On air: Does the sex life of politicians matter?



The Berlusconi’s very public falling out is grabbing headlines — and has grabbed our attention.   The Italian Prime Minister has nwo demanded an apology from his wife. This after she said she wanted a divorce accusing him of “consorting with minors”

This is all in the middle of campaigning for the EU elections. So might it affect the way Italians vote? Does what politicians get up to in their private lives matter?

Remember how much was written about Jacob Zuma’s colourful past during the South African election? But his ANC party was still elected with a big majority and Mr Zuma is now set to be South Africa’s next president.

and Iceland has just elected its first openly gay leader.

So does the sex life of politicians matter? Do you think it influences the way they approach their job?

74 Responses to “On air: Does the sex life of politicians matter?”

  1. 1 steve
    May 4, 2009 at 14:42

    I think it only matters if it’s relevant to their jobs or positions. In the US, we recently had a Senator, who is a conservative republican, who is anti gay rights, get caught trying to solicit gay sex in an airport bathroom. Because it shows he’s a hypocrite, it’s relevant. Also, democrat John Edwards, had an affair on his wife while she was undergoing cancer treatments, and the woman he had an affair with had a contract of over 100k dollars to work for his campaign, so he was basically paying the woman he was having sex with with campaign funds. So that’s relevant.

    But if a politician is gay, who cares? So long as they aren’t hypocrites. If they are unmarried and are promiscuous, who cares so long as they aren’t hypocrites about it. However I do think if someone is an adulterer, it means they are untrustworthy, and hence something the public has a right to know, but given they are politicans, I think that’s a given anyways.

  2. 2 agaidagan
    May 4, 2009 at 14:49

    If your sex life has any baring on policy then yes, it matters a lot, otherwise no, its personal. In berlusconi’s case I think the jury’s out at the moment given his age and some of his playmates youthful years. Maybe his wife leaving might be a hard, neccessary message that will wake him up to his stupidity but given some of the things I’ve read about him, I don’t hold out much hope. I don’t hold out much hope for the italian people to do anything either.

  3. 3 Chedondo, JOHANNESBURG
    May 4, 2009 at 14:52

    The sex lives of politicians are their private details. The problem arises I think when they make public statements, in their official capacity, that turn out to be inconsistent with their actual practice. Berlusconi can have as many mistresses as he wants – no one can ever accuse him of being a bad role model. He can’t be a role model. I would understand if Catholics raised a fracas about Bishop Lugo’s little indiscretions because he was a Bishop, sworn to celibacy when he committed them. Berlusconi is just a regular guy from the street and he can do what he wants, short of breaking the law.

  4. 4 Tom K in Mpls
    May 4, 2009 at 15:05

    Nothing shows how nasty people can be more than a divorce! It’s a live soap opera. TV ratings show that people love soap operas. Since by all accounts, Berlusconi has been a good leader, playing within the rules. His wife worked with it. If he hasn’t changed I would think he’s doing fine. Personal issues play no part as long as it is legal.

    Now, if the Italian people don’t like the idea of having young good looking women in the theater they call politics, that’s another issue.

  5. May 4, 2009 at 15:12

    Sex is still a deadly weapon when it comes to politics. In the USA many politicians, including presidential candidates had to fall because of their sex scandals. In Israel, ex-President Katsav had to resign because of sex harassment towards a number of women and the list of sex and politics can never be exhausted.

    However the sex of life of politicians does matter, especially when it comes to extramarital relationship or bawdy behaviour. It doesn’t make sense to elect a sex maniac as this can change the attitudes towards the moral authority a politician should have. Politicians are still expected to be conservative when it comes to sex. In France , which is still considered as one of the most liberal countries, President Sarkozy caused a storm in French society after his divorce and relationship with his current wife before they got married.

    The image of a politician as a family person still plays a part in being or not being elected. As such politicians have to be above flesh temptations. Even for gay politicians, it’s one thing to be a committed gay and it is another to be a promiscuous gay. As the private life of politicians still mattesr in its smallest details, it goes without saying that their sex life matters the most when it comes to marital or casual relationships.

  6. 6 Kelly, from Chicago, IL, USA
    May 4, 2009 at 15:19

    I think the public focus on the sex lives of politicians is pretty pointless. Sex is a focus because it is viewed (at least in the US) as dirty and immoral. There does seem to be a lot of deception involved in the sex lives of those in power, and that’s very unfortunate for those involved. It sets a very bad model and probably leads to lots of emotional distress in their personal lives. However, I doubt it’s really any of our business. If we focused more on how our politicians serve us publicly we might be able to force them to perform better in the public sphere rather than punishing people for their private lives.

