Monicagate revisited?

The US election-observing sector of the blogosphere is awash with speculation about rumours that Democrat Presidential frontrunner John Kerry has/had a Clinton-style dalliance with a young female intern. T1 is beating up the story for all it’s worth (as you’d expect from a kneejerk tory propagandist), while T2 reckons it’s a desperate gambit by Dubbya to arrest his sliding opinion poll ratings.

Personally, I don’t give a stuff (so to speak). One of the few remaining civilised things about Australian politics is that the media usually ignores extramarital philandering by politicians, unless they’re grossly indiscreet (like Jim Cairns and Junie Morosi) or provoke exposure, as Cheryl Kernot arguably did by publishing a “no holds barred” autobiography that omitted any mention of her affair with the world’s second most unlikely Lothario (after the incredibly boring John Kerry) Gareth Evans. Of course, it’s almost certainly a self-serving taboo, because political journalists stuck in Canberra’s incestuous isolation are equally prone to “playing away from home”.

Probably the other reason we don’t witness these sorts of tawdry campaign antics is that sexual exposes tend to go down like lead balloons with the vast majority of Australians. Thankfully, unlike the US, we don’t have a large community of fundamentalist bible-bashing wowsers (nothing personal Homer) who can be whipped into a self-righteous prurient frenzy over a soiled frock, imaginatively-deployed cigar or a momentarily-exposed mammary gland.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
This entry was posted in Politics - international. Bookmark the permalink.
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2024 years ago

I really doubt this is a GOP thing, other than to the extent that Drudge thinks he is helping the GOP.

The only reason that they would have to blow this up now is to get the AWOL story off the front pages. But that would be a very short-sighted view, for two reasons:

(1) this story, if it has any effect on the campaign for the Dem nomination, will be to ensure that it goes longer, and it seems to me that a key cause of Bush’s current problems has been that having a fleet of Dems occupying the airwaves criticising him has prevented him and his surrogates from dominating the media with their usual snow-job when uncomfortable facts emerge.

(2) it tends to open the field a little more to these sorts of low-brow attacks: Bush’s current defense to the AWOL thing has been to dismiss it as “just politics”. But if he’s seen to benefit personally from this sort of thing, even if it’s not clear he’s behind it, it makes it much harder to rise above the attacks directed at him.

I also wonder whether people might just be sick of this sort of thing. It was striking how the reaction of many of the more sensible conservatives seems to be “oh no, not again” (eg The Corner, Andrew Sullivan).

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2024 years ago

“sexual exposes tend to go down …”

Isn’t that still illegal in Queensland and Tasmania?

The reason we don’t hear about sexual exposes is that both sides play away from home, both know what the other side is up to, both know that the others know, and so they are constrained from exposing all by the promise of Mutually Assured Destruction.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2024 years ago

I suspect that Bill Heffernan is behind it but seriously: surely Edwina Currie’s quite unnecessary revelations about her Ugandan discussions with John “Stud” Major make him the all-time winner of most unlikely political Lothario. Gareth Evans looks like Brad Pitt in comparison.

I think Australians have a terminal inability to take polly rumpo seriously. Look at poor Billy Snedden. Long years of inestimable public service buried in an avalanche of really bad ‘died on the job” jokes.

The fact that Bob Hawke had a a big rooter rep hurt him not one whit out in the divisions. It was only when he ditched Hazel to marry Blanche d’Alpuget in the Double bay Ritz Carlton Workers Club that the humour kind of ran out. And what of John Gorton? they don’t make them like that anymore.

I think part of the image problem that many latter-day pollies have is quite the reverse: they appear not to have genitals.

Paul Watson
2024 years ago


I think you mis-characterize the nature of asymmetrical sexual relationships, such as between a senior pollie and an intern. This *is* the public’s business because it is usually an exploitative relationship (I think the jury is still out on how much Bill Clinton has fucked-up Monica’s life). A comparison: supposed “guru”

2024 years ago

“Thankfully, unlike the US, we don’t have a large community of fundamentalist bible-bashing wowsers (nothing personal Homer) who can be whipped into a self-righteous prurient frenzy over a soiled frock, imaginatively-deployed cigar or a momentarily-exposed mammary gland.”

sure, we’re a polity that can easily be whipped into a self-righteous, racist, nationalistic and fearful frenzy; see “national security”, immigration, foreign policy, etc.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2024 years ago

The correct response of a fundamentalist bible-bashing wowser is to see if the person repents of the sin involved.
If they do as Billy did then you forgive him and go about your business because we are all sinners in need of forgiveness.
If the person does not repent then that is another matter ASSUMING the said sin has been committed.

