But Honey, All Presidents Cheat on Their Wives

Infidelity should not block Cain or Gingrich from Oval Office

Anyone who knows me knows I’m no fan of Herman Cain. And that’s because I have a brain. Even diehard Republicans must admit that they secretly cringe every time a reporter asks him anything beyond his name. Not only does he know nothing about this country’s political policies or this world’s foreign governments, he doesn’t want to know. He’s not just ignorant, which is not bad per se, he’s aggressively ignorant. He proudly quotes Pokemon as if it were Shakespeare. He proudly states “(I’m) a leader, not a reader.” Yeah. He actually says that. Repeatedly. And he says he opposes President Obama’s Libya policy although he doesn’t know what it is. But he does know a lot about the country he described as “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan.” And he’s becoming quite fluent “in Cuban,” which in his mind is different from, and not to be confused with, the Spanish language that Cubans speak. All this, and much, much more, proves that he’s embarrassingly and woefully unqualified—even for consideration as the Republican presidential nominee. Despite that, he deserves our support. Not for any political office but for the protection of his personal privacy.

Although it certainly appears that he cheated on his wife by having a 13-year affair with a consenting adult named Ginger White, it’s none of my or your goddamn business! He didn’t marry me, and he didn’t marry you either. He didn’t even propose to me or you. What he did behind closed doors with a willing grown-assed woman had no effect, has no effect, and will have no effect on taxes, health care, employment, education, crime, wars or any other public issue. The last time I checked, the only eligibility requirements to serve as president are set forth in Article I, Section 3, Clause 7 and Article II, Section 1, Clauses 3 and 5 of the Constitution and in the 14th and 22nd Amendments to that Constitution. They pertain to impeachment, citizenship, residency, age, oath of office, insurrection and term limits. Neither the articles nor the amendments say anything about infidelity. If they did, the United States would have lost what nearly all of this country’s reputable historians rate as some of America’s greatest patriotic presidents (with the exception of the laughable Warren G. Harding). Check out the list.

George Washington’s tryst with an enslaved woman named Venus produced his mulatto son Wes Ford sometime before November 1785, after he had married Martha in 1759. Washington’s white descendants deny it, and they steadfastly refuse DNA testing. Hmmm …

Thomas Jefferson vowed to Martha shortly before her death in 1782 that he would never remarry. And he was truly a man of his word, well, technically. Although he never remarried, in 1788 he did enter into a 38-year, ahem, “relationship” with Martha’s half sister, the 15-year-old enslaved Sally Hemings. And they had kids. Six of them in fact. After centuries of denials by Jefferson’s descendants and presidential scholars, DNA proved it in 1998. (By the way, in regard to Jefferson and Washington, enslaving and sexually assaulting black human beings should have been presidential disqualifications at the time. But it wasn’t.)

Abe Lincoln was married to Mary Todd from 1842 until his death in 1865. It is claimed that one of the reasons he called off their initial engagement was the melancholy that resulted from Joshua Speed departing Springfield. Speed and Lincoln had lived together and slept together in the same bed for four years after they met in Illinois in 1837. Moreover, Lincoln’s bodyguard (no pun intended) and “companion” from 1862 to 1863, David Derickson, slept with him in Mary’s bed when she took overnight trips out of town.

Warren G. Harding reportedly impregnated his young hottie, Nan Britton, who was 31 years his junior, resulting in the birth of Elizabeth Ann Britton Harding in 1919. And he didn’t stop there despite having been married to Florence since 1891. He had a 15-year booty call with Carrie Fulton Phillips while she was still married to his supposed friend James Phillips.

FDR married Eleanor in 1905 and later cheated with her personal secretary, Lucy Mercer, then with his personal secretary, Missy LeHand (and allegedly also with Princess Martha of Norway), and then again with Lucy until the very day he died in 1945.

Dwight Eisenhower was the husband of Mamie since 1916. And as the head (heh, heh, heh … he said head) of the Supreme Allied Command in Europe beginning in 1942 during WWII, he got more than a few rides on, I mean from, former British model Kay Summersby, his chauffeur of three years.

JFK had a magnificent wedding when he took Jacqueline as his dearly beloved in 1953. And rumors of his playboy tendencies were confirmed with Marilyn Monroe’s sultry and very public 1962 “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” tease. But that was just the tip (heh, heh, heh … he said tip) of the iceberg. Don’t forget about Angie Dickinson, Marlene Dietrich, Jayne Mansfield, Mary Pinchot, and the rest of them.

LBJ’s former press secretary, George Reedy, said Johnson, married to Lady Bird since 1934, had the sexual proclivities of “a Turkish sultan.” And Madeleine Brown, his mistress of 21 years, says he took care of her financially through his Brazos-Tenth Corporation and fathered her son Steven Mark Brown in 1950.

Bill Clinton, who became Hillary’s spouse in 1975, was questioned in 1998 about intercourse with a White House intern and said, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman … ” But can you say Monica Lewinsky, Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones?

Only Martha, Martha, Mary, Florence, Eleanor, Mamie, Jackie, Lady Bird, Hillary and Gloria should be concerned about any of this. And since none of them gives a shit about you and your marriage or civil union, then you have no right to intrude upon theirs. In the profound words of Hillary, “I learned a long time ago that the only two people who count in any marriage are the two people in it.”

Being president or holding any elective or appointed office has everything to do with public leadership, not private morality. And unless the sex those presidents had with those consenting adults outside of marriage and in private involved trading state secrets, then I’m quite sure that the U.S. government and its citizens suffered absolutely no harm whatsoever. So leave my man—I mean Gloria’s man—Herman alone. Allow him to go home, to stay home and to never leave the house—or the hotel room—ever again.

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