The "new right" website National File got hold of a text chain between Senate candidate Cal Cunningham and a married woman in California with whom he's been having some sort of consensual affair, and they headlined it -- "EXCLUSIVE" -- as though it was Bill-Clinton-level sex. The News and Observer amplified that news this morning. It's not Bill-Clinton-level. It's more like high school confidential.
But ... shittal! The stupidity frosts my berries. And as a politico, I don't want to see this kind of personal, private crap this close to an election, especially one that Cal is supposed to win. May still win, because after all ... so what? Consensual, private. Yes, a breach of trust and some ripe dumb shit, as Cal the candidate immediately copped to in a press statement last night:
“I have hurt my family, disappointed my friends, and am deeply sorry. The first step in repairing those relationships is taking complete responsibility, which I do.”
So ... facepalm time, and a nagging dread of voter backlash. What are the odds on Cal's still winning the Senate seat? Depends on whether suburban women decide to make an example of him. He betrayed his wife. But his embarrassing text messages aren't comparable to a Bill Clinton sexcapade, or even a Newt Gingrich affair. Clinton smelled of predation, Gingrich of neediness. As far as Cal's adultery, it looks more like coltish hormones set at liberty in a pasture where other coltish hormones also roam. Her texts are even more romantically aggressive. So it was mutual lust. Is lust a killing offense?
Betrayal is not the last and only word about Cal Cunningham. He has other solid human qualities. Also strategic political importance. His ascent as a 2020 candidate, along with the math of the US Senate, makes him an essential player in the restoration of the Republic. This scandal does not IMO negate the key strategery of his vote in the Senate. Which means, O my brethren, he is weighed in the balance and found adequate.
Full disclosure: I contributed to his campaign, and I've already voted for him and would do so again.