Garrison Wynn
Speaker, Consultant, Author

Garrison Wynn

Founder of Wynn Solutions, this keynote speaker is a former stand-up comedian and author of "The Real Truth About Success

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Addictive behavior

Q: Senator, vice president, nearly a president, and a Nobel Prize winner -- Al Gore has been successful by any measure. Will the recent allegation that he groped a masseuse -- Portland, Ore. police are reopening the investigation -- significantly change his reputation or legacy? Should it?

Let's be honest: Throughout history, a percentage of politicians have had a "groping story" in the headlines at some point in their career. It's not uncommon.

Nineteenth-century president Grover Cleveland was nicknamed "Grover the Grabber" for his alleged tendency to grab the knees of his female dining partners at the White House. He also admitted his involvement in a paternity suit, which fueled newspapers and magazines to print a political cartoon that pictured a baby saying, "Ma, Ma, where's my Pa?"

Looking to take the heat off his reputation, this bachelor president, at 49 years old, married a 21-year-old woman in the White House. He is the only president in our nation's history to be elected twice in nonconsecutive terms (he was the 22nd and 24th president), which is impressive for guy known for his ... shall we say ... under-the-table negotiations.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was accused of groping as well; the media made a big deal out of the "Gropenator's" misdeeds but overlooked the story of his father's little stint as a Nazi storm trooper! And let's not forget that Bill Clinton gave the nightly news an R rating and still managed to stay in office.

Face it. Sex sells, but it's often politically survivable. Some politicians are guilty and some are not, but the story is good even if the accuser is just a nutcase seeking primetime attention.

Let's take a very realistic look at the problem of politicians and their seemingly unquenched sexual appetites. Most research shows that successful people have compulsive behavior. It's the fuel for drive; it's why so many very talented people have drug and alcohol problems. What we don't talk about, of course, is sexually addictive behavior, which is just another manifestation of compulsive behavior.

It's hard to get elected in modern times if you have a few DWIs and slur your words on camera. But back before 24-hour televised news, President Ulysses S. Grant frequently hung out in a hotel bar near the White House and, over more than a few drinks, granted favors for people like he was The Godfather. He called the people who sought his help "lobbyists," which is the origin of the term used today.

However, it's entirely possible to become an elected official with just a faint hint of infidelity trailing you as you move toward the top. Maybe this makes sex the "drug of choice" for those seeking political stardom.

In the end, however, it seems that Gore, just like "Groper" Cleveland, will survive the accusations and his legacy will suffer minimal damage. It seems that, in the eyes of America, being a sex maniac does not make you a bad politician; it just makes you a bit sleazy. The truth is that a lot of people already think that about politicians, regardless of their bad habits.

By Garrison Wynn  |  July 8, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Success and controversy Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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