Newspaper Says Character in Marriage Shows Character in Presidency. Cites Gary Hart As Prime Example. HUH?

The Florida Today newspaper had an opinion piece yesterday asking whether marriage fidelity should be taken into account for a candidate running for President.

The article’s headline blares out the question and the paper’s answer:

Is adultery bad?
Politicians who betray spouses might do same to voters

The question is a fair one. If a person breaks their marriage vows of fidelity to their wife, how will that play out if the person is elected to the office of President?

If a person cannot be trusted with their most loving and intimate relationship, how will they act in the relationship with the American people?

To illustrate, the author writes:

In our not too distant past, a feeling of shame made people go into hiding after an adulterous relationship was exposed. Now they go on television . They either deny it (Herman Cain), admit it and say they’ve asked God for forgiveness (Newt Gingrich), or pay no political price at all (space limitations prevent me from listing the legion of politicians that fall into this last category.)

We may be a little sensitive here, but the only people listed are Conservative Republicans.

It is not until later the writer comes up with an example of a Democrat being accused of adultery:

Here is the question I wanted to ask former Senator Gary Hart after his alleged affair with Donna Rice nearly 25 years ago: “If we can’t trust you to keep a promise freely made to your wife before God and witnesses, what standard should we use to judge your truthfulness when you make promises to the American people?”

Gary Hart?

They went back to Gary Hart to find a Democratic candidate that was unfaithful?

Are they kidding us?

For those who may not remember, in 1987 Senator Gary Hart was running for the Presidency when rumors of his having an affair began to circulate. In a press conference, Hart said he wasn’t doing anything wrong and challenged the media to catch him in some infidelity rather than repeating rumors. Shortly after that, a young woman named Donna Rice spent the night with Hart on a boat ironically named “Monkey Business.” A picture of Hart with Rice sitting on his lap appeared in the media. Caught in the lie, Hart’s campaign and bid for the presidency ended.

While it is true that Hart paid a price for his infidelity, we have to wonder why Florida Today went back to the 80’s as an example of someone who was guilty of an extra marital affair?

More recently, one time candidate John Edwards has been indicted for misappropriation of campaign finances to support his paramour and “baby mama” while at the same time his wife was dying of cancer. Edwards was the darling of the left, including the Florida Today been portrayed as someone who would “fight for the little man” as he had as a lawyer.

Why would Florida Today support Edwards on his marital infidelity and yet attack Cain and Gingrich?

But Edwards is not the 500 pound gorilla in the “infidelity room” – William Jefferson Clinton is.

If ever there was a case of marriage infidelity foreshadowing lying to voters, Clinton is the poster child.

Even on the campaign trail, it was well established that Clinton was a womanizer. Newspapers and media never bothered to investigate his infidelities and in fact, when women came forward about affairs with details, it was the women who were attacked. Then, after the liaison with Monica Lewinsky, Clinton denied ever having sexual relations with her. In a prime time statement, Clinton seemed to scold the American voter in saying “I did not have sex with that woman.”

After lying under oath in a deposition Clinton faced a vote in the Congress whether to start impeachment proceedings. At issue was whether his perjury, for which he paid a fine and had his license suspended, rose to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” needed to impeach Clinton.

At the time, Clinton supporters, including the Florida Today newspaper, claimed the impeachment proceedings were “all about sex,” and had nothing to do with Clinton’s ability to run the country. Conservatives countered with “we don’t care about the affair, but we do care he lied under oath.”

The mantra of “its all about the sex” carried the day and the Congress voted not to initiate impeachment proceedings against Clinton. The motion to do so failed by one vote – cast by then Vice-President Al Gore.

With Clinton being the poster child for marital infidelity in both a candidate and a President, (followed closely by John F. Kennedy) the question has to be asked is “why did the Florida Today newspaper choose Hart and not Clinton? Or Kennedy?”


Clinton and Kennedy are icons in the Democratic Party. If the Florida Today mentioned those presidents, it would defeat the purpose of the opinion piece – to attack Republican presidential candidates.

The opinion piece in the Florida Today was the second on “character” in candidates. On December 19, 2011, the paper ran an article entitled “Character matters when choosing president,” written by Seeta Begui who is a nurse and Democratic Party activist.

In the article, Begui claims the personnel lives of people will reflect how they act when elected.

As a woman and a spouse, I cared, and I was deeply troubled by it. I believe strongly that character matters when electing the leader of the free world, especially when that candidate uses the Bible or other religious texts to tell others how to live, how much taxes to pay and how to act. I question the term “social conservative” and wonder why forgiveness is given so freely to those who abuse it.

Once again we see the bias of the piece. To Begui, it is only “social conservatives” who are hypocritical in their personnel lives. We have run across this attitude before. A poster here once said that liberals, progressives and leftists cannot be hypocrites because they never go against their morals. Besides the obvious fallacy of that statement, she claimed left leaning people never used their beliefs in governing so they could not be hypocrites.

(This person then tried to explain how people should be forced to buy health insurance, people she believed are wealthy should be taxed more, etc.)

We here at Raised on Hoecakes generally take the position that a person who cheats on their spouse has character issues. We believe those issues, if not resolved, will reflect in the way an elected official will govern. We are also believers in the power of forgiveness.

But we don’t have to look at the private character of a person to see how they govern. We don’t have to look at their private lives to see their lies in their public life.

For example, when Obama claimed earlier this month that no Republicans had voted on a tax cut, his statement was a lie. It was a lie used for political gain and to further divide the country.

During the budget negotiations over raising the debt ceiling, Obama stated that unless his budget was passed, he couldn’t guarantee Social Security checks would be distributed. Of course, that was a lie as well as Social Security is already funded.

He claimed the US is producing more oil than ever before. Again, this is factually false.

In May of this year, Obama claimed the border fence was “almost complete.” That was a lie as only 5% of it was completed at the time.

We can go on and on.

What we see from the Florida Today and its writers is simply a hit piece on Republican candidates. They are willing to question the character of Republicans in their private lives, but the character of President Obama in his public life gets a pass. They are willing to change their attitude from “what happens between two adults doesn’t matter” and “it is all about sex,” to “character matters.”

In their opinion piece, the Florida Today tried to mislead people by throwing them the bone of Gary Hart’s affair. But because Bill Clinton is still popular and is campaigning for liberal ideas and causes, he gets a pass.

Instead of looking at the character of others, maybe the people writing for the Florida Today should turn the mirror on their own hypocrisy and lies.

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