Six years ago, Republicans demanded that Bill Clinton be investigated and impeached for having sex with an intern and covering it up. Now their nominee for the U.S. Senate in Illinois, Jack Ryan, is brushing off his then-wife's allegations that he repeatedly pressured her, despite her protestations, to have sex with him in front of other people. Instead of denouncing Ryan, many Republicans are defending him.
But his facts are wrong. Clinton was not impeached for having sex with an intern. He was impeached for lying about it under oath. He first denied it under oath in order to cheat Paula Jones in a civil lawsuit, and then he denied to the grand jury that the affair started while she was still an intern. (His autobiography now concedes that it started while she was an intern.)
You read the released 1999 Ryan divorce papers here, or an AP summary here. (Also here.)
The Chicago Tribune filed the lawsuit to get the papers released,
and it published a history of USA political sex scandals, including this:
Thomas Jefferson: The president carried on a 38-year affair with Sally Hemings, a slave. The relationship resulted in at least one -- and up to six -- illegitimate children.In fact, there is considerable doubt about the Hemings story. This is some DNA evidence that a male relative of T. Jefferson fathered a child with Hemings, but there are historians with very good arguments that T.J. himself was not the father.
It is not clear why Jack Ryan's papers should be considered scandalous. They tell a personal story that doesn't belong in the newspaper. Much of it is still blacked out. From what I can gather, Jack and Jeri Ryan were married about 8 years and had 1 son. Towards the end of their marriage, her acting carreer took off as she got the TV role as Seven Of Nine in Star Trek Voyager. She then had an affair with another man, and secretly plotted to bail out of the marriage. She was the one that filed for divorce.
In order to make Jack look bad in a custody dispute, Jeri tells a story about how he had a fantasy about having sex with her at a kinky sex club. She refused. This occurred during a period in which Jeri had decided that the marriage was over, but Jack was trying to save the marriage.
What is sad here is that we have laws, courts, and lawyers who give incentives to wives to tells these stories, and judges and newspapers who try to manipulate an election by publicizing a 5-year-old sordid divorce dispute?
A spooky aspect to this story is the TV character Jeri played. 7of9 was absorbed into the Borg Collective, and is still part robot with unknown allegiances towards and evil robotic empire. Jack must have felt like his wife really was being absorbed into the Borg!
Update: Jack Ryan is now out. This is another example of the fact that divorce is usually caused by the wife, but the husband ends up getting blamed anyway.
Update: This story explains the unfairness of the Jack Ryan case. John Kerry also has a bitter ex-wife and some sealed divorce records. It will be interesting to see who thinks that the public has a right to see those records.