Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Why don't female politicians fall into the trap of infidelity?

I posed a question to my friends this week: Why do so few, if any, women politicians fall into the trap of infidelity?

I received varied answers, but the consensus surprised me: Women in general, and specifically some women politicians, do have extramarital affairs but are more discreet about them.

And most of the people who shared this opinion were women, not men.

"Women are like cats," one said. "They do dirt on the sly. Men are like puppies. They knock and drag the trash all over the yard and then look at you like, 'What!?' "

It's easy to rattle off the names of male politicians who have gone astray, but you have to search hard to find a woman leader who has created the kind of controversy we've seen most recently with South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, Nevada Sen. John Ensign and former presidential candidate John Edwards.

I'm not ready, however, to embrace the idea that women politicians simply do a better job of not getting caught.

Maybe I'm naive. But I think there are deeper factors that have led male politicians to create the only exclusive club women aren't fighting to get into.

For one thing, there are fewer women holding public office than men. And I'm reminded of what comedian Chris Rock once said, "A man is only as faithful as his options."

Is it possible that male politicians have more options?

Patrick Wanis, a Miami human behavior and relationship expert, doesn't condone affairs. But in theorizing about the trend, he says women — generally speaking — are drawn to powerful men while men are not drawn to powerful women.

"When a man is in a position of power, that power is a great aphrodisiac to women," Wanis said. "But men are generally threatened and emasculated by women in power. They're not turned on by it. They're quite frightened by it because they can't compete.

"I'm not saying it's right. I'm just saying that's how it is."

Wanis also noted that power fuels in some men a "warrior mentality" of conquering and dominating. It not only makes them more apt to have affairs, it creates a sense of invincibility that they won't get caught and that the rules are different for them.

But let's give our women politicians some credit. Maybe they don't have men throwing themselves at them and maybe they don't become intoxicated with power. But I also believe women focus more on making a difference and shattering the glass ceiling.

Because they are women, they feel more scrutiny. So they try harder to be above reproach.

Does that mean no woman politician has ever cheated?

I'm sure some have strayed and remained discreet — because that's their nature. Plus, if they tell a friend, they're probably not going to get a high-five or slapped on the back.

In the final analysis, can we say these generalities mean women make better politicians? That may be going too far.

More honest? Perhaps, but if you compiled a list of great presidents and a list of presidents who had mistresses, they would look pretty similar.

Whether you're talking about men or women, you have to assess how they lead, how they handle power and how they conduct their personal lives.

There are no easy conclusions or absolutes.

That's all I'm saying.

Why don't female politicians fall into the trap of infidelity? 07/03/09 [Last modified: Friday, July 3, 2009 7:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

    Blogs

    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  2. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  3. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title

    Blogs

    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  4. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  5. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]