Monday, April 28, 2008

Adultery! Lesbians! Tawdry sex! Oh wait, this is the Dem presidential campaign

What do Patrick Swayze and Tom Cruise have in common these days?

Both of the Hollywood celebs likely would have been the cover boys of the supermarket tabloids this week, if not for the ongoing antics of the Democratic presidential campaign.

THAT’S RIGHT. BARACK Obama and Hillary Clinton both managed to knock Swayze and Cruise off of the main story on page one, and up into a little box that tells people they have to go inside to find out more about Swayze’s loss of his wife and Cruise’s religion that allegedly brainwashes people.

Of course, nobody who reads the National Enquirer or Globe magazine really cares all that much about what the candidates think of the North American Free Trade Agreement or how the two think they can provide adequate healthcare for all U.S. residents.

It took titillating tales of tawdry sex to get either of those publications the least bit interested in the political brawl that will come to a head the end of August in Denver.

Hence, when I went to the supermarket on Sunday to pick up a few stray items, I got to see the new front pages of the issues dated May 5, 2008, which want us to respond to headlines of “OBAMA MARRIAGE EXPLODES: Wife confronts him with cheating” and “HILLARY GAY LOVE SCANDAL.”

NOW BEFORE YOU read any further, the answer is, “no.”

I did not plunk down my money for either publication, although I did "throw down" $5 for a New York Times. I didn’t read the Enquirer or Globe stories, so I don’t know exactly what the substance of their allegations are for either candidate.

For those of you who are now determined to use the Internet to check it out for free, it won’t work. The Globe merely put a three-sentence synopsis of their story on their web site, which told me enough in and of itself that the story in print is likely a load of trash meant to spew the view that Hillary is not a respectable person by the viewpoint of certain social conservative elements.

The brief seemed to make much of the fact that the so-called lover is a Muslim, albeit one born in the United States. I would guess the people who fed this story to the Globe are the same types who continuously let us know that Obama’s middle name is Hussein. They want us to think the only way we can get a “real American” in the White House is to vote for John McCain, since their preferred candidate, Mike Huckabee, couldn’t even last through the primary season.

BESIDES, THE STORIES of Hillary Clinton’s sexual orientation have always been spewed in political circles, usually from people of the conservative viewpoint that a real woman would be content to stay at home in a supportive role of her husband.

In fact, at one point or another, I have heard people try to convince me that just about every woman in politics is gay. The charge itself has little credibility, or relevance.

The Enquirer didn’t even go so far as to put their Obama story on their website. Anybody who goes there is going to get big pictures of Jennifer Aniston looking as adorable as ever, while also getting to read the latest trivial details about Jimmy Fallon and Orenthal J. Simpson.

So I don’t know the specifics about Obama’s alleged infidelity, although it would not surprise me to learn that it is some insignificant tidbit being distorted into a “shocking scandal.”

When it comes to political people and infidelity, I have been around enough to know that it happens. But I also know that some people don’t have it in their mental makeup to engage in adultery, and I don’t believe the percentage of philanderers is any higher among politicians than it is any other type of professional person.

I ALSO REMEMBER from my days covering the Illinois Statehouse scene that there were certain political people that I know for a fact were having sex outside of marriage, or were engaging in intercourse with whoever happened to be available that night.

But the one legislator who I know for a fact was a skirt-chaser (he’s no longer in the Legislature, but is still in politics) gets a break from me because he was not married at the time. Insofar as I know, his days of hooking up with cocktail waitresses and legislative aides (all of whom were of legal age) ended when he got married.

Obama was not among those with a reputation for having a “Springfield wife” (the modern-day Statehouse phrase for having a girlfriend in the capital city and a wife back home). In fact, the closest thing I remember to a sordid detail about Obama from back then was that he liked to play poker.

In fact, it was those late-night poker games with his fellow legislators that enabled him to develop ties to both Democrats and Republicans, including Kirk Dillard, the one-time aide to GOP governors James R. Thompson and Jim Edgar who now has many Republicans offended because of his outspoken support of Obama.

SO IF THE Enquirer had come up with a story that claimed Obama to be a degenerate gambler who owed thousands of dollars in debts, perhaps some to lobbyists and other interests that might then pressure him as president to commit certain acts of favoritism – that story I would have an easier time believing than one that Obama is committing adultery.

But even so, a claim of adultery really isn’t of much concern to anyone – except Michelle Obama. I’m willing to trust her reaction to this whole situation in determining just how seriously (if at all) I should take this story.

In one respect, we ought to consider ourselves lucky. It took until May of a campaign election season for the supermarket tabloids to get themselves involved in peddling salacious details of the presidential candidates.

As I recall, it was late February of 1992 when the Star was fed by conservative operatives recordings off of Gennifer Flowers’ answering machine to imply that the two were having a long-standing sexual affair.

EVER SINCE THEN, the supermarket rags (even though the Tommy Lee Jones character in the film “Men in Black” told us that they provide “the best investigative reporting on the planet”) have taken to trying to come up with titillating details about the politicos.

What interests me the most about this twin-billing of “political” reporting is that it would appear the rags are taking on a partisan tone.

Is the National Enquirer now the paper out to get the Obama campaign? Should Barack backers take to reading the Globe for their load of celebrity gossip? It was earlier this year that the Enquirer ran the story, “Obama’s secrets. His close friendship with terrorist.”

What it was, was the Enquirer telling us about Obama’s Hyde Park neighbor, Bill Ayers. I don’t know that “close friendship” is the most accurate description of their tie. It wasn’t a secret. And the only people who absolutely insist on pushing the “terrorist” label (“idiotic” is more accurate) to Ayers are the ones who just can’t stand that history has shown the anti-war crowd to be correct in its view about the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

THE OTHER ASPECT of these stories that intrigues me is their lack of inclusion for John McCain.

McCain fans will claim it is because their guy is “too respectable” to do anything that would draw the attention of the supermarket rags.

I’d argue it is because his campaign is too uninteresting to gain their attention, and their editors realize that putting a McCain story on Page One (it doesn’t have to be true, or even based in reality) would flop in sales at the supermarket newsracks across the nation.

That lack of interest from anyone beyond the hard-core partisans who would vote for anyone bearing the “R” (for Republican) after his name is why the winner of Obama/Clinton has to be considered the favorite to win come Nov. 4 – regardless of how badly they bloody each other up in the primary season.


EDITOR’S NOTES: Gennifer Flowers ( may cast her vote for Hillary Clinton, even though she too has peddled the stories about Clinton’s ( sexual orientation.

Here is the Globe’s summary ( about their paper’s attempt to put themselves into the history of Campaign ’08.

1 comment:

Cialis said...

They're just tabloids anyways!