Opinion: The dullest sex scandal ever

Kyle McDonald

Kyle McDonald

Kyle McDonald is a magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Last week, Chris Lee possibly set the record for the quickest resignation in congressional history. It only took the sap three hours to give up his seat after the website Gawker exposed Lee’s topless picture and dialogue in response to a CraigsList personal ad.

Gawker reported the Republican congressman from New York replied to a posting in the “Women Seeking Men” section on Craigslist, describing himself as a “very fit, fun classy guy,” before whipping out his pecs and posing like a bro getting pumped before an Asher Roth concert. The only thing missing from the picture is a can of Natty Light. Lee also claimed he was a 39-year-old divorced lobbyist, even though he is actually 46 years old and married.

I’m disappointed in Lee for a couple reasons, none of which have anything to do with the fact that he flirted with someone other than his wife.

To start, this is probably the least scandalous political sex-scandal I’ve ever heard. Every year, a few juicy stories about promiscuous politicians grace the headlines. In most cases, the accused deny the allegations before coming clean with the public.

In this case, a congressman and a 34-year-old woman exchange very tame messages. The text with the shirtless picture said, “I’m relaxing at home.” The conversation ended after he said he was divorced and she searched Lee online. Remember the John Edwards scandal? Now that was a true scandal. Lee’s scandal is PG compared to Edwards’.

If Lee hadn’t been a complete idiot about covering his tracks, we might have had a much wilder story surface years from now. He obviously didn’t put much thought into the traceability of his messages. After all, Lee used his real name and the email account linked to his Facebook page in his replies. The only fabrications in his messages were his age, marital status and job title, all easily searchable.

Why Lee pretended to be a lobbyist above all other careers is another example of how elaborate the lies were. For crying out loud, say you’re a dentist or something—anything other than a job in politics.

I’m also disappointed that he resigned within three hours of the news breaking. While most politicians’ careers end when an affair surfaces, some manage to pull through and continue unharmed. Bill Clinton managed to get through one allegation before his presidency and a few more during. More recently, Senator John Ensign (R-NV), who pushed for Clinton’s impeachment, admitted having an affair with the wife of a close friend. While Ensign lost a committee seat, he is still serving as a senator. I’m pretty sure Lee could have survived through this one.

I hope this story ends up coming full circle. Lee will never be 39 again, but if he can’t patch things up with his wife, he may very well end up being a divorced lobbyist.