Celebrity sex is news, as you may have noticed in particular over the past several days.
Not just the run-of-mill Hollywood stuff, such as which unmarried star is pregnant by whom, or the most recently noted rounds of adultery among that cultural capital's notables. We're talking truly big news, such as careers rising or falling among prospective [residential candidates, such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich or Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, and the criminal charges against International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn alleging that he criminally assaulted a chambermaid in his New York hotel room.
Strauss-Kahn is in the hottest water. Married three times, and renowned otherwise as a womanizer, Strauss-Kahn, 62, got his hand slapped some two-and-a-half years ago after sexual harassment and abuse-of-power charges were brought against him at the IMF. An investigation led to no formal discipline but Strauss-Kahn promised not to do it again. He had resigned as France's finance minister in 1999 after being investigated (but later cleared) in a corruption case. He nonetheless led recent public-opinion polls as favorite for the French presidency.
A Socialist, Strauss-Kahn nonetheless was known for his extravagant lifestyle. His hotel suite in New York, where he allegedly assaulted the chambermaid, cost several thousand dollars nightly.
You have to love some of the details. The chambermaid in question was Guinean, meaning she no doubt spoke French. Strauss-Kahn bailed out of the hotel promptly after the incident but called the desk afterward to ask if they had found his cellphone, left behind in his room with other belongings during his hasty exit. By then the maid already had made her complaint. The hotel security man, thinking quickly, said the phone had been found. He would be pleased to deliver it to Strauss-Kahn, wherever he was. Strauss-Kahn told him to bring it to his departing Air France flight at Kennedy International Airport.
Informed of Strauss-Kahn's whereabouts, New York detectives had the flight held, entered the first-class cabin, and collared him. He currently is jailed without bail.
The IMF, of course, is in a dither. Its leader was headed to Europe to participate in new discussions about a Greek-government bailout. French politics, too, have gotten a jolt. Even the tolerant, worldly French, the Socialist Party is thinking, might not want Strauss-Kahn as their leader. Being a knave is one thing; being both a knave and fool is another.
Gingrich formally declared his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination after saying he had weighed carefully the downsides of his multi-marriage, publicly acknowledged adulterous past. He had addtionally converted to Catholicism, which meant, one guesses, that he now adhered to a more rigid moral code.
Daniels made it known that he was holding back from declaring his own candidacy because his wife, Cheri, had serious reservations about same. Media then discovered that Mrs. Daniels had once left Daniels to raise their four daughters and had married a man in California, only to several years later remarry Daniels and rejoin him and their children. Daniels and his wife both spoke last weekend to a GOP dinner in Indianapolis in what was regarded as some kind of test.
The consensus among viewers who saw the televised event was that Daniels did fine and his wife bombed. Since then, several GOP leaders have withdrawn their endorsements of a Daniels candidacy. Media, in further sleuthing, have found that Daniels was charged as a Princeton undergraduate with possesssion of marijuana, LSD, and other illegal drugs.
Monday morning (May 16), taking what might be considered pre-emptive action, Donald Trump announced his non-candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination, perhaps figuring he would get out before media and political probing of The Donald got serious.
Past history suggests that politicians are in the greatest trouble not because of their personal-life conduct but when they appear to be hypocrites about it.
Voters knew, going in, that President Bill Clinton had an Arkansas past of serial womanizing and alleged ethical skating. Thus, they were inclined to give him a pass when similar charges were made about his conduct in the White House.
Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!