  7. 7 Tony from Singapura
    May 4, 2009 at 15:31

    If a politition’s indiscretions are in the public spotlight then that is a good thing because they will not find themselves comprimised in a blackmail situation.

    The only other problem is hypocrisy, if a politition is a moral crusader and is found out to be enjoying some hanky-panky then there is a credibility issue.

    For cases where a politition is not crusading on a moral or religeous platform, then I dont care about his/her sex life.

  8. May 4, 2009 at 15:42

    As a voter or citizen, I will certainly take note of what the politicians in my community are up to. However, sometimes, there misbehaviours especially sexually may not be enough a reason to vote them out especially seeing that their rivals could be involved in similar or worse misdemeanours.
    I may not agree with their lifestyles, but I am under no illusion that I will always be led by ‘pure’ people. I doubt if the Berlusconis’ ‘crisis’ will affect Italian vote on the EU election, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a few people choose to vent their annoyance with Mr. Berlusconi on the vote if they think it will affect him as a person.

  9. May 4, 2009 at 15:48

    Just as any other person, our sex life should not have any relationship with our personality, it is absolutely private, it concerns no body. I think.

  10. May 4, 2009 at 15:49

    Agaidagan: How do we know if a politicians sex life will eventually have any baring on policy? Answer: we will never know. But I think we should learn to live with politicians whose lifestyle we do not accept and whom we will never want to end up like. I dont have to love people to do business with them.

  11. 11 Jennifer
    May 4, 2009 at 16:01

    Re: So does the sex life of politicians matter? Do you think it influences the way they approach their job?

    I’d rather not know the details of other peoples’ sex lives…..but there is that curiosity for some people…If someone has instances in their background that are less than flattering, their rivals will use it against them.

    All in all, I think that if you have a public job, you should be able to handle that curiosity. Having public fights and making your relationship public is a choice. If you do that, then you have given an invitation into your private life. However, there are times in politics, when it’s taken on crazy proportions and someone’s personal life is used against them when it shouldn’t be.

    I think a person’s personal choices influence everything about them; including the way they approach their job. It seems to me that ones’ decision making process would be similar in all situations.

  12. 12 Abram
    May 4, 2009 at 16:09

    Yes, it does! Whether in private or in public life, when the leadership of a nation is divorced from ethics, then it’s reduced to management, and politics to mere technique. Mr. Berlusconi too back power in Italy, and he already feels like an Italian heroe and a European savior. He demonstated that several times, recently, at the NATO Meeting in Germany where he kept Chancelor Angela Merkel waiting for hime, for minutes, now he is trying to annoy his own wife, and soon, it’s programmed for sure, that he will end up exhausted, overwhelmed, and deeply stressed.

  13. 13 Shaun in Halifax
    May 4, 2009 at 16:14

    Let’s play a game. Pretend that you have to choose between the following three candidates:

    candidate a: associates with crooked politicians, and consults with astrologists. had two mistresses. he also chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10 martinis a day.

    candidate b: was kicked out of office twice, rises from bed at 11am, used opium in college and drinks champagne, brandy, and whiskey to excess every day.

    candidate c: a decorated war hero. vegetarian, doesn’t smoke or drink, and hasn’t had any extramarital affairs.

    Who would you vote for?

    Oh, and by the way:

    Candidate A is Teddy Roosevelt
    Candidate B is Winston Churchill
    Candidate C is Adolf Hitler

    So No, a leader’s personal life doesn’t matter.

  14. 14 agaidagan
    May 4, 2009 at 16:28

    chedondo, whats your take on zuma?, he’s got a pretty colourful history and is now in high office. Will his idea of marital bliss effect the south african morals or do people generally accept him for what he is and move on?

  15. 15 Patti in Cape Coral, FL
    May 4, 2009 at 16:30

    A politician’s private life shouldn’t matter, but it does.

  16. 16 Steve/Oregon
    May 4, 2009 at 16:34

    The sexual life of a politician should never be tolerated to even be brought up in conversation. Honestly the more deviant the politicians behavoir that more likely i would be to vote for them. Because a well satisfied person is a well focused person.

