November 29, 2004 3:52 PM   Subscribe

Can you settle a discussion I was having in work today. He said that there had never been a political scandal which didn't find it's root cause in either sexual indiscression or money/business gains. I disagreed but couldn't come up with an example. Can anyone prove him wrong?
posted by feelinglistless to Law & Government (23 answers total)
Watergate? That was for political gain.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:57 PM on November 29, 2004

Response by poster: Well I thought of Watergate. But wasn't Nixon in the pocket of big business who needed to have him as president for long term plans.
posted by feelinglistless at 3:59 PM on November 29, 2004

and besides, business = politics.
posted by luriete at 3:59 PM on November 29, 2004

yeah, what about simple political gain/power-grabbing? if you count the Johnson impeachment as a scandal, there's that as well.

and if you're going to count Watergate as "business" on those grounds, you might as well consider any wrongdoing by any politician, ever, as "business".
posted by rxrfrx at 4:01 PM on November 29, 2004

Would Iran-Contra count? It strikes me as more rooted in ideological divide than personal gain
posted by nathan_teske at 4:05 PM on November 29, 2004

Alcibiades defacing the Hermae.
posted by kenko at 4:16 PM on November 29, 2004

Watergate was absolutely for political gains, not for money or business gains. And Iran/Contra was, for most of the players, an ideological thing, as nathan_teske observes.

The Dreyfus Affair is another example of a political scandal in which sex and money were not the focus. The Defenestration of Prague was also a political thang.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:17 PM on November 29, 2004

Yes, but kenko, what did Alkibiades rip off of the herms? Hm? Hm? There's your sex angle, right there.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:18 PM on November 29, 2004

I think both Watergate and Iran-Contra would count. Iran-Contra was selling weapons...but not really "business" since the money went to the Contras and not to Reagan.
posted by BradNelson at 4:35 PM on November 29, 2004

How about Reagan accidentally honoring a bunch of dead Nazis? But you probably mean bigger scandals.
posted by inksyndicate at 4:47 PM on November 29, 2004

Iran-Contra not about money? I oddly happen to know one personally and another through relatives who gained a lot from the dealings with Iran-Contra. People knew what was going on, and kept their mouth shut because they were making money off of it. I don't know how strictly you define not being part of business.

What about Sen. McCarthy and his rants? That could easily define scandal and was motivated by drinking and paranoia.

Or segregation in the South? The Little Rock Nine was sort of a scandal when the rest of the country realized what the South was doing.
posted by geoff. at 4:59 PM on November 29, 2004

What about good old Caligula? He was just batshit insane.
posted by jenovus at 5:06 PM on November 29, 2004

that wasn't accidental, ink. 4/18/85
While Michael Deaver is in West Germany searching for an "appropriate" concentration camp for the President to visit, President Reagan defends his visit to Bitburg by claiming the German soldiers "were victims, just as surely as the victims in the concentration camps."

President Reagan defends the Bitburg visit as "morally right," adding, "I know all the bad things that happened in that war. I was in uniform for four years myself." President Reagan spent his time during World War Two in Hollywood, making training films.

After having visited the Bergen-Belsen death camp, President Reagan makes an eight minute stop at Bitburg. During the ceremony, he cites a letter from 13-year-old Beth Flom who, he claims, "urged me to lay the wreath at Bitburg cemetery in honor of the future of Germany." In fact, she urged him not to go at all.

how about Abu Ghraib?
posted by amberglow at 5:08 PM on November 29, 2004

Ooh, I have one--what about the scandal when Kurt Waldheim's record as a Wehrmacht officer in World War II was brought to light?
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:37 PM on November 29, 2004

What about the Tuskegee syphilis study? Might not be a political scandal, depending on where you draw the line.
posted by Plutor at 6:37 PM on November 29, 2004

Children Overboard - the scandal didn't make any difference though, Liberal is still in power.
posted by tellurian at 8:08 PM on November 29, 2004

The Valerie Plame scandal?
posted by BradNelson at 8:14 PM on November 29, 2004

How about Trent Lott's speech at Strom Thurmond's birthday party a couple years ago? I suppose its status as a "scandal" is questionable but it did cost him the Majority Leadership.
posted by pokeydonut at 11:50 PM on November 29, 2004

No, the politicians can have Tuskegee - we doctors don't want it.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:57 PM on November 29, 2004

How bout that whole going to war over WMDs and then there were none, but that's not why we went to war, but that's why you said we went to war (I told you it was about oil), no the world is a safer place now, so why are we raising alerts to amber again if its safer, Saddam was a bad man thingy?

Oh, and I think you can safely add Revenge as another culrit for political scandal, especially if you believe Alexandre Dumas.
posted by stovenator at 12:14 AM on November 30, 2004

In 1988 UK junior health minister Edwina currie was forced to resign after she suggested that UK egg production was riddled with salmonella and the government was faced with an angry farming lobby. She turned out to be right.

You could also make a good case that the Westland affair - which led to the resignation of 2 senior British cabinet members, and can be linked to the eventual resignation of Margaret Thatcher - was a disagreement over a matter of trade policy rather than of personal gain.
posted by biffa at 1:53 AM on November 30, 2004

It seems to me that most any modern political scandal has a financial component. The business of America is business, we're only in it for the money, etc. 'Root cause,' though? Nah.

Would Thomas Eagleton and electroshock qualify as a scandal?
posted by box at 7:29 AM on November 30, 2004

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