An editorial in Friday's Los Angeles Times (7/6/07) is one of the dumbest in quite a while - and that's saying a lot.
Writing on the recently disclosed affair of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat, the Times ridiculously opines that "it seems that Democrats' sexual shenanigans do more damage to their political careers than Republicans' do." The Times cheekily writes that the "political bible" states, "Thou shalt not commit adultery, unless you're a Republican." (All emphasis mine.)
Oh, really? Just looking at the Villaraigosa affair, the Times' editorial conveniently fails to consider a few things:
- Just today (Sat. 7/7/07), the Times wrote, "[V]oters can be very forgiving, as Villaraigosa himself proved by winning election [as mayor in 2005] despite admitting a separate affair in 1994 that nearly ended his marriage." So ... Where was the "damage" there, LA Times?
- According to this LA Daily News article, Antonio's wife, Corina, "had been battling thyroid cancer" during the 1994 campaign. (See also this.) So ... Where's the "damage," LA Times?
- Even with this brand-new revelation, an affair with a reporter who covered him on television (!), what "damage" has been done to Villaraigosa's career? Except for some embarrassment, absolutely none, as far as anyone can see. The mayor still retains his job.
In other words, there's no "damage" to Villaraigosa for the Times to be talking about, except ... The real damage in all of this, as this excellent article from LA Daily News' Chris Weinkopf stated, is to Villaraigosa's wife and his two growing children. (See also this.)
As the Times rightly points out, affairs have damaged, and not damaged, the professional careers of politicians of both parties. (Gavin Newsom, the Democratic mayor of San Francisco, still remains popular despite his recent affair.) But the Times fails to consider that the real "scandal" is not often the affair itself. Politicians get into real trouble when they publicly lie or attempt to obfuscate their situations (e.g., Henry Cisneros, Gary Hart, Bill Clinton).
The Times' opinion that "Democrats' sexual shenanigans do more damage to their political careers than Republicans' do" is just plain dumb.