Verner column: Female politicians have weaknesses, too
After the latest sexual escapade involving a male politician, I’m inclined to agree with generations of feminist leaders: We need more women in politics.
It’s not that women would necessarily make smarter decisions or spend less on hair care than John Edwards ó although there’s certainly an argument for both cases. The primary benefit of having more women involved in politics, from my perspective, is that they might provide some much-needed variety in our scandals.
With men, the scandals are as drearily predictable as negative campaign ads and pork-barrel spending. It’s one bimbo outbreak after another, except for the occasional exception of a Larry Craig or a Mark Foley, when the bimbo turns out to be Jimbo. But the bottom line is always sex, and the story usually follows a set format: Months of rumors and tabloid exposes, followed by indignant denials, followed by mainstream media interest, followed by more denials, followed, finally, by confession, public groveling and self-flagellation. It’s like the Jerry Springer show combined with Meet the Press.
It’s not that I put all the blame on men. It’s not our fault that, in the grand design of nature, the male brain was deemed less deserving of adequate blood flow than other organs. Men and women are simply wired differently when it comes to certain matters involving crisis management and self-control. For instance, numerous studies, conducted under the most rigorous scientific controls, have proven that when a man is shown a photo of a potential global disaster ó say, an incoming nuclear warhead or a picture of a naked woman who is not his wife ó the first three thoughts that pop into the man’s mind, in no particular order, are:
3. SEX! SEX! SEX!
(Men have precisely the same reaction when exposed to photos of a cordless drill, drying paint or an Elvis wall hanging made from corn husks and dryer lint.)
Women are different. Show a woman a photo of a naked man, and she immediately thinks:
1. Omigod! I forgot to switch the load of whites into the dryer this morning!
2. Capri pants definitely make my butt look bigger.
3. The expensive chocolate always has fewer calories.
After all the dreary episodes of male politicians behaving badly, we need change in this country ó real change ó and it will come when we elect more women to higher office. Only then will we have interesting new scandals to replace the boring old scandals.
For instance, if Hillary Clinton were president, we might look forward to this headline in the National Enquirer:
“Hillary shocker: When phone rang at 3 a.m., I was already awake, eating Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey out of the carton and obsessing about neck wrinkles.”
Or, if Sen. Elizabeth Dole serves another term, perhaps we’ll wake one morning to this story splashed across the front of The Globe:
“Dole expose: Liddy tearfully acknowledges using campaign funds to buy $1,400 Jimmy Choo stilettos. Bob says Viagra gig was necessary to finance wife’s ‘shoe problem.’ ”
Rather than hearing John Edwards bare his lawyerly soul about adultery, I’d much rather pick up the National Examiner and find this breathless revelation: “Pelosi payola scheme: Speaker put Defense Department budget on Visa card to get extra bonus points.”
Instead of hearing the tawdry details about New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer spending $10,000 for an hour with a prostitute at a ritzy Manhattan hotel, it would be fun to find out that gubernatorial candidate Bev Perdue dropped 10 grand for an aromatherapy foot rub at the Grove Park Inn.
It could be that I’m sadly mistaken about all this. As more women scale the political heights, they may become just as self-centered, egotistical and power-mad as their male counterparts. As Henry Kissinger once famously said, power is the greatest aphrodisiac ó especially when combined with scented bubble bath and soothing New Age flute music. In which case, we may yet see a future commander-in-chief caught in a compromising position with a Chippendale dancer or confronted with accusations that a hunky intern is really her Oval Office boy toy.
I’m not looking forward to that day. But if worse comes to worse, Madam President, by now you know the drill: Deny everything. Blame the trashy media and your political foes. Glower into the camera, clench your jaw and declare: “I did not have sex with that man.”
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Chris Verner is editorial page editor of the Salisbury Post.
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