  17. 17 Muthee in Nairobi
    May 4, 2009 at 16:56

    Hi WHYS,
    If we were to look at the sex lives of politicians around the world and use them as yardsticks, then I guess we wouldn’t be having any politician. Confusing huh?

  18. 18 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    May 4, 2009 at 17:00

    Hi WHYSers!

    No! Sex is a private matter between consenting adults. Hopefully, the electorate is savvy enough to recognise this. The sex lives of politicians only matters where their activities are conducted in public and where they are breaking the law. Outside of that, there is no reason to care what politicians are doing on their private time, sexually!

  19. 19 CJ McAuley
    May 4, 2009 at 17:02

    Unlike in the past, it seems that politicians are increasingly under a microscope in the late 20th& early 21st century. That may well be for the good, but I wonder who would want to run for an office if this continues? Could any of our lives stand up to such scrutiny? Berlusconi is a special case, for he is obviously a cad. As was “Slick Willie”, and look where it got him! If the uproar over Ms.Smith’s expenses shows nothing else, it should all we “unwashed plebeians” that politicians and their spouses are human as well!

  20. 20 agaidagan
    May 4, 2009 at 17:07

    Chedondo, whats your take on jacob zuma and his sexual history? Do’es it bother y’all out there in south africa or do’es it have no relevence in day to day life?

  21. 21 viola
    May 4, 2009 at 17:13

    If you agree with the notion that sex, in general, is an extremely important, maybe even paramount, drive in a human being’s life, especially men’s, then, yes, sex and how the leader gratifies his or her sexual needs is relevant and important as indicative of that person’s character particularly in regard to his trustworthiness.

  22. 22 agaidagan
    May 4, 2009 at 17:23

    Nengak, if a politician is a closit homosexual and trys to bring in laws against homosexuality then, yes, it do’es matter that the electate know. And believe me it has happened with a number of politicians, to be saying one thing and doing another for the sake of votes and power.

  23. 23 nora
    May 4, 2009 at 17:31

    Cheers to Shaun in Halifax. Brilliant. In the 1970’s we began the decade with the old rules: Ignore the politician’s mistress unless she comes to you as a source. By the end of it, we were nosing into Jimmy Carter’s ‘lust in his heart’. Fashion changed in journalism when right-wing Christians and anti-porn feminists found common interest in examining the old boy networks. Good or bad? Some of both.

    I prefer the old rules, when getting in bed with dictators were seen as more obscene than a weekend with a couple of hookers.

  24. 24 Orsi from Hungary
    May 4, 2009 at 17:39

    I think anyone’s sex-life is an absolute private matter, so is mine and so is any other politician’s and celebrity’s. Such “news” shouldn’t affect anyone’s voting. In these economically difficult times people should consider the achievements of a politician and not his libido.. at least I will do so on the EU elections..

  25. 25 Rob (UK)
    May 4, 2009 at 17:46

    I definitely depends. A person’s sexuality shouldn’t matter, but if a politician acts illegally and that behaviour is related to sex – well, that’s a matter of public interest.

  26. 26 Andrew in Australia
    May 4, 2009 at 17:56

    Sure does. We choose politicians to lead the nation or state etc and as such they must be not only seen, but actually be people who are worthy of the job entrusted to them. Their sex lives show a side to them that typically demonstrates how unworthy they are. It is good to see they are human but as an elected leader they should be above all the unseemly aspects of what we generally find. Should a teacher exhibit such activity they are persecuted as not appropriate individuals to be teaching children as one example. We need leaders who are above reproach, certainly a Utopian view, but one we should feel entitled to expect from state representatives and not lecherous or lascivious individuals more interested in chasing sex partners than running the affairs of state. Just as you would not expect a politician to be a drunkard or addict, a gambler or psychopath. Speaking of Jacob Zuma I for one would not have any faith in this individual as a leader, corruption issues aside, details of his sexual activities just indicate what type of personality and what makes up this man. We are defined by our actions and to have a sex life is one thing, but the quality of it is a greater indicator of the person behind the mask.

  27. 27 Dale
    May 4, 2009 at 17:56

    If politicians can’t stay faithful to their partners in marriage (whatever gender or sex they are) then as a member of the public, I personally don’t feel that I can trust them to consider the best interrests of the people of our nation. Politicians are public servants, many people seem to forget that.

