How Much Does Adultery Matter in Politics?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Republican presidential contender Herman Cain addresses an audience at AEI(American Enterprise Institute) for Public Policy Research on October 31, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Getty)

Herman Cain is the latest in a long line of political figures dogged by allegations of extramarital affairs. Cain is said to be reconsidering his campaign after an Atlanta woman came forward on Monday alleging a 13-year-affair with the one-time Republican front runner. But, should the allegations be true, Cain is hardly alone when it comes to adultery. Fellow GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich had two marriages unravel after affairs. Mark Sanford, Eliot Spitzer, Jim McGreevey, and Bill Clinton are just a few names on a long list of American politicians with wandering eyes. But does adultery disqualify a candidate from political office? Does being unfaithful to one's spouse give any indication of what kind of leader he or she might be?

Noel Biderman, founder and chief executive officer of, the website that lets married people discreetly find someone to have an affair, and Ed Young, pastor at Fellowship Church and author of the book "Sexperiment: 7 Days to Lasting Intimacy with Your Spouse," debate whether adultery matters in politics.


Noel Biderman and Pastor Ed Young

Produced by:

Mythili Rao

Comments [4]

fuva from Harlemworld

It's valid to consider the way a candidate handles his/ her personal life when determining his/ her fitness for office, but not in a vacuum; there should be other points of consideration. Personal lives can be complex in ways not always comprehensible from the outside looking in. Also, because a person lies to his/ her spouse, doesn't necessarily mean he/ she will lie to or doublecross the citizenry...What's troubling about Replican adulterers/ closet homosexuals, etc. is the HYPOCRISY given how much base, vehement judgmentalism and so-called "values" are part of their political platform. And there's simply no justification for electing unapologetic hypocrites. They simply can't be trusted.

Nov. 30 2011 10:12 AM
Jon from Atlanta

Of course it matters. Sex is very natural, however, when one gets married that person agrees to be monogamous and swears to it. Failure to follow the vows shows a character flaw that is very telling. If a married person wants to have sex with someone other than a spouse, they should divorce.

Nov. 30 2011 10:01 AM
Josh N. from Los Angeles

I realize Cain wants to get back on message, but I didn't realize that he was involved with another woman named Message.

Nov. 30 2011 09:18 AM
Stephen A. from Manhattan

Other then sexual harassment is illegal and in many cases, a form of sexual violence, Herman Cain can't be trusted due to his lack of integrity.

Marital affairs by themselves aren't acts that should disqualify a candidate but lying and covering up these facts after the affairs being brought to the public eye unconscionable.

A little honesty and humility goes a very long way.

Take Mayor Michael Bloomberg's preemptive strike to out his own marital affair prior to his own mayoral campaign back in 2001.

And given the facts that Republicans are two-faced in their lack of criticism against Herman Cain, then these turn of events against a leading Republican candidate is that much sweeter.

If Obama or another big Democrat candidate or official winked at another women, Fox News and the collective Republican borg would call for that politician's immediate removal from office. Now that a favorite candidate of theirs is a continuing onslaught of legitimate accusations, he's now a victim of a conspiracy that's greater then the one in Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code.

The Republican underwhelming reaction against Herman Cain should be expected. But the idea (and hopefully eventuality) of Cain's leaving the presidential race is a very very good thing. Gimmick candidates such as Cain only hurt the political process and not help it.

Nov. 30 2011 09:18 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.