Summers of Scandal

astonished faceIf you’re like me, you’re cringing every time you turn on the news, open a newspaper, or stare at the tabloids in the checkout line. No matter which side of the political spectrum you fall on, this country’s politics are a mess. While we keep reminding ourselves this isn’t normal, scandal IS more normal to the office of the president than we think.

Remember Watergate?

Sure, if you didn’t suffer living through NixonAll the President's Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward and Watergate, you at least have heard the story (or seen the movies) of the break-in at the DNC headquarters at the Watergate Hotel, how cash was traced to the Committee to Re-elect the President (Nixon), and how President Nixon was caught lying about the fact he knew about it. A president lying under oath was grounds for impeachment, but Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974, before he could be impeached, giving us the never-elected Gerald Ford. That’s the biggest official Presidential Scandal to date, but by far it’s not the only one.

SMarilyn Monroe with John F. Kennedyure, Clinton’s affair caused a major row, but flings among presidents are almost as common as presidents eating cheeseburgers. John F. Kennedy’s affairs were kept out of the press, but half the country was winking at his activities.  Harding, FDR, Eisenhower, Jefferson, and Lyndon B. Johnson were all known to have had affairs of heart while in office, and not one of them was ever brought up on charges. Cleveland, however, had not only one but two scandals that caused an uproar.

Yes, But Did You Hear About That Cad Cleveland?

The first was a secret surgery to remove a cancerous growth on the roof of his mouth.Grover Cleveland political cartoon America in 1893 was caught in a severe Panic – the pre-1930 name for a Depression. Cleveland felt that a president with a potentially life-threatening issue could further destabilize the people and the economy, so he chose to have the surgery in secret – on a boat traveling the shores of Long Island! Because it caused a bit of disfigurement, he attributed it to having two bad teeth removed (I saw a display on it at the Mutter Museum once). That wasn’t the worst though.

Cleveland was president during the Victorian era, whose straight-laced propriety and denial of anything related to sex, including body parts, haunts us in a weird duality to this day. And in that era of moral decorum, Cleveland was routed out as having had a love child in 1874, before he married his wife. Not only an illegitimate child, but he had the mother locked up in an insane asylum, and farmed the baby out to another couple! Even though it made a huge scandal at the time, he freely admitted it, and it didn’t stop him from being elected not just once, but twice, proving that moral flexibility is nothing new, either.

Abraham Lincoln quote: "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."Men of power get to the top position by wielding their power, and the office of the president is no different (I suppose we could let Jimmy Carter off the hook. He’s an anomaly to the rule, and no doubt why he was a somewhat wishy-washy President and often considered not strong enough during the Hostage Crisis. People just wanted to get away from Watergate). It doesn’t matter what party platform you’re running on, mainstream or not, chances are somebody somewhere is going to dig up a scandal on someone, and if not, the elected just might create one of their own (such as Reagan and Iran-Contra). It’s nothing new, and it’s not likely to go away again in the future. So grab some popcorn, and school yourself on these hot-button scandals of the day (Check out the movies of All the President’s Men, Frost/Nixon,  Argo, and Mark Felt ) :

 

Linda Reads: Foolish Games by Tracy Solheim

foolishFoolish Games  is a wonderfully written sports romance.  The author gives us great insight into the NFL with a believable storyline and a wonderful cast of characters.  This is actually book two in the Out of Bounds series.  Book one is Game On. 

Bridal gown designer Julianne Marchione has an uncharacteristic one night stand at a client’s wedding that results in a surprise pregnancy.  Julianne plans to raise her son, Owen, on her own, until he is born with a life-threatening blood disorder that requires a transfusion—and Julianne is not a match.

Will “William the Conqueror” Connelly is an NFL star that grew up a bastard child born on the wrong side of the tracks.  He is blindsided with the news that he has a son that needs a blood transfusion from him.  He quickly takes charge of the situation, insisting on a marriage of convenience so his son will not have to endure growing up a bastard.

Will has a lot of insecurities stemming from his childhood and he is also dealing with a scandal involving his college coach that could bring an end to Will’s NFL career.  Julianne has had to sell her bridal design company to pay Owen’s medical bills and has lost her ability to design.  She is also struggling with issues from her past.  With so much conflict going on in their lives, they almost miss the fact that they are falling in love with each other.

The book is multilayered with a wonderful cast of supporting characters.  There is a secondary romance between Will’s mom and his boss that intertwines beautifully with the main story.

A realistic storyline told with passion, humor and wit with wonderful interaction between characters and how they grew to be a true family.