McCain’s pass on adultery: the real double standard

There’s a lot of fingers pointing today about double standards in the media because of the mainstream outlets’ unwillingness to follow the National Enquirer’s lead on the Edwards adultery story. But there are other, more important double standards that have to do with candidates who are still in the race.

This — from, a site that was of great value in 2004 and promises to be so once more this year, given the electoral-vote teeter-totter — is worth the virtual ink to re-blog, I think:

It will be interesting to see if any enterprising reporter asks John McCain point blank: “Have you ever committed adultery?” It is a germane question because (1) Edwards adultery is big news and (2) McCain has made “moral character” the main issue of his campaign.

McCain may not be too keen to answer yes or no because the truth won’t please the family values crowd. While he was a P.O.W. in Vietnam, his first wife, model Carol Shepp, was seriously injured in a horrific traffic accident in which she was thrown through the windshield. She didn’t mention this in her letters to him in Vietnam to keep his morale up. When he got back and saw her 4 inches shorter, seriously overweight, and on crutches, he began having affairs. One piece of indisputable evidence is the fact that he obtained a license to marry wealthy beer heiress Cindy Hensley on March 6, 1980, while still legally married to Carol. Here is the L.A. Times story but if you type: McCain adultery to Google, you’ll get 500,000 hits. Journalistic standards ought to require that if Edwards cheating on his sick wife is an indication of a deep moral flaw, then McCain cheating on his sick wife ought to be the same thing. And McCain is a candidate for President; Edwards is not.

Here’s a permalink to that post at This story is neither new nor a secret, yet it never seems to have weighed in the scales against McCain. Like George W. Bush’s drinking and drug use, the GOP campaign has successfully transformed these past transgressions into non-issues, and the political press seems largely OK with that.

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  1. Robert Lewis

    See who the first wife of John McCain is working for now and who she contributed to


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