Is There a Consistent Moral Litmus Test in Politics?

“I have known 11 Prime Ministers and 7 of them were adulterers”

~Prime Minister William Gladstone~

~The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland~

T.H. White, an American political journalist who covered the six presidential elections from 1960 to 1980 famously once said he only knew of three Presidential candidates who were faithful to their wives: Harry Truman, George Romney, and Jimmy Carter.

While it’s easy to either throw all the presidents under the bus or to blindly defend all of them (or at least our favorites), they are all individuals. Many owned slaves and having sexual relations with slaves was not uncommon. Also, many grew up in times when prostitution was legal. The Reynolds Affair, The Petticoat Affair and the infamous womanizing of Ben Franklin show that the Federal Period of American history had as much sexual scandal as our more modern era.

And we’re not even talking about pre-marital affairs….  Or how about the social acceptance or non-acceptance of age differences?

Grover Cleveland, at age 49, married one of his best friends’ daughter who was 21?? 28 years difference? And if you think that’s bad, Tyler and his second wife were 30 years apart….

GW                  Sally Fairfax*

GW                  Venus (Mother of West Ford)*

GW                  Lavenia Vanderweaver*

GW                  Mary Gibbons*

Adams             (hahahahah, ya, right!)

TJ                    Sally Hemmings

TJ                    Maria Cosway*

Madison

Monroe

Adams             Alleged to have ‘pimped’ for Czar Alexander*

Jackson            Rachel Donelson (technicality)

VB

Harrison          A slave (named “Dilsia” or mother of “Dilsia”)*

Tyler                Lydia Ann Taylor mother of John Dunjee Taylor*

Polk

Taylor

Fillmore

Pierce              Jane Means Appleton?

Buchanan        Sen. William R. King*

Lincoln            Ann Rutledge? Hannah Armstrong? Matilda

Edwards??

Johnson           At age 18, married a 16-year-old Eliza McCardle

Grant               Madly in love with Julia!

Hayes

Garfield           Lucia Calhoun

Arthur

Cleveland        Maria Halpin

Harrison

Cleveland        Francis Folsom?

McKinley

TR                   Edith Kermit Carow?

Taft

Wilson             Mary Peck

Harding           Nan Britton

Harding           Carrie Fulton Phillips

Coolidge

Hoover

FBR                 Lucy Mercer, etc., etc., etc….

Truman

IKE                 Kay Summersby

JFK                  Angie Dickenson

JFK                  Marlene Dietrich

JFK                  Gunilla Von Post

JFK                  Gene Tierney

JFK                  Pamela Turnure

JFK                  Marilyn Monroe

JFK                  Judith Campbell

JFK                  Ellen Rometsch

JFK                  Mary Pinchot Meyer

JFK                  Mimi Beardsley

JFK                  Mimi Alford

JFK                  Judith Campbell Exner

JFK                  Blaze Starr

JFK                  Fiddle and Faddle

LBJ                  Alice Glass

LBJ                  Madeline Brown

LBJ                  Helen G. Douglas

Nixon              Marianna Liu*

Ford                 Ellen Rometsch

Carter              (“I have lusted in my heart many times”)

Reagan             Nancy Davis (while married to Jane Wyman)

Bush                Jennifer Fitzgerald*

Clinton            Paula Jones

Clinton            Gennifer Flowers

Clinton            Monica Lewinski

Bush

Obama

But it goes beyond consensual heterosexual relationships, as I mentioned already, there is the issue of non-consensual, whether it be the infamous quote by Donald Trump to Billy Bush, Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings or Bill Clinton and his relationships, specifically Monica Lewinski.

Washington, Harrison, and Taylor too are believed to have had sexual relations with their slaves….

GW                  Venus (Mother of West Ford)

Harrison          A slave (named “Dilsia” or mother of “Dilsia”)

Tyler                Lydia Ann Taylor (mother of John Dunjee Taylor)

Isn’t it interesting that Gary Hart’s career was ended over consensual sex, and Bill Clinton won the presidency in the very next election? Womanizing is ok, just don’t tell me about it, oh wait, now I know, that’s horrible in 1988 and I guess its ok in 1992 and 2016?

Think of all the social stigmas that have been used to judge people over time, and we all may have different opinions as to whether those were or are legitimate reasons for supporting or not supporting a political candidate. The presumed gay relationship between James Buchanan and VP William King

FDR’s polio…

Deficiencies that may have actually impacted the execution of the office of the President like Grant’s alcoholism or W’s dry drunk syndrome.

And then there are the issues that have been used to derail political careers that are hard to understand such as Thomas Eagleton who had to drop out of the 1972 race because he received electrotherapy for depression… oh, but untreated depression like Nixon’s melancholy moodiness and presumed bouts of depression is ok….

And, speaking of 1972, Edmund Muskie had to drop out because he cried…. And then we wind up with John Boehner as the 53rd Speaker of the House lol

Douglas Ginsburg and so many others who lost their careers or the momentum of their careers because of drug use… then Bill Clinton famously says he didn’t inhale, and we wind up with a wider acceptance of marijuana use by politicians… Clinton, W, and Obama…

I mean heck, Bill Clinton essentially dodged the draft and even went to Russia during the Vietnam War and was elected President… just like W avoided Vietnam by joining the OK Air National Guard, then barely ever showed up.

Obama and the racist lying birther movement that Donald Trump enflamed…

The presidents of the United States have a collective history of owning slaves, Non-consensual sex, alcoholism, drug use, and draft dodging, and almost George Wallacesque use of racist rhetoric… and the losers? Some of them cried and sought treatment for mental health…

So, you know, if someone ever asks you if walking into a pot shop or grabbing a beer will derail your future political career, just remind them, heck, it might even increase your chances these days….

 

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