8. Former Rep. Bob Barr’s notoriety as an adulterer was one of many ironies around the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) which he wrote, and which was passed with the leadership of fellow adulterers Sen. Majority Leader Bob Dole and House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
9. Rep. Henry Hyde, who served as chairman of House Mangers in the adultery-related impeachment of President Clinton, was a home-wrecker himself. Hyde had an affair when he was a young and foolish man of 41 while he and his girlfriend were both very much married. Her husband later said Hyde broke up his family.
10. Gary Bauer, professional moralizing Christian nationalist, experienced a mutiny when he was running for president when actual Christians on the staff of his 2000 presidential campaign quit in protest over Bauer’s “inappropriate” behavior with a 26-year-old deputy campaign manager. Euww.
11. (Updated) Had to add this one sent in by reader S.O. that probably should have bumped poor old Henry Hyde on the list: Neal Horsley, and rightwing religious nut, freely admitted to a kinky sex life, including this outrageous exchange on Fox’s Hannity & Colmes:
AC: “You had sex with animals?”
NH: “Absolutely. I was a fool. When you grow up on a farm in Georgia, your first girlfriend is a mule.”
AC: “I’m not so sure that that is so.”
NH: “You didn’t grow up on a farm in Georgia, did you?”
AC: “Are you suggesting that everybody who grows up on a farm in Georgia has a mule as a girlfriend?”
NH: It has historically been the case. You people are so far removed from the reality… Welcome to domestic life on the farm…”
UPDATE: Thanks for all the emails. Our list attempts to identify the top 10 adulterers so there were several top contenders that didn’t make it:
- Rep. Bob Livingston, the man who would have been House Speaker after Newt if Larry Flynt hadn’t uncovered some very kinky dirt on Livingtston. He was a top contender but since he never really served as Speaker, was bumped for Bauer.
- It is true that Nancy Reagan was pregnant when she married Ronnie, but neither of them was married to anyone else at the time. By Republican standards of “abstinence only,” Nancy clearly did not say “no.”
- We covered the rumors of troubles in the marriage of the president and Laura Bush but the evidence of this is spotty.
- A definite top 10 contender is the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund, a sanctimonius Clinton-hater, who, as reader TL reminds us, “[Apparently] had a fling with the DAUGHTER of someone he was having an affair with and then arranged for (or at least condoned) the abortion of their child.”
- Back-bencher Rep. Don Sherwood of Pennsylvania, whose adultery with a younger woman was revealed after he tried to strangle her, didn’t make the cut, but someone please tell us he won’t be re-elected. (And thanks, M.H. and others, for the reminder!)
- Reader Tim pointed out the track record of Rep. Jim Nussle of Iowa, who used his wife and autistic child as family values props then left them for a high-powered lobbyist after he was elected.