What’s going on when politicians risk everything for a quickie? Do they have some innate need to take risks — a sort of Evel Knievel-like urge to juggle chainsaws at the top of a ladder? Or are they just clueless, like the guy who lights up while pouring gas into his lawn mower?
Is the power of a closeted sex drive so strong that it just can’t be resisted for long? And why would someone repressing sexual urges become a Republican politician instead of finding a job with a private company where no one would care?
“There really is a pattern here,” says John Gastil, a University of Washington professor who studies communications in politics.
I know the urge to drag Bill Clinton into these things is almost unbearable for journalists, but for every Bill Clinton (who engaged in consensual relationships with adults) there seem to be 20 Republicans hopped up on goofballs in some grizzly motel with shag carpet and a 15 year-old:
Some evolutionary biologists have argued that politicians, as the modern-day equivalent of the “alpha male” gorilla, are even more tempted than others by the lure of sexual conquests, almost as a right of office. After all, they say, in nature it’s the alpha male who gets the sexual access.
Of course, these days such “evolutionary” urges are generally tempered by pragmatism, they add.
For some people, hiding an inner life that’s in direct conflict with an outer life becomes intolerable, says Farley. “You want to bring some alignment, some freedom, from that continual, conflictual stress.”
At some point, the pain of the conflict itself may become a powerful motivator to resolve the differences, Farley says.
McGreevey, in his tell-all book, “The Confession,” wrote that “the closet starves a man and when he gets a chance, he gorges ’til it sickens him.”
Curtis, like many who have found themselves in this situation, has a wife and children. He ran for office as a conservative Republican.
Farley says that, too, is understandable.
“You’re creating a cover for your behavior so you’re beyond reproach. You figure you will get away with what you’re doing; you’ve covered it with those strong positions, so nobody thinks of you as gay.”
It really is almost impossible to keep up with these days. Another Republican minister, Marshal Seymour, was just busted, and when Howie started reading to me about the case of former Daytona Beach city commissioner Michael Shallow (“Police report that they heard coughing, sneezing, foot tapping, loud and persistent zipper noises to attract attention from others interested in engaging in sexual acts”) I said “nuh-uh”! But of course he wasn’t making it up.
The closet really is an extremely dangerous place.