The Fidelity Standard

When Herman Cain suspended his campaign for the Republican Presidential Nomination, he fell to one of the oldest, unwritten standards of politics known to man. It claimed yet another careless victim. I am referring to The Fidelity Standard. He is not the first and certainly will not be the last.

It is a shame. I am not saying Cain was my guy, but he had some good ideas and a good business background of success that our nation would benefit from.

Not every politician has folded under The Fidelity Standard, most notably former President Bill Clinton. Everyone knows what happened with Clinton and then intern Monica Lewinsky and the fact Clinton lied and obstructed justice. Clinton proved to have too much teflon coating on his demeanor and overcame an Impeachment Proceeding by the House and was never convicted in the Senate. Clinton had fidelity issues before coming to the White House and kept his wandering ways via Lewinsky and God only knows who else, but evaded the crucible Cain just went through.

Here is a quick list of some notable political falls from grace from The Fidelity Standard:

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger – Even though “nannygate” and his love child came after his gubernatorial stint, it pretty well cooked Arnold’s goose for any future Congressional bids. Pardon the pun, but his political career may have been terminated because of his infidelity.

Former US Senator, Democrat Vice Presidential Nominee, and Democrat Presidential Candidate John Edwards – Another politician with a “love child” on the side. In Edwards case, his was even more bizarre than most, as it appeared to have occurred during his bid for the 2008 Democratic Presidential Nomination. Oh, and the fact his now deceased wife Elizabeth was suffering from cancer at the time has to place him at the top of the Infidelity Cad List.

Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey – This one had more than a weird twist when McGreevey, married to a very beautiful wife and father to a daughter between them, confessed to a relationship with a man during his tenure as governor. I found it disgusting that his now ex-wife, Dina Matos, had to be by his side when he told the world he was gay. In my opinion, that is one press conference she should have missed. Needless to say, McGreevey has been off the political radar since.

Former New York Attorney General and Governor Elliot Spitzer – I have to confess to this being a personal positive experience for me. Spitzer made a name for himslef bringing the question of how much insurance companies paid in commissions and bonuses and whether or not these payments impacted what clients paid in insurance.  I watched what Spitzer did to the insurance industry. He cost carriers and policyholders billions through his witch-hunt. Everyone of us pay more for policies today for added paperwork and disclosures as a results of the lawsuits Spitzer drug the industry through in legal bills. Did it lower your premiums? Not one penny. When he became Governor of New York in 2006, he was touted as the next potential Democratic Presidential Contender. Problem with Elliot was he had a double standard. He would throw you in the pokey for playing with prostitutes, but his little habit was OK as long as he could keep it quiet.  Elliot had expensive tastes in hookers because he was transferring large amounts of cash to pay for his fun. So much cash, in fact, that he was nailed for violating Federal Anti-Money Laundering laws! Like Mc Greevey from New Jersey, this scumbag had his wife by his side during his resignation. While he is out of politics, he has resurfaced in political television. Gag… 

Former US Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Gary Hart – Hart made news in 1987 during his announcement for candidacy for the 1988 Democratic Presidential Nomination . Hart had rumors floating around him of infidelity right after his announcement; literally.  Hart was already being investigated by two Miami Herald reporters for infidelity prior to his announcement. To make matters worse, Hart challenged the press corp to follow him and verify he was clean. Problem was Hart was anything but clean and stories of Rice being as Hart’s DC home surfaced days after his press corp challenge. Less than a month later, the now infamous pictures of Rice sitting on Hart’s lap aboard the Monkeybusiness (aptly named) made the front page of the National Enquirier and Hart was out of the race.

Here are the real questions – does the fidelity of a candidate really impact their ability to govern? If a candidate came right out and confessed of a prior affair going into a campaign, how would they be judged? Are public servants incapable of having private lives that mean they can and will have some gaffes from time to time?

Did Herman Cain leave the race for the right reason?

Whatever the answers may be, one thing is certain: if you plan on applying to campaign for any form of public office, you had best be sure your pants were on in all the right places.

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