    Politics at this level is not simply a job as ‘steve’ suggests in his post. Being a politican is more like a vocation. Their role is to SERVE the pubic.

    chedondo, Johannsburg suggests that politicians sex lives are private is underestimating the risks involved. History has proved that many government secrets and the security of our countries have been placed at risk because politicians have ‘dropped’ their guard with ‘pillow talk ‘ in extra-marital relationships. If Berlusconi takes his role as a politician seriously he should give up claims of “regular guy” status.

  28. 28 Assiya
    May 4, 2009 at 17:56


    Sex is a private matter so long as it remains private. The moment it is practised in sucgh a way that the public ends up knowing about it then it becomes a public matter. This does not apply only to politicians, but to any individual who’s behaviours must be responsable for and accountable to a society. Such as parents, teachers, judges actors, politicians and who ever else you happen to think of.

  29. 29 Tom D Ford
    May 4, 2009 at 18:12

    Henry Kissinger, not a classically handsome man, said words something like “Power is an aphrodisiac”. He had affairs with some very beautiful women because of his positions of power.

  30. 30 Sarah
    May 4, 2009 at 18:13

    In the US, we survived the Clinton Scandal which almost seems silly looking back. What we’ve dealt with since then is so much more important and difficult. I really don’t care about the details of the sex lives of our leaders, but I care greatly about their character. Their marriage is between them and God – their character impacts that for which we have elected them.

  31. 31 Jonathan (dazzling San Francisco)
    May 4, 2009 at 18:17

    By popular stereotype, British political scandals are about sex; American ones are about money. And the French are surely puzzled at what all the fuss is about.

    San Francisco

  32. 32 Nate, Portland OR
    May 4, 2009 at 18:18

    I think this is one of those issues where the particulars matter a whole lot. Extramarital sex is certainly a character issue, and is a very legitimate issue for voters. Sex with adolescents, rape, or other criminal sex should be grounds for expulsion from office and criminal charges. Sex that exposes politically significant hypocrisy (e.g. Larry Craig, the crusading anti-homosexual senator caught soliciting sex in a men’s bathroom) should be grounds for voluntary retirement or expulsion by the guilty’s party, but not via the justice system.

    In most cases, however, it seems extramarital sex by politicians is of the old-fashioned powerful men & beautiful women variety. In such cases it is as significant as the voters determine it to be. It should most certainly not be enough to bring down a government in parliamentary systems, nor should it be allowed to become a tool by opposition members to hound the guilty. Bill Clinton’s situation was a travesty in this last regard. He was doing a fine job as president (at least according to US opinion polls), and should have been allowed to finish his term productively.

  33. 33 archibald in oregon
    May 4, 2009 at 18:19

    Sex and/or sexual orientation would not make such a difference if society, as a whole, were not still so preoccupied with its implications. Granted, there are differences in the sexes as there are propensities in the gender one defines him or herself with. This should not bolster nor detract from a persons credibility, electability and/or ability to execute the job at hand. The fact that they are politicians informs much more about their character than their sexuality. Strength of character should be the only factor of any true relevance.

  34. 34 steve
    May 4, 2009 at 18:19

    What about the case of someone like James McGreevy, the former governor of NJ? Say if he hadn’t had been caught having sex with a man, who admitted he had sex with McGreevy, but instead, McGreevy came out on his own without having been caught red handed, how would he be viewed, given he still basically lied to his wife about his sexual orientation. YOu don’t suddenly become homosexual, so he was being dishonest with his wife, and hence shouldn’t the public think he was being dishonest to them?

  35. 35 Anthony
    May 4, 2009 at 18:19

    This woman keeps talking about them cheating, but what if they are just people who love sex and don’t want any kind of monogamous relationship? Would that be OK?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  36. 36 Cynthia
    May 4, 2009 at 18:25

    Sexual orientation shouldn’t have any impact on the credibility of a politician. Berlusconi is a joke – what else can you say about a PM who appoints reality stars and beauty contestants to cabinet positions? Who regularly denigrates women and homosexuals to the public? I agree with the panelist who made the point about trustworthiness and loyalty – in a committed relationship either gay or straight. And the Oregon mayor who had a tryst with the 18-year old intern – that says more about the disturbing use of power to leverage a relationship, rather than whether it was same sex or not.

