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The recent political scandal involving married republican senator Larry Craig, who is accused of soliciting homosexual sex in a public bathroom, reminds me of just how unscrupulous politicians can be.

Craig voluntarily pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct, but then tried to retract and cried, “I’m not gay, I made a mistake pleading guilty.” It was political suicide, although he had already hung himself. The arresting officer, Sgt. Dave Karsnia, is not only very experienced in this kind of solicitation, he has an impeccable record of integrity and many offenders have actually thanked him personally for discreet treatment.

Whether Craig likes it or not, he's guilty and is resigning as Idaho senator. He’s just one of the latest casualties.

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We can find similar problems in our own backyard. Our honorable Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who liked to pitch himself as a great family man and often preached family values, admitted to having an affair with Telemundo TV anchor Mirthala Salinas for over a year in June, along with the fact that he was separating from his wife of 20 years.

Take away the obvious ethical problem for a minute, and think about the fact that Salinas was on a political beat that often covered Villaraigosa (no pun intended). Isn’t that a MAJOR conflict of interest? Isn’t sleeping with your sources about as unethical as a journalist can get? Villaraigosa went on to say the most overused, clichéd and meaningless line that has caught on with disgraced politicians, “I take full responsibility for my actions.” Wow, thanks…What does that even mean when no other action follows?

Aside from the mother of all political sex scandals (I'll just say Bill to protect his anonymity), there's Republican Congressman Mark Foley's "good natured" interest in male teenage congressional pages. In September 2006, he resigned too.

The Mayor of Spokane, Washington was recalled by voters in 2005 after they learned he tried to hire homosexual interns off the internet.

There's also Senator Bob Packwood, who resigned after the Senate's Ethics Committee recommended his ousting over allegations that he groped, forcibly kissed and solicited sex to at least 29 women, including interns and congressional aides.

Newt Gingrich admitted to an affair while serving as Speaker of the House.

Grover Cleveland had an affair in 1874, resulting in him paying out child support, but he still became President...Just thought I'd throw that one in.

These are the people we elect and trust to run this country, to run our states, and in Villaraigosa's case, our city. Although not necessarily a direct threat to job performance, sexual deviancy establishes unethical character traits that put many other political motives into question.

In Villaraigosa's defense, however, Salinas is kind of hot (this is just a blog, folks). So for now, I guess we have to accept that politicians like to diversify their portfolios, and hope what happens under a desk doesn't interfere with taxpayer needs. After all, Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney are probably very faithful. Look how well they've done.

Photo by Joits via Flickr