Any christian in public life should repent and seek forgiveness of any sin committed following the example of King David in O/T which is why some people such as I do not believe christians can be involved in public life.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2024 years ago

By the way Ken what is your definition of a fundamentalist bible bashing wowser?

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2024 years ago


I mostly inserted the phrase to see if you reacted. I don’t have a definition as such. however, I guess I’m thinking of southern US fundamentalists who believe in Creationism and more generally the literal truth of every single statement in the Bible. They’re people who oppose laws legalising abortion, contraception, gay rights etc etc.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2024 years ago

Homer, are you are a Monty Python fan?

PYTHON: Vice-Pope Eric? What is the Catholic position?

VICE-POPE: Well I’ve never personally, er… so I wouldn’t…

PYTHON: No, no, on sex and marriage.

VICE-POPE: Oh. Well our main worry at this stage is intra-marital sex.

PYTHON: Oh. Sex within the marriage.

KRASZT: I missed that.

VICE-POPE: Oh yes! You see, it’s within marriage, people tend to forget, that most of this carnal knowing takes place.

PYTHON: But that isn’t wrong from a Catholic point of view?

VICE-POPE: Well, actually… it is. Yes. I mean we don’t often come straight out with it because our problem is that… like it or not, sex, at this moment in time, is still the best method we’ve got of reproducing ourselves. I mean we certainly recommend virgin births where possible, but we can’t rely on them, so for purely practical reasons we’ve been forced to turn a blind eye to intra-marital sex for the time being. But only of course for outnumbering purposes; not for fun.

KRASZT: Which is why you will not allow any form of contraception.

VICE-POPE: Exactly.

FRAMPTON: But you allow the rhythm method!

VICE-POPE: Ah, but only because it doesn’t work.

PYTHON: But are you not worried that the population explosion may lead to greater poverty, disease and eventually war?

VICE-POPE: Well you must remember, our concern is for the next world. So the quicker we can get people there the better.

FRAMPTON: Your vice-holiness, can you advise me how I should tell Eddie about sex. Whenever I try to bring the subject up casually, he becomes embarrassed.

VICE-POPE: Well, frankly, it’s not easy. I mean, take the sex act. Please. (LAUGHTER) Well, none of us can work out what God must have been thinking of when He dreamed it up. I mean… you know what these people actually do, do you? It’s a mind-boggler isn’t it! Going to the lavatory is bad enough but…

KRASZT: That’s not a sin though.

VICE-POPE: Only if indulged in to excess. Voluntarily that is. Bona fide diarrhoea is morally impeccable, but, if deliberately self-induced, can be a venial one.

PYTHON: To return to sex. (CHEERING)

STALIN: What about Communism?

PYTHON: Later, later. Vice-Pope, did Christ himself say anything about sex being sinful?

VICE-POPE: Apparently not, no. This was obviously an oversight on his part, which fortunately we have been able to rectify, with the help of the teachings of Paul…

PYTHON: The Pope?

VICE-POPE: No, no, the saint. The woman-hater.

PYTHON: Oh, the pouf.

VICE-POPE: So they say, yes. Anyway, we’ve managed to pass this off as Christ’s teaching, rather successfully as I think you will admit.

ALL: Absolutely. First class job.

FRAMPTON: Had me fooled.

VICE-POPE: So that even where sex has been… well, permitted, the guilt’s been in there, doing its job.

FRAMPTON: Does this necessity to sub-edit Christ sometimes worry you?

VICE-POPE: Not really. After all, you can’t treat the New Testament as gospel. And one must remember that Christ, though he was a fine young man with some damn good ideas, did go off the rails now and again, rich-man-eye-of-camel for example, which is only to be expected, because he came from a difficult background… an under-privileged Jewish family, his father, God, God the Father that is, was all over the place, in addition to which He wasn’t married to Christ’s mother.

FRAMPTON: But Joseph was.

VICE-POPE: Yes, but Mary was a virgin you see, so the marriage could never have been consummated and so was not legally valid.

PYTHON: So, either way, Christ was a bit of a bastard?

VICE-POPE: Yes, an almighty bastard of course but… This sort of thing helps to explain, too, why he became polygamous in his after-life; all nuns being brides of Christ, as you know.

KRASZT: But with certain exceptions, you accept his teaching?

VICE-POPE: Oh yes, it’s been an invaluable basis for our whole operation really. Of course people accuse us sometimes of not practising what we preach, but you must remember that if you’re trying to propagate a creed of poverty, gentleness and tolerance, you need a very rich, powerful, authoritarian organisation to do it.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2024 years ago

I have never been a creationist and never will but plead guilty on abortion, gay rights etc
and believe in the inerrancy of the bible.
I didn’t take it to be pejorative and I have a thick skin.

Dave I have all the Monty Python albums.