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Prurience and Prudery Sex Politics in America

Sex Politics in America

by SAUL LANDAU

Q: What do you call hundreds of Republican male Members of Congress marching back and forth in the Capitol?

A: A Dick Armey (Name of House Majority Leader 1995-2003)

The US body count in Iraq surpassed 4,000. Fighting erupted between different factions there. A chunk of ice six times the size of Manhattan broke off in Antarctica. The US economy continued to sink into recession. But the media predictably remained obsessed with news of Brittney Spears’ psychiatric condition and former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer’s sex scandal.

Politics, sex and mass media — a ménage a trois of American culture ­ shocking as a shower in April! The leading lights in the political arena who expend unusual amounts of energy getting and staying elected are often Alpha males, aggressive, driven, confident, ambitious, and always pursuing more. They inspire and deflate. They tend toward autocratic and abusive behavior. They have insatiable appetites for power, food, booze, money and sex ­ often of the most innovative varieties.

They gravitate toward business (CEOs), sports (home run hitters and no-hit pitchers) and of course power politics. In 1972, I heard the following conversation behind the stage preceding a musical event designed to raise money for the newly formed Hookers’ Union of San Francisco.

WOMAN 1: Hey, I heard you were in San Diego at the Republic Convention. Did you make some good money?

WOMAN 2: Did I ever! I worked sixteen hour days every single day. But you know I hardly got my twat wet.

WOMAN 1: No kidding. So what did you did you do?

WOMAN 2: I pissed and shat on them, and whipped them.

WOMAN 1: Really! Wow! Who were these guys?

WOMAN 2: Oh you know, Senators and judges, people like that.

Indeed, look back at the recent scandals involving political Alpha males. In July, 2007, Sen. David Vitter (R-La) recognized "a very serious sin in my past." This confession coincided with federal investigators’ discovery that he, like Eliot Spitzer, rented pricey ladies from a prostitution business. The media calls it a ring. To give it a wedding flavor? He tearfully assured the public he would not repeat such a peccadillo. To prove his contrition, this right wing solon and expounder of the transgression of infidelity, hid for an entire week before offering his sobbing apology. Then he quietly returned to his Senate seat where he continues to emit extremist moral babble and enjoy the perks of his office.

The Vitter scandal actually continues the Republican moral crusade that erupted during their mid 1990s effort to oust Clinton because he lied about a blow job. Vitter, we should recall, replaced the straitlaced Bob Livingston, the Republican heavy who had to quit in 1999 because he too got his testicles caught in the marital unfaithfulness wringer.

Preceding that, we learned Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fl) had sent amorous emails to congressional pages. Foley quit in 2006 but not before parents began to wonder about the safety of their kids in the aggressive Alpha male atmosphere of Capitol Hill. Florida prosecutors still probe Foley’s records to see if he transcended the emails and flirtation stage with his favorite under 18 year old boys.

Republican preacher, Reverend Ted Haggard, had listed homosexuality as a disgusting crime. Then his homosexual lover (paid masseuse) outed him. "I booty bumped him," claimed the masseuse, meaning he inserted meth-amphetamine into Haggard’s keister and then following it in with his you know what! ("Double your pleasure" as the old commercial extolled!)

Bill Clinton denied under oath that he had "sexual relations with that woman," ex- intern Monica Lewinsky. Monica actually supported Clinton’s statement ­ "we were only playing around." The quip in hip LA circles is that Monica turned bitter and voted Republican in 2004. "The Democrats left a bad taste in my mouth."

Barack Obama owes his Senate seat to seedy Jack Ryan, who quit the 2004 Illinois Senate race after his former wife claimed he took her to "bizarre clubs" and asked her to do kinky things, like have sex with him in public. Ryan said he only did it once.

Senator Gary Hart (D-CO) became another Alpha laugher. Hart might have captured the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988, but in late 1987 he got caught by a Miami Herald reporter passing a frolicking night ­ and day — with Donna Rice, a woman that did not resemble his wife. Hart had previously dared the media to substantiate widespread rumors of his hanky panky. His fellow Alphas shook their collective heads sadly in public, but got a few hardy yuks over a photograph of Donna atop Gary’s lap aside a pleasure boat called "Monkey Business."

