Have Republican or Democratic Sex Scandals Been More Embarrassing in Recent Years?


Whenever a congressional sex scandal breaks, members of the opposing party revel in the details of the implicated official’s misdeeds: Though the story of Representative David Wu’s unsavory sexual encounter with a teenage girl might have gotten more press had it come to light while Washington wasn’t focused on the debt-ceiling crisis, there was at least a cackle or two from the Republican side of the aisle as the details leaked out. After all, this was the second scandal in a row — following Anthony Weiner — that forced a Democrat to resign. For the moment, at least, lefties appeared to have a leg up in the dubious whose-elected-officials-are-pervier competition. But in 2010 and 2011 to date, an equal number of Democrats (Wu, Weiner, and Eric Massa) and Republicans (Christopher Lee, John Ensign, and Mark Souder) have been involved in prominent sex scandals. So it’s a perfect opportunity to take a dispassionate look at whose passions have been more embarrassing for their political parties. Below, a scorecard. Not all these details are precise moral equivalents, but they got roughly equivalent airing in the press, so we’re treating them as such for the purposes of an (appropriately?) quick-and-dirty comparison.

Was he married at the time of the scandal? (Separated doesn’t count.)
Was a pregnant wife lied to?  
Did actual sexual intercourse come to light?    
Did the scandal involve more than one object of the congressman’s "affection"?
Does he own and wear a tiger suit?      
Did it involve tickling?  
Did the scandal involve someone of a gender other than his wife’s?    
Was the encounter allegedly unwanted?
Did it involve a staffer?
Did it involve a teenager?
Had he made an abstinence video with his paramour?      
Did the Congressman disseminate, either via mass email or a public Internet site, undignified pictures of himself?
Has America seen parts of his body they hadn’t planned to see?
Were there FBI/DoJ investigations as a result of the affair?
Did he resign?