When you run for office, nothing is private. At least that’s the approach some are taking as the GOP primaries approach. In the past, the inquiry could’ve been drug use, sometimes even a candidate’s political views. This year, a favorite subject among candidates is their opponents’ sex lives.
Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, was the most recent victim. Less than a week after announcing his candidacy for president, the Austin Chronicle newspaper published a full-page advertisement asking “Have you ever had sex with Rick Perry?”
Placed by a group called “Committee Against Sexual Hypocrisy” which backs Perry’s opponent, Ron Paul, the ad solicits real-life sexcapades of strippers, escorts and “young hotties” who have had encounters with Perry. It is directed specifically to those who wish to publicize their experiences with “a Christian-buzzwords-spouting, ‘family values’ hypocrite and fraud.”
Drawing on rumors that Perry is gay, a note at the bottom of the ad reads, “Note to gay people. If you know the truth about Rick, please QUIT covering for him.”
To date, there is no evidence that Perry has been involved in any extramarital affairs. Perry’s spokesman said that Perry and his wife, Anita, “have been lovingly married since 1982 and are parents to two grown children.”
The controversial ad has commentators clamoring. Have we gone too far? Why would a newspaper run this ad?
Washington Post writer Alexandra Petri notes, “It’s not even a personal attack. It’s an ad hoping it can make a personal attack later. Is this really where we are?”
The clear message to this new wave of mud-slingers: Get the facts before hurling accusations. What’s more, get serious about the real issues and leave what happens in politicians’ bedrooms behind closed doors.