JFK’s secret love affair revealed after 40 years. Not exactly a shocking revelation to find that Jack Kennedy shagged even more women behind Jackie’s back than previously revealed. The difference between this particular notch in the Kennedy bed post and his other serial philandering was that ‘Mimi’ was a 19 year old intern at the Whitehouse. Does this sound remarkably similar to a rather more recent Democratic President?
In the 60s the press corps were prepared to turn a blind eye to these Carry-On style romps, unlike today’s media and the public culture which respectively supply and demand sleaze with an insatiable appetite. In the 60s the media and the women involved both thought they should keep their mouths closed, unlike Monica Lewinski (and presumably got their dresses dry-cleaned if they had kept their mouths open but didn’t follow through).
How much of the difference between these eras is due to the erosion of public respect for the institutions of government? How much is due to the erosion of public respect for the institutions of government caused by these kinds of revelations about leaders who can’t keep it in their pants? And then there is the question of what extra marital affairs have to do with a president’s work – why do we care if they are always on the job as long as they actually do their job as well? Surely anything else is a matter for the philanderer and his wife? While I am all for the Fourth Estate investigating and revealing executive abuses of power, but surely there are more important matters than who they boned on the Oval Office desk? I mean this is not exactly Woodward and Bernstein, is it? So different in France where President Mitterand’s mistress was invited to the state funeral.
Still, the BBC pointed out one wonderfully delicious coincidence in this ‘new’ expose: while this was all going on guess which young student was introduced to his hero, Jack Kennedy? A young man named Bill Clinton. History does indeed have a sense of humour. The saddest part of this whole tawdry tale is that I am now contemplating becoming the leader of a major nation in a desperate attempt to get some more sex. And I want them to write about it! Tell the world!
“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask how many of your countrywomen you can do.”