  37. 37 steve
    May 4, 2009 at 18:27

    @ Anthony

    Then why would they be married? If they don’t want a monagamous relationship, they shouldn’t get married, let alone present themselves to the public as being married. Isn’t it being dishonest to represent yourself one day, and be something else? It shows dishonesty, even if they are being honest with themselves, they are being dishonest to the public, and hence the public shouldn’t trust them unless they actually came out and said “we have a sham marriage, it’s open”. I have no problem with people being promiscuous so long as they don’t spread STDs, but if you want to be that way, don’t get married.

  38. 38 magdalen
    May 4, 2009 at 18:27

    Portland, Oregon, USA was just mentioned on the radio.

    We are recalling our mayor not because he is gay! We loved our out-of-the-closet, gay mayor-elect. We’re recalling him because he had an inappropriate relationship (and kissed a teenaged intern under 18 years old). He was older AND had an unfair power relationship with the kid in question. This showed terrible judgement.

    We’d want a mayor with a decent sense of judgement even if his morality was dubious. Sam Adams is smart. He knew better, and he CHOSE to act that stupidly. In these uncertain times, we deserve a leader we can all trust and work with in a spirit of civic unity. He should step down.

    If Mayor Sam Adams were a heterosexual man who’d kissed a 17-year-old female involved in his campaign, he would already have been kicked out of office. If our laws protect youth from sexual predators, they should protect young gay males, too.

    If we want to say that it’s OK for older people in positions of power to canoodle with minors, well, let’s change the laws.

  39. 39 Tom D Ford
    May 4, 2009 at 18:30

    Apparently some politicians confuse the idea of “serving” the public with “servicing” the public.

  40. 40 Snorri-Iceland
    May 4, 2009 at 18:32

    I completely disagree with Baldur. It is true that the media did not know how to handle the question of Jóhanna´s sexuality but I sincerely believe that 99% of Icelanders do not care about that issue. They had more important questions to ask. Jóhanna has fought tooth and nail for the rights of the regular citizens of this country for 30 years and her sexuality has never been an issue. We are lucky to have media that doesn´t bother with issues that don´t matter. We, Icelanders, laugh at reports from the US where people think your sexuality says where you should live and where you should go after you die. Truly sad in this day and age.

  41. 41 Gunnar
    May 4, 2009 at 18:36

    The sex life of politicians can matter if they have an secret affair og are secret gays. This can make them wonerable to black mail that can affect theire dissisions
    Gunnar from Iceland

  42. 42 Jonathan (dazzling San Francisco)
    May 4, 2009 at 18:36

    President Clinton had sordid affairs but ran the country well. President George W. Bush was never touched by a whiff of marital scandal, but his tenure was a catastrophe. For me, that says it all.

    San Francisco

  43. 43 M H Rudolph
    May 4, 2009 at 18:38

    In this as in other examples, there seems to be a tipping point at which the public begins to object to an elected official’s private scandals. Most of the time, they are patient and generally forgiving. I believe that the public is wise to be concerned when that official’s attention is consumed by private problems and the press coverage of them. They understand that the elected official cannot serve them well, that they are not managing well, and at some point their patience becomes exhausted.

  44. 44 Charles Freeland
    May 4, 2009 at 18:38

    The issue of duplicity is an extreme over simplification of how the human mind and heart work. In a culture which enforces only one legal form of coupling as legitimate, many people find no socially acceptable outlet for lifestyle choice which are preferable to them. This forces them to either live an fulfilling life or hide their love lives. If they are found out for hiding their love lives, they are call duplicitous people and groups with an agenda. Sex and politics are only linked by religious groups who wish to force their version of morality on the rest of the population.

    There are countless examples through out history of great political leaders who none-the-less lead hidden love lives. JFK, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr. all are believed to have had affairs while all remained upstanding and righteous leaders.

  45. 45 C.Washington
    May 4, 2009 at 18:43

    If honesty is what we want in our politicians, what would happen if the politician openly engage in seedy relationships, and this was okay with their significant other?

  46. 46 Evan (Oregon, USA)
    May 4, 2009 at 18:48

    Here in the U.S. we have a former President and Vice President who started a war based on lies, broke international law regarding treatment of detainees, and facilitated a breakdown of the global economy through deregulation. But that’s all OK, because they didn’t have consensual oral sex with an intern like the previous President. (Would you do that with Bush or Cheney? Eewww!)

    I am certainly not condoning extramarital relationships, but on what basis should we establish trustworthiness or morality?

    Are we having an inappropriate relationship with Iraq?

    Why is it always different when it is about sex?

