Disgraced Politicians Should Skip the Talk Shows, Pick Up a Toilet Scrubber

Over the last several months there seems to have been another outbreak of politicians behaving badly. In Sacramento, we had assembly m...





Over the last several months there seems to have been another outbreak of politicians behaving badly.

In Sacramento, we had assembly member Mike Duval of Orange County who hastily resigned his seat recently after videotapes surfaced showing him behaving like a hormone-enraged teenager in a locker room bragging about his exploits with a female energy "lobbyist."

It makes you wonder what sort of energy policies the "lobbyist" and Duval were discussing. Curiously, after he resigned, Duval backpedaled and said on his Web site that "My offense was engaging in inappropriate storytelling." Really, Mike?

In our neighboring state of Nevada, Sen. John Ensign was caught having an affair with a female campaign staffer. The distinguishing feature about this affair is that the woman with whom Ensign had his affair is the wife of one of Ensign's top aides.

Not only was it the wife of some top aide, but it was a couple with whom the Ensign family had very close ties. I wonder how their next family get-together pun goes?

Ensign, you may recall, scolded and implied that Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho should resign for his compulsive footing tapping problem that cause a stir a few years back. Ensign seems to have his own unique set of tapping problems, too.

This summer's best sex scandal award winner, though, is without a doubt South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. In case you missed those sordid details, Sanford skipped his state for a few days without adequately informing the public or many members of his staff in regard to his whereabouts.

Where did Sanford skip off to? We now know it wasn't to the hike the Appalachian trails, as was initially reported. No, the honorable governor went off to Argentina to tango, as it was, with his Argentinean lover.

The most embarrassing aspect of Sanford's dalliance was the obligatory post caught-with-his-hand-in-the-cookie-jar news conference. It was the sort of news conference where so many salacious details were revealed that even the tabloid journalists seemed embarrassed. Yuck!

While this summer's episode of politicians behaving badly was dominated by Republicans, they certainly don't have exclusive rights to such dubious activity. Democrat's have also been engaged in all sorts of boorish behavior, too.

In the last few years, we've had a couple Democratic governors resign following illicit affairs. Crusading crime fighter New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer left office following revelations that he had used the services of a prostitute. Family man and then New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey left after having a gay romance with someone appointed to a high political position .

Closer to home, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome was caught in a sex scandal eerily similar to Ensign's. I can't help but wonder if Ensign was channeling Newsome, or perhaps it was the other way around.

While I could go on and list scores upon scores of other American politicians caught up in some torrid affair -- Bill Clinton, John Edwards and Wilbur Mills also come to mind -- I will instead point our crop of bad boys to an example of how they might redeem themselves.

This seems unlikely, because from where I stand, all of these politicians are seemingly loath to come right out and admit their mistakes. In some cases, they even seem to possess a jocular attitude about their affairs.

I just wish these guys would collect their taxpayer-paid retirements and disappear, or at least look to do something truly meaningful.

Nonetheless, the example I will point our bad boys to was a British politician who not only lied about an affair he had, but it was found that the woman he was consorting with was also consorting with a Soviet agent during the height of the Cold War.

For those of you old enough to remember, John Profumo was a prominent British politician who, after caught lying about his affair, resigned disgraced in 1963. Rather than make the talk show circuit or write a tell-all book like so many modern days disgraced politicians do, Profumo took up volunteer work.

And it just wasn't some country club or photo-op volunteer work, either. Profumo started out by cleaning toilets at a charity service in London's hardscrabble East End. Eventually Profumo was persuaded to put down the mop and help run the charity.

Profumo and his wife both worked at the charity until the end. Before he died in 2006Profumo had redeemed himself and was recognized by Prime Ministers and the Queen for his unselfish work.

During that entire time, Profumo never spoke or wrote publicly about his fall. He never tried to redirect the blame or make excuses.

So the next time a politician is ensnared in some sex scandal, or any scandal for that matter, I think they ought to skip the talk shows and consider Profumo's example and get busy cleaning toilets.

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