It’s the Sex, Stupid   

Feb 9, 10 | 7:46 AM   byMichael Wolff
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Stories about the sex lives of politicians are just about the hottest copy in the business. So hot, that the hottest story at the New York Times is the rumor of a story about the sex life of David Paterson, New York’s governor.

We are all waiting for the great bombshell.

Although it may be that we don’t even need an actual story, that having had so many stories about politicians' sex lives, we can all fill in the blanks.

There are already reports that the governor will resign, and already denials from the governor about the imminence of his resignation, and about the details—he hasn’t had extra-marital sex, he says, since the last time he admitted to having extra-marital sex. Even though the story does not exist, the Times is being censured for it. The story is “psychological warfare,” according to Rick Lazio, a potential Paterson opponent (i.e., he gets to call attention to the story by distancing himself from it). This drubbing is not dissimilar to what happened after the Times published its investigation of John McCain’s sex life.

Curiously, only the New York Times seems unable to get credit for its coverage of politicians and their sex secrets. Its investigations are too thorough, too literal, too slow. They take the fun out of sex.

In fact, it is hard to imagine what more there is to be told about David Paterson’s sex life. On his second day in office, after replacing Eliot Spitzer, the former governor who was run out of town for sexual offenses, Paterson confessed details about whom, other than his wife, he’d had sex with, as well as in what hotels (terribly cheap ones). More recently, the New York Post has reported that the governor has been caught snogging in New Jersey, and in an electrical closet in the governor’s mansion in Albany.

As a matter of fact, if the Times can’t top that—and, really, how can you?—Paterson could well be protected from scandal because everybody already knows the story (which is, perhaps, a good strategy: gradually leak the most salacious stuff).

Also, considering that there is virtually nobody who believes that David Paterson will be nominated to run in the coming gubernatorial race, let alone be elected, this attention does seem a bit churlish. On the other hand, many people are annoyed that the governor is not exactly getting the message that his party doesn’t want him, and, we should recall, the last governor became the subject of sexual scandal quite possibly because it was a convenient way for his enemies to do him in.

Anyway, sex is the biggest issue in politics.


Surely, the National Enquirer should get the Pulitzer Prize for its investigation of John Edwards, the Big Kahuna (after Clinton) of political sexual indiscretions.

And, indeed, why should journalists investigate anything else: Everybody’s guilty.

More of Newser founder Michael Wolff's articles and commentary can be found at, where he writes a regular column. He can be emailed at You can also follow him on Twitter: @MichaelWolffNYC.

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