Op-ed: The daily dalliance report

  • By Bob Franken
  • Monday, March 12, 2018 10:46am
  • Opinion

Thursday, March 8, 2018. Mark down that date. It was a day for news of huge significance: Tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum, and a startling announcement about negotiations between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

Ho-hum. We’d much rather discuss sex.

The Washington swamp is teeming with that kind of wildlife. Even though the people in D.C. are legends in their own minds, they take off their pants the same way you and I do. That’s what I said: Take off their pants. Let’s face it — many, if not most, of the leaders in a position to determine how we live and love and all that important stuff are really just a bunch of horndogs. They jeopardize their elevated status for risky sexual adventures at the drop of a trouser.

There are exceptions. Barack Obama’s presidency was publicly free of the personal escapades that have defined so many politicians’ lives.

Presidents Bill Clinton and now Trump are a whole other story. Where would we be without the almost-daily dalliance report on someone in power? And those are just the ones who get caught. Bill Clinton’s “bimbo eruptions,” as a longtime Clintonista put it, were the stuff of legend. Now we have Donald Trump, who is doing everything he can to keep up the tradition. Even the most august media have at least one Stormy Daniels story a day, to say nothing about the titillating accounts of so many (other than his wives) who claim to have yielded to his charms (namely money) or insist that they were assaulted by him.

Trump denies it, all of it, which sets him apart from so many others who had no choice but to admit their inappropriate behavior or outright adultery. I always found that word comical, because there is nothing “adult” about adultery. But the mind wanders.

This is not to be judgmental. The best lead story is a lewd story. The prudish among us can disapprove, and the rest of us can laugh lustily. Let’s be honest: Who is currently America’s Sweetheart? Stormy Daniels, that’s who. By day, she was a porn star. By night, she now claims, she was getting it on more than a decade ago with Donald Trump. But this plot has more twists and turns than they had trysts and turns. Oh, did I forget to say “allegedly”? Please forgive the oversight. In my defense, I’ll point out that The Donald was quite blatant about his extracurricular activities, even though he tries to deny any Stormy relationship now, and even though his attorney and fixer Michael Cohen acknowledges he bought her silence when Trump was running for president. Cohen says he paid Daniels $130,000. He claims that he decided she needed the money, which he provided out of the goodness of his heart. How many lawyers do you know with a good heart? Cohen doesn’t seem to be one of them.

I will admit that I love this smutty stuff. We all prefer coverage of sex, drugs and rock and roll to stories where we have to think. Issues like tax reform tax the brain too much. Stormy Daniels taxes … well, you know.

The problem is that the country goes into the toilet while we ignore all those difficult issues that allow the rich to get richer by bamboozling the American public. Climate? Health care? Too complicated. A president and a stripper getting it on? Now you’re talking!

It’s an integral part of the issue that has exploded into the “Me Too” movement. Even that story, with its perverted behavior, is too many faceted to figure out. Unless we can find a simple-minded sex angle, trade-war stories and even efforts to end nuclear war are hard-core boring.

Bob Franken is a longtime broadcast journalist.

More in Opinion

teaser
Opinion: The mobs widening America’s divisions

We’ve just been forced to deal with stark disagreements on a daily basis like never before.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy holds a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Now is not the time to leave Alaskans out in the cold

Now is the perfect time for legislators to get in touch with their constituents and to act in their best interests.

New direction for the Tongass will help grow businesses, a sustainable economy

Now is the time to chart a new course for Southeast’s future.

Anselm Staack (Courtesy Photo)
Opinion: Dunleavy’s fiscally irresponsible and deceptive plan

Constitutions are about broad policy objectives and legal boundaries — not about the day-to-day.

Alaska Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink promotes getting immunized with the flu shot this winter. (Photo courtesy Alaska Department of Health and Social Services)
Immunize when you winterize

An annual flu shot plus the COVID-19 vaccine protects Alaskans and our health care system, too.

(Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Dunleavy’s first act as governor was unconstitutional

That’s according to a ruling by Senior U.S. District Judge John Sedwick.

This Aug. 3, 2021, photo shows Juneau International Airport.  The Federal Aviation Administration shared recommendations on Thursday for improving aviation safety in the state. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: How the FAA will improve the margin of aviation safety in Alaska

Alaska depends on aviation more than any other state…

Central Peninsula Hospital is seen in Soldotna on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: Perspective of an educator in a ‘high-risk’ group, part 2

During some of the darkest days of my time in ICU, it was obvious where we all live is a special place.

Lawmakers havereturned to the Alaska State Capitol for a fourth special session. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Revenues should be determined before more PFD spending

The governor believes the dividend drives the entire calculation. Sadly, he has it backwards

Ronnie Leach. (Photo provided)
Point of View: For Domestic Violence Awareness Month, #weareresilient

At the onset of COVID-19, we expanded our services in a way to ensure COVID-19 consciousness.

Rep. Don Young talks during a June 2021 interview with the Empire. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion:Where’s Don Young when America needs him?

Once upon a time, avoiding political controversy was completely out of character for Young.

Peter Zuyus
Voices of the Peninsula: Seniors appreciate vaccination efforts

To those who have worked to encourage vaccination we say: Be proud, you are, in fact, saving lives.