“I should run on the double
I think I’m in trouble,
I think I’m in trouble.” — Lindsay Buckingham
It shouldn’t be any surprise that the conservative movement seems to be focused on the issues with the royal family and Dr. Seuss. Occasionally, we might complain about the identity issues with Mr. Potato Head. It is equal parts silly and infuriating. We fought an entire war so that we wouldn’t have to care about the royal family. Meanwhile, people are crying over books they probably never read and a toy no one has bought in years.
Meanwhile, the saga rages on over Andrew Cuomo. He has become increasingly embattled in the past few weeks because of an alleged coverup of deaths in nursing homes and now six women have come forward to allege various levels of harassment to assault.
Every story has its own layers and nuances. We begin with the nature of the coverage. Conservatives argue that Cuomo is getting off light. After all, mainstream media isn’t covering this thing 24/7. They have the audacity to cover other stuff that is actually news. We can’t all be like conservative media where we focus on culture wars all day long.
However, the seriousness of the differences should be pointed out. We start busting out into the what about song and dance. Okay, let’s go. What about Brett Kavanaugh. Okay, what about Brett Kavanaugh. Yes, he had fewer women accuse him of assault and those assaults happened years earlier, but they were ASSAULTS. Harassment and assault are two different animals. I would think that point would be obvious, but I guess it needs to be said again. Assault and harassment are not the same thing.
Yet, that’s not the biggest double standard. Yes, there may be differences on how these events are covered on either side. Coverage is just coverage at the end of the day. The real brass tacks comes in outcomes. What ends up happening to Cuomo is far more important than how his situation is covered in the mainstream media.
The allegations have been reported and he is getting his fair share of heat, but maybe conservative politicians in the same boat get more heat. I can tell you why. Cuomo is dead politically. Whether he falls on his sword now or in the coming months is no matter. He’s not winning high political office again. There’s no need to beat a decomposing corpse.
When you consider the history of Democrats and sex scandals, I can think of only one that has made it through to the other side. Bill Clinton seemingly overcame the Gennifer Flowers scandal to be elected president. It might look like he overcame the Monica Lewinsky scandal as well, but I’m not sure he did. The stain was so perverse it spread to his vice president Al Gore.
Otherwise, the minefield is rife with Democratic politicians that have seen their careers go in the toilet due to sex scandals. You had Gary Hart in the 1980s, John Edwards, Elliot Spitzer, and Anthony Weiner in the 2000s. In the last decade we saw Al Franken go under as well. Now, whether they deserved their fate is certainly debatable. I’d surmise it largely depends on the situation. All cases should be treated on a case by case basis. Edwards and Weiner seem particularly disgusting. I’d say Hart and Franken got a raw deal.
Still, let’s compare that to what happens with Republican politicians under the same circumstances. I’m trying really hard to remember a prominent Republican brought down by a sex scandal. Kavanaugh and Thomas are still on the Supreme Court. Trump was still allowed to be president. Jim Jordan hasn’t been driven from his seat in Congress despite his alleged knowledge of sexual assault as a wrestling coach. Mark Sanford did lose his seat as governor, but it didn’t prevent him from later becoming a representative.
Here’s the point. The double standard is not really about how these situations are covered. The double standard comes in the end result. Democrats are driven from office. Republicans get to keep their positions as long as they want. That has little to do with the media. Liberal and conservative media will always be harder on their opponents than they are themselves. That’s natural. The question comes down to what the voters do.
For all of their talk about personal responsibility, I don’t see a ton in the Republican party. Issues like character only seem to be important when it involves the other guy or girl. When your own candidate has character issues you suddenly hear crickets. Ultimately, you get to make whatever decision you want. If you are committed enough to call yourself a Democrat or Republican then you get to decide the bar your candidates have to clear. You can decide what foibles you can live with. Maybe extramarital affairs and occasional harassment is okay. Maybe knowledge of abuse as a coach is okay. Maybe they can grab women by the privates. If all of that is okay for your guy then you don’t get to opine on what’s okay for our guy. You don’t get to complain about coverage. You get to sit down and shut up.