With the glaring exception of Bill Clinton, it seems like most of our politicians who manage to get caught in sex scandals are Republicans - those good folks who harp ad nauseam on family values and the sanctity of marriage. This week the Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives, John Diehl, added his name to that roster of shame.
The Missouri House is not known for much because other than plotting against gay rights, strategizing on ways to keep women from controlling their own bodies, fiercely supporting "gun rights," fighting against Medicaid expansion, and figuring out ways to shift the tax burden onto the poor, those good ol' boys don't really have the time or inclination to address lesser matters - such as looking after the interests and basic needs of the state's citizenry.
But texting - in one of only four states in America that still allows texting while driving - is another matter. There's always time for texting - or in Speaker Diehl's case, sexting.
Missouri has a program which gives college students credit and political experience by serving as interns in the Missouri Legislature. (Wasn't there a movement to quit calling those youngsters "interns" after the Lewinsky affair?) This spring Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, an old alma mater of mine, suddenly and without explanation pulled its four student interns from the program. This week the Kansas City Star revealed that one of those interns, a female freshman, had been receiving inappropriate text messages from Speaker Diehl, a family values and anti-gay rights Republican from the St. Louis suburb of Town and Country. Diehl is a married father of three.
Speaker Diehl clutched tightly to his gavel for about a day, and then yesterday surprised many by suddenly announcing his resignation from the speakership as well as from the Missouri House.
Kudos to Speaker Diehl for being a stand-up guy. He has admitted his mistake and done the right thing - something that would be difficult for any of us, let alone a politician. If Bill Clinton had manned-up and done the same thing after his sexual liaison with a twenty-one-year-old in an ante-chamber off of the Oval Office was revealed, Al Gore would have entered the 2000 race as a sitting president - and what a different world this would be now.
But I digress . . .