Why Clinton Screws Around

A cheat sheet for the news.
Feb. 1 1998 3:30 AM

Why Clinton Screws Around

(Continued from Page 1)

10 He's a boy-man. He remains the kid in the candy store, without control over his appetites for sex and food. Time's Lance Morrow says Clinton constantly pushes the envelope to see what he can get away with, like a 2-year-old who "tests the limits of his independence by toddling off."


11 This is a midlife crisis. Instead of buying a motorcycle or taking up bungee-jumping, the graying Clinton paired off with a 21-year-old to affirm his youth and virility.


1 2 The Clintons' is a marriage of convenience. There are several versions of this: 1) Hillary knows her husband is a sexaholic but overlooks his infidelity to advance her own political career. 2) Hillary is a prude, forcing Clinton to satisfy his sexual needs elsewhere. 3) The Dick Morris angle: Hillary may not be "into regular sex with men," forcing Clinton to sate his sexual appetite elsewhere.

13 Presidents are egomaniacs. The best estimates are that 13 out of 42 presidents cheated on their wives. Presidents are surrounded by servile sycophants who convince them they are invincible and forgive their sins, and this paves the way for sexual affairs. Men of presidential quality tend to be arrogant, with a sense of "entitlement and lordly expectation" (David Remnick, The New Yorker). The best example of presidential bravura ever: When told of John F. Kennedy's womanizing, Lyndon Johnson responded, "God damn it, I had more women by accident than he ever had by design!"

14 Presidents are alpha male studs. Evolutionary psychologists explain presidential philandering as an atavistic impulse left over from the early days of the human race. Natural selection rewarded men who clawed their way to positions of power with many sex partners (i.e., gave them many chances to reproduce their genes). Proponents of this theory recall ancient rulers such as the Pharaoh Ramses II and Aztec King Nezahualpilli, both of whom sired more than 100 children. (Click here to read Robert Wright's explication.)

15 Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac. Women throw themselves at powerful men, and powerful men are too weak to resist. The star-struck Lewinsky appears to have instigated a relationship with Clinton. According to her friends, she had long fantasized about sleeping with the president in the Oval Office.

16 Miserable childhoods bring lovers together. This is the most pleasant spin on the whole affair, which ascribes no deviant intentions to the president or Lewinsky. They were simply two lonely souls who bonded over their shared experience of abusive parents. This theory initially emanated from the White House.

17We're his enablers. The public's capacity for forgiveness only encourages Clinton's rogue ways. We don't make him pay the price for his dalliances, thereby convincing him that the risk is worth it.



Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.


Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
Sept. 29 2014 10:00 PM “Everything Must Change in Italy” An interview with Italian Prime Minster Matteo Renzi.
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
Dear Prudence
Sept. 29 2014 3:10 PM The Lonely Teetotaler Prudie counsels a letter writer who doesn’t drink alcohol—and is constantly harassed by others for it.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 29 2014 1:52 PM Do Not Fear California’s New Affirmative Consent Law
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal, but … What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
Future Tense
Sept. 29 2014 11:56 PM Innovation Starvation, the Next Generation Humankind has lots of great ideas for the future. We need people to carry them out.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 29 2014 12:01 PM This Is Your MOM’s Mars
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.