Monday, December 5, 2011


You have to hand it to a guy who resigns from his candidacy for President of the United States by quoting a Pokemon movie. Herman Cain appeared in front of his would-be new campaign headquarters on Saturday, to announce that he will “suspend” his campaign. Then he steps down from the stage with Motown music playing in the background. There was barbecued food and general revelry, as if it were Cain announcing his candidacy, rather than ending it amidst various allegations of sexual wrongdoing.

Cain’s timing is perfect: His hijinks become the closing bookend for a year when bad boys around the globe were hogging the headlines with their own sexual junior highisms. I mean come on: Congressman Anthony Weiner was sexting women from the gym, while considering a run for Mayor of New York City, just as his wife found out she’s pregnant. And his antics were tame compared to bad boys like Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund who stands accused of forcing a New York hotel housekeeper to have sex with him.

Bad boys are just bad boys, no matter what they do for a living or how much power they crave in their professional lives. And their egos generally somehow enable them to maintain their high profile public personas, convincing themselves that nobody will ever know about their duplicitous lifestyles. It really is stunning how not one of them seems to understand that privacy in public life is now history. It does not exist. A half century ago, JFK and his brother Bobby Kennedy could each take their turns having sex with Marilyn Monroe, and even the reporters who knew about it wouldn’t dare reveal it. But that was then.

Fast forward to 2011 and we’re still waiting for justice to be served in the case of John Edwards (below, right), the sleazebag scandal monger from the last presidential campaign. Edwards, you will recall, allegedly funneled money from his campaign to one Rielle Hunter, his secret squeeze who actually bore their daughter. While the wheels of justice turn as slowly as possible, we’ve also had to live through the very public battle over the sex tape he and Rielle made during the campaign. Sex tape. Presidential candidate. Welcome to 21st century America.

But 2011’s main scandal players were not limited to the U.S. Silvio Berlusconi, the three-time prime minister of Italy finally resigned a few weeks ago. His departure follows various periods where his name was attached to words like mafia, prostitution, tax fraud, perjury and embezzlement. But our favorite Silvio charge has to do with his alleged sex for cash scandal with an underage Moroccan dancer named Ruby Rubicouri (you simply cannot make this stuff up). Miss Ruby met the Prime Minister when she was working as a dental hygienist and he was being treated after being attacked with a marble statue by a disgruntled citizen.

All of it begs the obvious question: Are men innately pigs? Edwards was married to a woman who was fighting stage four breast cancer when he got Rielle Hunter pregnant. One of Cain’s accusers claims they were in a car headed for his corporate headquarters, when he pulled over and ran his hand up her skirt – kind of like a junior high boy might do to live out his masturbatory fantasy. I guess it depends on your definition of “pig.” Was John Edwards simply a pig disguised in matinee idol’s good looks and great suits? Was Silvio Berlusconi (below, left) an Italian pig whose reported multi-billions caused him to believe he was invincible? The Italian version of Teflon Don, you might say.

There are those who say both politics and sex are all about power. Nothing more. Nothing less. Maybe rich and powerful men simply cheat more richly and powerfully than their average Joe counterparts. But interestingly, they only get away with it until they don’t get away with it. The other day a female comic on TV said, “When was the last time we heard rumors like the ones we’re hearing about Herman Cain that did not turn out to be true?” Where there’s smoke and all that, you know. She’s right. There isn’t much you could say to me that would convince me that Herman Cain is not a pig. A more respectable pig would come forward and say, “I did it and I’m bowing out of the race.” Instead, Cain came forward and said ‘I didn’t do it, but I’m bowing out of the race for my family’s sake.’ And he said all this just as people who are close to his family have come forward to reveal the Cains are not exactly the Cleavers.

Cain, Edwards, Weiner (below, right), Berlusconi and their Hollywood counterparts such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ashton Kutcher are simply high profile examples of arrogance personified. Memo to all of the above: We citizens out here are not going to get real involved in your behind-closed-door dalliances unless you throw it in our face. And every time you start to feel a bit cocky about how much you are getting away with, you need to remember that you’re not getting away with it. We may as well be seated theatre style in your bedroom. Why is it that we get that but you don’t? And why is it that you can’t simply study the legacy of people like David Vitter, Bill Clinton and Eliot Spitzer to truly know that it’s only a matter of time until things come tumbling down? Way down.

Listen, combine one part predatory mass media with one part puritanical American consciousness with one part “Gotcha” and you’re nothing more than Herman Cain – powerless, jobless and without the adulation you crave so mightily. It’s a predictable recipe for public humiliation and ultimate dreaded anonymity. It is more about arrogance than ignorance. And it repeatedly leads to men who are in the prime of their careers predictably and rapidly disappearing. Just ask John Edwards who these days kicks around his South Carolina mansion worrying about whether he will go to jail. It’s a slippery slope boys.

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