  47. 47 Zaki
    May 4, 2009 at 18:48

    When a leader who is not fair in his personal life how can he become a role model for the nation. Life can not be divided into sections like social, personal, political and religious; life matters as a whole. Whenever we will segregate our lives into sections these kind of situations will arise. Because religion is the unifying force which builds a mans life on strong footings as a single personality; perfect in every aspect. Of course these types of leaders can not be a true leader of any nation

  48. 48 Patti in Cape Coral, FL
    May 4, 2009 at 18:50

    Maybe Mrs. Berlusconi is trying to set an example for her country’s women, so that women don’t feel they have to tolerate that kind of behavior from their husbands, but obviously, it is much easier for Mrs. Berlusconi to do this, as she is not likely to suffer financially from a divorce as an average woman would.

  49. 49 Snorri-Iceland
    May 4, 2009 at 18:54

    I guess it is all about what the voters think. If Obama was gay, he would not be president, simple as that. He is a media darling now because his candidacy suffered through a baptism of fire from the spin doctors of the Republican party. Now the media have nothing on him and focus on his choice of puppy for the white house and his wifes wardrobe.

  50. 50 Elwyn Jones
    May 4, 2009 at 18:56

    What a twisted and perverse woman this Lady Berlusconi. She has the richest and most powerful guy in Italy by the short-and-curleys; now she want’s to throw it all away because of some “imagined” situation. (Though in her defence, she may have been emotionally hurt, and Western law gives her no other option!) – If she was any good as a wife and partner; she would be out there with her husband helping him select these young political candidates and with him, attending this young “daughter’s” party. Her twisted perversion is matched only by your caller from New York! Mr Berlusconi is right in asking fpor an apology. “Fidelity”, “Adultary” and “Marriage Vows” are words that have nothing to do with sex outside marriage; but have everything to do with considering one’s marriage partner the most important person in the world, in every way possible! Likewise, the word “Lust” has nothing to do with carnal pleasure; but comes from the Greek work “epithemio”, which best translates to the Japanese word “gambata”; which basically means, to want something; or to “go for it”. – It’s time we grew up out of the post Elizabethan (Elizabeth I) world. As far as Politicians are concerned; it’s the question of declaring his interests! – And any un-declared interests of any politician are extremely suspect. Your responses from Africa are more enlightening; why dont you also try to get callers from China and Polynesia? (For example)

  51. 51 Dale
    May 4, 2009 at 18:57

    If a politician was physically abusive, verbally abusive to their families etc the nation would need to know about it. The nation they are serving have a right to know about it.


  52. 52 Mitch from Oregon
    May 4, 2009 at 18:58

    In the U.S we seem to put our politicians on the same pedestal as celebrities, sometimes even higher. I think that politicians personal sex life should be kept where it takes place…in the bed room. Whether one politician is involved in same sex relations or not.
    I don’t want to know what the sexual activities or sexual preferences are for politicians but more importantly what that particular politician is doing to provide a better future for his or her nation and the world.

  53. 53 Monica Sandor
    May 4, 2009 at 18:59

    Just reading up on the story – it’s not the divorce or even her annoyance at being cheated that should have Italy up in arms. It’s his wife’scomplaint that he is appointing inexperienced but attractive women on the electoral list for the European parliament that says a lot about Berlusconi as a politician.

    Certainly this affects his political impact. It may be he is doing so to thumb his nose at the EU, it may be that his wife is picking up this point to feed his opponents as a way of taking her revenge on him. But the bottom line is, if this is true, he has proven, again, that he is more joker and playboy than a serious political leader.

  54. 54 Yasmine
    May 4, 2009 at 19:03

    in general, i do not think someone’s personal indiscretions necessarily make them bad politicians, even if it entails hypocrisy (France for instance has a “grand” tradition in that way).

    however, i would like to point out the similarity between the Icelandic prime minister’s function as a role model, and Berlusconi’s buffoonery.

    In the Icelandic case, the prime minister’s example both reflects and reinforces a certain moral stance (in her case a liberal attitude towards homosexuality). In Italy, what is interesting is not so much that Berlusconi is getting in trouble now, but that he has not earlier.

