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Another Politician, Another Hypocrite

Another politician, another hypocrite — this time, the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Missouri. Let’s start with the story, from the 17 May 2015 issue:

Leading by Example

“God I want you right now,” John Diehl texted. “I wish you could have me right now,” Katie Graham said in reply. Diehl said he “will have my way with you” and “leave you quivering.” On the other hand, Diehl tells her later, “You have always been disappointed” when she asks him to “take care of me.” Diehl, 49, was the Republican speaker of the Missouri state House of Representatives, and Graham, 19, is a college freshman — and was working as an intern at the state capitol. In screen shots of the texts, it can be seen that Graham changed the congressman’s name in her phone from “John” to “Frank Underwood” — the name of a fictional Congressman on the TV show House of Cards who has an affair with a younger woman. When the Kansas City Star published the messages, Diehl, a “pro-family values” Republican who is married and has three children, resigned; Missouri Southern State University had already pulled all of its interns out of the capitol. (RC/Kansas City Star, KCTV Kansas City) …Why is it that so many politicians who work to legislate morals can’t live up to their own edicts?

Some Samples of Diehl’s Text Messages with Graham

(Click to see larger. Article continues below.)

I hadn’t heard of John Diehl before he tripped over his pants (which were around his ankles). But the Missouri Family Policy Council, part of the evangelical Family Research Council, had earlier commended Diehl “for demonstrating moral leadership and true integrity in standing up for the sacred institution of marriage and the family values of the people of Missouri.” The Missouri chapter of the Southern Baptist Convention thanked Diehl for “fighting to defend biblical marriage.” But he turned out to be Just Another Hypocrite who talked the moral talk, but didn’t walk the walk.

At least Diehl did the honorable thing by resigning quickly, and without making his wife stand beside him, even if he did hesitate for a day (after apologizing, he laid out his plans: “I will begin immediately working to restore the trust of those closest to me, and getting back to the important work that is required in the final days of session.” Only the next day did he resign as the pressure built.)

John Diehl

Diehl at a press conference in 2010. (Photo cc Missouri News Horizon, cropped from https://www.flickr.com/photos/monewshorizon/5281022418/ )

But don’t make the mistake of thinking only Republicans have been caught making fools of themselves over young interns! Who can forget the Bill Clinton Fornigate fiasco in 1998? Where is there a greater power difference than between the President of the U.S. and a lowly, unpaid White House intern?

What bothers me about the Diehl silliness isn’t so much his hypocrisy, but that he has damaged the opportunity for students to really learn as interns, since the school has canceled the program — at least for this year. Real world experience was critical to my career path. An internship for a county “drug abuse education and awareness program” taught me loud and clear that I did …not! want to work in public relations, especially for the “drug abuse prevention” sector, since what I saw of “DARE” (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) programs convinced me that they would do little or nothing to reduce drug use in kids — by then, I had seen plenty of overdoses as a medic. Sure enough, later studies showed kids are more likely to use drugs if they’ve gone through DARE!

And was my other work experience, as a journalist with the campus newspaper, and later being selected editor of the campus magazine, that showed me that I was much more interested in publishing than P.R., and much more interested in features than original reporting. It created and focused my life path, I got a lot out of those experiences. Other students deserve such experiences too, but Diehl couldn’t keep his belt buckled, and wrecked it not just for the teen he was panting at, but the rest of the interns. What an obliviot indeed.

11 Responses to Another Politician, Another Hypocrite

  1. Ami, Oregon May 18, 2015 at 2:36 pm #

    Shared on FB. With this:

    Do politicians use bookmarks?

    No. They just bend over the pages.

    A “Page” is a type of paid intern that serves the U.S. House or Senate. A candidate must be a 16- or 17-year-old high school junior, with at least a 3.0 GPA. They wear a uniform, and are thus very visible. Both of Canada’s houses also have a Page program.

    In 1983, there was a scandal in the U.S. House Page program when Rep. Dan Crane (Republican, Ill.) and Rep. Gerry Studds (Democrat, Mass.) were censured for having engaged in sexual relationships with 17-year-old congressional pages. The age of consent in D.C. is 16, so it was legal, but the House Ethics Committee ruled that “any sexual relationship between a member of the House of Representatives and a congressional Page, or any sexual advance by a member to a Page, represents a serious breach of duty.” When Crane came up for re-election, he lost; Studds was re-elected until he decided to retire in 1997. The “bend over the Page” joke came out of that scandal. -rc

  2. Jean - Idaho May 18, 2015 at 3:05 pm #

    What really cracks me up is that one of the ads on this page is for men’s underwear!

