Thursday, November 1, 2012

Another Prostitution Scandal - This One Involving Senator Menendez of N.J.

A Democrat Senator goes to the Dominican Republic and hires a pair of hookers. After a few hours of fun, he doesn't pay them the agreed upon price, thus managing to stiff them both twice in a single transaction. What do you think - a game changing scandal?

The Democrat in question is Senator Bob Menendez of N.J. He is 58 years old and divorced. He is up for re-election next Tuesday. The most recent polls show that he holds a 14 point lead over his Republican challenger. The allegations against him have been raised by two prostitutes through their attorney and were published a few hours ago in the Daily Caller. Menendez himself has not yet responded to the allegations, but an aide, contacted yesterday, refused comment on the "false allegations."

Even assuming that these allegations are true, its not likely that this will be a game changer. True, client number nine, Gov. Eliot Spitzer, and Rep. Anthony Weiner, both Democrats, have been brought down by sex scandals in the recent past. But, both were married at the time, and in Spitzer's case, you had the yawning hypocrisy of him having spent years prosecuting organized prostitution in New York. With Weiner, it was the ignominy of him publicly broadcasting a picture of his woody across the internet. That was too much for even Democrats to swallow.

Spitzer and Weiner aside, Democrats have a track record of being incredibly forgiving of sex scandals. Bill Clinton is the poster child for Democrat tolerance. Before him, Barney Frank's squeeze was running a gay prostitution ring out of his apartment - forgiven. Gary Studds may not have read many books, but he did bend over a few pages in the halls of Congress prior to his reelection. Scandals of all sorts swirled around Ted Kennedy, but if his murder of Mary Jo Kopechne didn't stop his repeated reelection, no mere sex scandal would. For a more detailed history of Washington sex scandals of the past fifty years, see here.

Bottom line, this scandal, standing alone, isn't going to cause a 14 point swing among New Jersey voters between now and Tuesday. The only thing Senator Menendez could do to get himself in any appreciable trouble with his constituency over this allegation would be, if it is true, to lie and cover-up. But even then, it will be long after the election before a cover-up could be proven. Between today and next Tuesday, it will be just he said she said she said. Menendez will be safely ensconced in his seat for another six years before the issue will again arise.

This is not a game changer. All that said, Menendez would be wise to lay off the Viagra and for God's sake, learn the one lesson every government official in Washington should know by now - if you are going to hire foreign hookers, pay them their full asking price.

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