    In Italy, Berlusconi’s success was exactly due to the fact that a large part of the electorate LIKES that he is a bigoted, immoral, macho, and mysogynistic *expletive*. It is not only entertaining to many Italians, to many Italian men it is also something of an aspiration. Berlusconi is what many Italian men dream to be, which is why they vote for him. All of this is, moreover, in Italian culture sanctioned by the idea of the “good wife.” It is not only highly entertaining but high time that the main “Good Wife,” madame Berlusconi, has finally had enough. That it took an 18-year old calling Berlusconi “Daddy” (ha!) only makes it all the more sweet.

  55. 55 Tom D Ford
    May 4, 2009 at 19:03

    Maybe if politicians paid much more attention to their girlfriends or boyfriends they would pay less attention to screwing their countries people. Maybe more sex is better than less sex!

  56. 56 Otis
    May 4, 2009 at 19:03

    Assuming there’s nothing illegal and/or egregiously immoral about a politician’s sex life, I don’t think it’s any of our business. Note that I do not consider homosexuality immoral. However, I do think there’s a problem when a politician is actively hiding aspects of his or her sexuality. The potential for blackmail makes it relevant and important that these people have no secrets they are desperate to keep secret. This being the case, I see nothing wrong with an openly homosexual politician, but I see a big problem with a politician who is a closeted homosexual.

    May 4, 2009 at 19:07

    The divorce of the Italian Prime Minister should not hinder his success. Recent trends suggest that most voters do not care about the so called spouses given the liberated times we live in.
    We tend too to see divorce at times as a solution to a marriage that does not function instead of allowing people to live in hypocrisy and pretended bliss which may not exist. After all, I am not sure who are majority with regards to married vs singles.

  58. 58 archibald in oregon
    May 4, 2009 at 19:08

    Even though lying about ones sexual escapades is lying plain and simple. It is important to note the stigmas which surround sex in general, heterosexual or homosexual. Just because someone would lie about sex does not mean that they would lie about matters of national security, most politicians do that regularly anyways.
    I think we as a society accept that politicians are inherent liars and trust that the system will ultimately sort them out, though there is very little evidence to support that. Consider that, if you had to make as many concessions as politicians do, you would come off as a liar too…… My biggest question is about the delusions that keep politicians believing that they will never be caught in the devastating lies that have made and broken many a political figure. Narcissists never learn…..

  59. 59 Akintunde
    May 4, 2009 at 19:21

    If the leader is an adult and he/she has a sexual affair with another adult and he/ she does the job of governing very well, i dont think the public should meddle with this cos it might really affect the way the rule. The same argument goes with the use of marijuana. really there should be a limit to the extent that the public interfere with the private lives of individual just because they want to be pretend to all be morally upright. Would we have prefared if they did this things insecret? I am glad for the people of iceland and the acceptance of freedom in itself. Akintunde from Nigeria

  60. 60 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    May 4, 2009 at 19:26

    @ Steve/ Oregon:

    Earlier i agreed with your views re a satisfied person being a focussed person and it did not make it onto the board, perhaps in part because the tone sounded too provocative (?). Still, at any rate, I agree wholeheartedly with your other post about when issues related to the sex lives of politicians should matter to an electorate, whether regarding breaking the law, questions of publicly stated morality (like anti-homosexual crusaders, etc.), or extra-marital affairs in the sense in which it shows the readiness of those who offer themselves for public office for leadership. What all this says, ironically, however is that the sex lives of politicians do matter and can affectt their chances at election, etc. There is a fine line which must be taken, therefore, between voyeurism in the interests of the titilating and tawdry details about peoples’ private lives, and valid political concerns about character and leadership.

  61. 61 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    May 4, 2009 at 19:33

    I suppose the real question is, where do we draw that line and how do we make the distinction, in terms of the extent to which some people will/ may be affected by their perceptions of someone else’s sexuality and sexual choices, as a result? There is need for an established code of conduct for media treatment of such issues; for instance, what was the goal of the public assasination of former President Clinton’s character re the Monica Lewinsky issue and whose interests were being served by it? These are clearly not easy questions to answer, given just how political and thorny they often can become. More to the point, issues surrounding sex seem to galvanise our collective interests in certain ways, especially when the people involved as public figures. Celebrity, politics and sex are an unsually high ratings pull for most media and hence the lines will always be blurred, sadly!

  62. 62 Anumu-Mensah Paul Quesi
    May 4, 2009 at 19:35

    It is all about the values and manners of the country. In africa i dont think a lesbian could win a political position. The idea is a person with good maners will be good at managing people than a a person with a bad one. If their sex lifes reflex what is accepted to the people ( polygamous marriages in Africa) then i think it ok. But if its not then it is not acceptable because it indicate a bad morales to the people.

