Amid 2008's many sex scandals, it was a miracle there was any time left to monitor an epochal presidential election. There were many genuine, dirty affairs — and some duds inevitably got overhyped.
9. Boston Globe reporter tells married source "Don't shave" — This was almost a non-scandal, just a stale affair that happened in Miami the year before. But the emails! "I haven't shaven since I left Miami. Thought you would like that image :)"
8. Jared Paul Stern's wife cheats, there are pictures — At first we couldn't believe the former Page Six gossip writer's wife would have sex with a random business partner, but then there were photos. As if getting fired from the Post amid nasty extortion allegations wasn't sad enough on husband Stern. Tragic.
7. "Steve Ratner has paid my wife $500,000.00 to leave me." — The head of private equity at Credit Suisse was driven from his job by a man whose wife he slept with. The guy spammed a tawdry tale of humiliation into newspaper comments sections. A sympathetic feature in the Times only deepened the humiliation. The internet is to blame, as always.
6. Lara Logan, CBS News' Iraq-based homewrecker — She was a correspondent in Iraq, slept with a contractor named Joe Burkett (and this other guy, who works for CNN!) and then got pregnant. The first guy's wife was not happy. There was something about sexism and double standards but, really, it was just all awful and every involved came out looking pretty terrible, Logan very much included.
5. The "redneck" father of Bristol Palin's baby — Tobacco-chewing, self-described redneck Levi Johnston, 18, knocked up Sarah Palin's daughter right before Palin was named John McCain's running mate. His mere existence was a scandal to the coastal elites, who looked at him and were all "eww," especially during the convention. He still hasn't married Bristol like he promised!
4. Max Mosley's Nazi- or prison-themed S&M orgy tape — News of the World had five hours of video in which a British racing boss is disciplined by German-speaking women in some kind of make-believe prison-camp. Mosley denied it was a Nazi thing and won a suit against the tabloid for invasion of privacy. When will America learn to manufacture a proper, quality sex scandal with elaborate bondage and tons of video?
3. Madonna and A-Rod — They claim not to have slept together while Alex Rodriguez was married, but Madonna was, at the very least, emotionally close enough to the Yankees slugger to be named an "other woman" in his wife's divorce proceeding. The couple also felt the ned to meet at a New York restaurant in secret. Then, after the divorce, they flew all over the world together.
2. John Edwards cheats on his cancer-stricken wife, lies about it — Sure, other politicians have cheated on their sick wives and gone on to distinguished careers, but Edwards lied to the press, ran from National Enquirer reporters and hid in a bathroom, delayed any explanation for weeks and then issued a fishy, limited admission that, yes, he did screw former campaign videographer Rielle Hunter. But that love child isn't his!
No one's really convinced, and by delaying the inevitable Edwards became a political non-entity at the precise time his populist, anti-corporate message looked more prescient than ever.
1. Gov. Eliot Spitzer and his prostitute, Ashley Dupre, are busted — Many people enjoyed the comeuppance of Mr. Holy McSmartypants, the former Wall Street-busting state attorney general turned arrogant governor. The feds got him, for whoring.
One of Spitzer's hookers, Ashley Youmans (stage name Ashley Alexandra Dupre, hooker name "Kristen") had a MySpace account, had made video for Girls Gone Wild as a teenager, had a song on the internet, for sale and had made a music video. Everything was in place to explode her story.
Like Edwards. Spitzer, too, was ahead of the curve in calling out the rotting uselessness of then-respected American financial institutions . Oh well.
- Miley Cyrus wears lipstick in Vanity Fair, let's panic: She's wearing only bedsheet at age 15! Sex! Aggggh! She's a terrible role model and probably a witch! No wait, that Jewish lesbian mystic hypnotized her and instilled devil sensuality into her! Actually, it turns out she's been doing silly sorta sexual poses with her cameraphone, on MySpace, for various boyfriends forever, and she quickly acquired a 20-year-old man, and then said she'd love to work with Annie Leibovitz again.
- John McCain maybe sexed a lobbyist, on a jet: The Times stuttered and stammered this accusation over months, and then couldn't bring itself to even make it. God. Like there were no other, more solid McCain scandals to go after?
- Sarah Palin cheated on her husband: Ya, that one really panned out decisively. It's actually pretty heartening that Katie Couric's old-fashioned journalism on old-fashioned topics is what made the difference. Not that sex isn't a relevant issue, but, come on: path of least resistance.
- Cindy McCain kisses another man!: They couldn't get this out before the election was over? At least then it might have drummed up some interest. Nothing has been heard about it since. Even if it pans out: Depressing.