Paul Lewis: US politicians, sex and power provide mix we don't need


What is it with US politicians and their need to pester women? Politics and power have long been earmarked as aphrodisiacs but sexually misbehaving politicians seem to be rife in this country - even in liberal San Francisco.

John Key may be copping it big time over the GCSB issue but at least he doesn't try to break into a woman's home dressed only in his socks and underwear.

That's what local high riser Efren Carrillo, 32, did to join the ranks of Democratic bad boys Anthony Weiner (the New York mayoral candidate who famously sexted pictures of parts of himself), San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (undergoing treatment after 18 instances of sexual harassment or improper conduct surfaced) and former New York governor Eliot Spitzer (resigned in 2008 after admitting to paying for sex with prostitutes, now making a comeback).

Carrillo, a Sonoma County supervisor earmarked for a bright political future with the Democrats, made the news here this week when he turned up to work. It was the first time he'd been back since his arrest outside his neighbour's Santa Rosa home -and was a surprise, as he had indicated through advisers that he would be staying in an intensive treatment programme.

The neighbour had called the police after Carrillo tried to break in through a window. He was arrested on suspicion of burglary and prowling but released on US$40,000 ($51,000) bail. His case is to be heard on August 30. He has blamed alcoholism for his troubles.

It's unimaginable that a New Zealand politician could ever do the same thing. Okay, the crime might be committed but surely no one in that position could cling to office in New Zealand.

That's not to say politicians in New Zealand are blameless but it's difficult to see a situation where anyone would behave as gauchely and as career-wreckingly blithely as did Weiner and Filner. It was almost like they were in a bubble, sure that no harm could befall them.

Let's hope our politicians never feel they can rise above accountability.

- NZ Herald

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