  63. 63 Ridhwaan in Zambia
    May 4, 2009 at 19:47

    It all comes down to the question of morality. Will a person who cannot have stability in their private life and be able to make the correct personal decisions be trusted with the running of a country? I think not.

    May 4, 2009 at 19:54

    It is likely that there is family power struggle between the Burlesconis. What the Mrs. is complaining of is the existence of the door through which she entered into her present family union. They have been married for many years and she withstood that. Why sleez now?

    I is also common knoledge that women tend to be attracted to men in power. There seems to be talk about sexual scandals where I am not sure I have the evidence. These are probably just mere allegations but look at all these accusations. There were issues too which made Italians vote for him. If he is still fullfiling those roles, his sex life may not be all important on how they judge him. Sexual conservatism is undergoing a lot of challenges everywhere leave alone Italy.

  65. May 4, 2009 at 20:46

    Controversial sex lifes are betther not known.

    May 4, 2009 at 21:09

    I think if you are a politician you are a leader and a good leader must always live by showing good examples otherwise you are a failure .

  67. 67 Dennis Junior
    May 5, 2009 at 04:42

    No, I don’t think that sexual lives of a politican matters…But, it is always good entertainment!!!

    ~Dennis Junior~

  68. 68 Rachel in California, USA
    May 5, 2009 at 06:15

    The sex life of politicians matters–to the politicians and their intimates.

    If the politicians are hiring or heeding the views of unqualified or biased persons because they are sexually attractive or sexually involved with the politicians, as Berlusconi is said to do, that matters to the general public.

    If the politicians are distracted by their sexual adventures, if they are pursuing sex in their work hours while the taxpayers are paying their salaries, as Bill Clinton was said to do, that’s unacceptable.

    And I personally regard sexual excess (of any sexual orientation) as a sign of poor impulse control that could well show up in a sense of narcissistic entitlement, a willingness to accept bribes, or a tendency to act on the basis of personal whim rather than the public good.

    Sexual orientation is not important, within the general bounds of responsible adult behavior.

  69. 69 globalcomedy
    May 5, 2009 at 06:25

    As long as it doesn’t get in the way of your job, it shouldn’t matter. But the reality is this. Politicians have no private life. You can argue that all day long. But once you decide to run, you’re fair game.

    If you’re a hypocritical gay politician who purposely hurts the lives of other gay people, shoudl you be outed? Yes. Because then you have no one to blame but yourself.

  70. 70 globalcomedy
    May 5, 2009 at 06:54

    There’s a new documentary here in the States about gay people working in Washington D.C. Supposedly, D.C. has the largest gay population in the States. And, a large number of closeted staffers AND Congresspeople.

    If someone is outed by this film, what do they do? You can threaten, sue and try to intimidate. But legally, truth is the ultimate defense. Which means either you spend tons of money on legal fees. You say nothing and add even more to the MSM orgy of speculation. Or, you come out because you have no other choice.

    The sad truth is here in the States, someone’s sex life is a very profitable weapon. And unless you have hundreds of thousands of dollars for legal fees, maybe you shouldn’t be a politician.

  71. 71 Tom D Ford
    May 5, 2009 at 19:44

    There is a common idea that men in power misuse their power and are to blame for sexual peccadilloes, but the other side of it is that some women act like stalkers in their attraction to powerful men. I see Monica Lewinsky as one example of being so enthralled that she stalked Clinton.

    I believe that in history powerful women have also misused their power to get the men that they wanted sexually, Cleopatra, for example.

  72. 72 Dennis
    May 6, 2009 at 09:53

    It only affects/interests me, if I’m part of it. Which hasn’t happened yet.
    This is as bad as the “entertainment news as to which “star” is having it off with someone, or having a baby.
    It’s not news, it’s jibberish.

  73. 73 Guido
    May 6, 2009 at 15:18

    Hi I’m Guido from italy about this situation I think that i fu r prome mimister you’ve to be carefull in your behavior in private life becuse also that is important ifu want led the country you can’t say I don’t mind about thinghs

    Guido from Italy

  74. May 6, 2009 at 23:48

    my president has a wife 32 years younger, berlusconi? thoz ladies were equally that young. no problem. thesis: relationships are a complex science with no yet established theory. conclusion-conduct yo private life as you see it fit. viva berlasconi

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