Senator Bob Packwood (R-OR) resigned in 1995 when 17 female employees and colleagues claimed he came on to them repeatedly. Oh, he also importuned lobbyists to get his ex-wife a job and doctored his daily diaries to impede an ethics investigation.

Rep. Gary Condit (D-CA) admitted he had an affair with his intern Chandra Levy shortly before her body was discovered in May 2002 in Washington’s Rock Creek Park. Condit at first swore in a deposition they were just friends.

In 1998, U.S. Rep. Helen Chenoweth, a Republican from Idaho, began airing anti-Clinton advertisements insisting "personal conduct does count." Then she got caught and admitted to having had a six-year affair in the 1980s with a married man who later worked on her congressional staff. In 2004, state Rep. Katherine Bryson of Utah made cootchy coo with a lover on a surveillance camera; her then husband set up the apparatus to catch a burglar.

Wilbur Mills, powerful chair of the House Ways and Means Committee drove his car into Washington’s Rock Creek, while drunk. The police helped fish Fanne Fox, a stripper in a floozy joint, get out of the water. Wilbur wept: "I’m coming to save you honey."

In 2007, Senator Larry Craig pleaded guilty to making a pass at an undercover cop in a public men’s room. 33 years before, in October 1964, DC Police arrested Lyndon Johnson’s top aide, Walter Jenkins amidst a gay dalliance in a YMCA bathroom.

Just listing the sex scandals involving fast-track political types could fill the pages of an oversized book. So, it should not have surprised the prurient public that New York’s governor, son of a multi millionaire who fought Wall Street, blew his career ­ the first Jewish President? Imagine, a rich Jewish boy caught in kinky stuff with a high priced shiksa hooker!

Those interested in Alpha male sex psychology might refer to "disorders" involving "suffering/humiliation of one’s self/partner." These types suffer from "persistent fantasies/urges to either inflict or receive pain as a means to sexual arousal."

Sometimes, Masochists "may desire pain or humiliation – to be bound, flogged, humiliated, or made to suffer. Other activities include blindfolding, restraint, verbal or physical humiliating acts, whipping, urination, defecation." Naturally, [what a word] sadists can "hurt or humiliate willing partners such as prostitutes or sexual masochists." In 1993, according to Dr. Joan Anzia, "14% of men and 11% of women" confessed to having had "some experience with sadomasochistic activity." (M2 Psychpathology, 2005)

Spitzer’s activities with Kristen did not involve love. Thnik kinky as Kinky, as Joan Rivers once described it. "My husband was having a heart attack and I was lying next to him handcuffed to the bed as was the hooker lying on the other side of him. Lucky the dog on top of her could dial 911."

Some of the powerful like to get humiliated ­ pissed and shat on, whipped. They feel better and go forth with zest into their world to humiliate others.

Spitzer’s case differs from the others, however, because the NY governor aimed his political aggression at the Wall Street money moguls, like former New York Stock Exchange President Richard Grasso, whom he censured for his $187.5 million salary, Grasso then had to resign. Spitzer went after Goldman Sachs’ former chairman John Whitehead and Hank Greenburg, former chairman of insurance giant AIG, CEOs who played roles in generating the current economic crisis because of their avaricious lending policies and irresponsible manipulations. Spitzer wanted to regulate the other Wall Street Alphas. Ironically, his case distracted the public from financial crimes of massive proportion, ones approved by the Bush Administration and Congress — as well as State Legislature. The victims who lost homes belong to a different class with different sexual practices. They could not afford a $5000 an hour hooker?

"What can you get for $5,000 that you can’t get for $4,000?" asked Jackie Mason.

SAUL LANDAU is an Institute for Policy Studies Fellow. Read his Counterpunch Press book A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD. See his WE DON’T PLAY GOLF HERE on DVD through roundworldproductions@gmail.com