Burt Prelutsky

To prove that I’m not a total partisan when it comes to politicians, I’d like to take this opportunity to take Republican Senator John Ensign and Governor Mark Sanford out behind the woodshed for a good paddling. In case you haven’t heard, Ensign and Sanford are the latest politicians to be caught with their pants down. The fact that adultery seems to be as commonplace in politics as it is in show business shouldn’t shock me, but it does. The reason why I find it so surprising is because when actors, singers and TV personalities get found out, it costs them a great deal of money, as Mel Gibson recently discovered, but it doesn’t hurt their career. However, when the sexual escapades of politicians are uncovered, as Wilbur Mills, Gary Hart, Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Gary Condit, Eliot Spitzer and now Ensign and Sanford, come to find out, it’s “hasta la vista, baby” time.

I’m not suggesting it’s right that their careers should end up in the junkyard, even though I tend to regard politicians as second-rate human beings, who, so far as I can see, are as interchangeable as geese. Still, I generally feel that the appropriate punishment is doled out by the wife and her divorce attorney. While I am morally opposed to adultery, my general attitude is one of relief. It’s nice to know that for once, these creeps are screwing someone besides the American taxpayer.

Still, isn’t it curious that politicians, knowing that roughly 50% of the people would like to see them crash and burn simply because of their party affiliation, would place themselves in such jeopardy? But then, I’m also amazed time and again when people like Bernie Cornfeld, Robert Vesco and Bernard Madoff, manage to gyp so many people out of so much money. Am I really the only person in America who actually believes that if a deal sounds too good to be true, the proper response is to grab your wallet and run for your life?

In conclusion, I’d like to quote from an e-mail I recently received from a reader named J. Pyle. In response to a piece I had written ridiculing the state of higher education, he wrote: “I remember when ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies’ meant trying to figure out what’s wrong with those people. In fact, if your child is majoring in something that ends in ‘Studies,’ you better not turn their bedroom into a den, because that one is coming home after college.”

To which I would only add, that’s assuming you still own your home after taking out a second mortgage so your kid can waste four years studying how to be black, Hispanic, bisexual or lesbian.