    And Ami in Oregon nailed it!

    Same here. And the other, for me right now, is for women’s. I guess they have both bases covered! -rc

  3. Bill in New Hampshire May 18, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

    From wiki

    “With the assistance of a family connection, Lewinsky got an unpaid summer White House internship in the office of White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta. Lewinsky moved to Washington, D.C. and took up the position in July 1995. She moved to a paid position in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs in December 1995.”

    She was a paid intern.

    I’ll give you half a point, since she clearly was both. -rc

  4. Peter, Adelaide, Australia May 18, 2015 at 8:19 pm #

    I have Hotel adverts. Google seem to have indexed this page well.

  5. lisa, Ontario Canada May 19, 2015 at 1:55 am #

    Ads are for a blow up kayak (lots of hot air from politicians) and gm car service. I find the more a politician wants to legislate morals the more likely their closet is filled with some serious skeletons. It is like the homophobe getting caught in a homosexual relationship (they aren’t really afraid of homosexuals, but rather being identified as one). Often we get a 2 for 1 with those, not only do they get caught with some one of the same sex but cheating on their spouse.

  6. Bill, somerset, KY May 19, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

    In reference to the comment from Bill in New Hampshire, I had not realized that when Clinton entered the White House he set up an entire paid group to manage his “in-house Affairs.” I guess the public was not adequately informed that he had his own bawdy house with the taxpayers paying for his flings.

  7. Carl, Buffalo, NY May 19, 2015 at 5:48 pm #

    In regards to your comments about Democrats not being immune to hanky panky….true; however, the Democrats are not presenting themselves to the public at large as these morally upstanding, family-defending politicans. The Republicans are-therefore, it is much easier to see the hypocrisy of a Republican caught in a sex scandal.

  8. bandit, Albuquerque May 22, 2015 at 11:39 pm #

    And a conservative preacher just erupted.

    I say this as a Christian: We are all sinners. God does not “rank” sins [1]. The only possible verses in the New Testament was Paul saying homosexuality is a sin — but it is very easy to show this was cultural, like owning slaves.

    So I have a hard time understanding why being gay is a “special” sin. Members of my family are — should I love them less? To do so would be silly at best. Incredibly damaging and stupid at worse.

    What that preacher did is equivalent to the Congressman did: lied to his family, broke his promise to be faithful to his family, and violated others’ trust in him. Oh, and for sex.

    And DARE fails because they *lie* to kids, and the kids know it. I had an argument with a DARE instructor — he had *zero* understanding of the science, and could *not* see why it mattered; he did *not* understand the lies he was telling kids. But I could rant for hours.

    [1] (except for blaspheming the Holy Spirit, and I have never understood *exactly* what that means).

  9. Jim, S.C. May 23, 2015 at 8:37 am #

    I think there are three issues.

    The first is the obvious hypocrisy. I’m not defending Diehl — I think what he did was appalling — but I think it should be said that there are two ways not to be a hypocrite: not betray your stated values or not have any.

    Second, as Randy states, the damage he inflicted on the intern program.

    And third, I would also like to say that I don’t completely ignore Katie Graham’s contribution to this sordid story. She is a victim in a sense given the disparity of power, etc. but she should be considered an adult, too. I would hope that she would also know that what they were both doing was wrong and act accordingly.

  10. Steve, MO May 24, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

    “What bothers me about the Diehl silliness isn’t so much his hypocrisy, but that he has damaged the opportunity for students to really learn as interns, since the school has canceled the program”

    …HE has? What about HER? She is an adult and was engaging in a consensual relationship; why does she get a free pass? She is just as guilty as he in the college’s decision to cancel their intern program. Yes, he should be the older and wiser, but it does take two to tango and she was a willing participant.

  11. Mati, Israel May 25, 2015 at 12:23 am #

    @Steve MO

    I read that sentence differently. I didn’t see it as the intern getting a free pass. It says “the Diehl silliness” not “Diehl’s silliness”. Randy wasn’t blaming the participant(s) or giving them a pass, he was blaming the situation resulting from the affair.

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