Would you survive a scandal?

Not sure? US politicians know what to do. Watch Richard L. Berke of The New York Times talk about what happened to Bill Clinton, Gary Hart, Newt Gingrich and others:

The video speaks for itself and is entertainment for those of you who are on holidays. For almost 30 years Richard has observed how different US politicians managed to handle scandals and get back in the saddle again.

Is it really as simple as just being visible and pretend it never happened? Bill Clinton got re-elected by doing so. Will Eliot Spitzer also manage to get re-elected?

After watching the video do you think you could survive a scandal? If so, how would you do it? What’s the best recipe for getting back in favour? Would you manage to get on with life as if the scandal had never happened? Do you have the poker face and self confidence it takes? What could the politicians in the video have done better? Is it positive that people are forgiven for past sins and can get on with life? Or do you believe someone who has sinned should be punished for the rest of their life?

Video: TheNewYorkTimes – You Tube

35 responses

  1. No I wouldn't survive a scandal, it will live with me.
    I am not a politician. I will admit what ever happens and go on with life.

  2. Catarina — it embarrasses me as an American to see all these politicians and their sex scandals. However, it's certainly not exclusive to our country. Politicians everywhere seems to think they're invincible and can get away with these things.

    In my great city of New York we have Eliot Spitzer, who was governor when he was frequently a house of prostitution, and Anthony Weiner who sent salacious pictures of himself to women on Twitter, running for office. Can't we find any more viable candidates in a city of 8 million!? As comedian Woody Allen stated, "Eighty percent of success is showing up." That's what Richard Berke said in so many words. You've got to be visible. So I guess that's the secret of surviving a scandal.
    My recent post How a Tweet on Twitter Got Action (Finally) From a Social Care Rep

    • Jeannette, having a mistress is not such a big deal in many parts of the world. Look at Sarkozy in France. He got divorced and married Carla Bruni when he was president.

      Agree that being visible and treat it like it was no big deal must be the key to getting back in the saddle again after a scandal. Having said that friends of mine who are well known don't find it amusing when they wake up to press photographers in their garden. It's easier said than done. You have to have really thick skin and a poker face. Or be married to Hillary Clinton.

    • Yes Berlusconi got away with it for a long time, Safae. But he has just been sentenced for sex with an underage girl:-) Anyway, would you, Safae, survive a scandal?

  3. The thing about scandals that bother me is that the only thing that makes them "scandals" is that they are famous people doing them. After all these are actions that people do all over the world. The only reason they seem to be blown out of proportion is that these people are famous. If your neighbor where to do the same thing would they have paparazzi at their doorstep? Likely not. Infidelity, theft, embezzlement, murder, racial slurs are all common indiscretions (unfortunately). But it only becomes a scandal when its someone famous doing them. The key to surviving them is to be honest that you made a mistake and show the world that you are a better person, and more person, than that one action.
    My recent post What To Do When You Have A Great Idea

    • The reason for that is because ordinary people love to read about famous people having problems, Bravo. A celebrity having problems sells newspapers like nothing else. By the way, murder isn't a common indiscretion. But the headlines make you think it is.

  4. You pose an interesting question. I am a private person and wouldn’t find myself in the public eye on purpose. The fact is, I really don’t know why a person would do some of the things these politicians do. It is beyond my understanding. In the end it is the job they can do, not the transgressions of the past that matter to the ones who vote for them. Would I? It does have a bearing on my voting decision. My final thoughts are if they use poor judgement in their private lives, what would they do in their political career. Just my thoughts.
    My recent post Godiva Original Chocolate Liqueur

    • Good points, Susan. Have always wondered why people don't understand what being in the public eye entails. Privacy is gone and everything you do is scrutinized by the press. Anyone who make the choice of becoming a policitian has to adapt to that. In the past it was easier. What would have happened to JFK today?:-)

    • You have to have really thick skin to get through a scandal, Cassi. Obvioulsy that's not the case with you. Isn't it worse when politicians are taking kick-backs? There are politicians in all Western countries that are paid by people smugglers to look the other way and facilitate bringing human beings into the countries.

      • Kick-backs are also bad but I don't know which would be worse. Add to that the other skeletons in their closets and failure to fulfill campaign promises.

        • OK, Cassi. But it's not only politicians that have skeletons in their closets. However saying whatever it takes to get elected is something that politicians all over the world are guilty of. But it's up to us, the voters, to punish them for that.

  5. I'm very unforgiving. I thought Bill Clinton should have resigned. It wasn't the sex thing as much as the sex thing in the White House and then lying about it. God bless, Hillary. If he were my husband, he would have found his stuff on the White House lawn . I'm not just unforgiving vis a vis other people's disgraces. I don't think I would survive my own scandal. I'd be too ashamed to want to be a public figure. It's the politicians who are social conservatives for everybody else, but cavort with prostitutes and force their girl friends to have abortions who really send me over the edge.
    My recent post Seriously Smitten by Sunsets in Brigantine, New Jersey (A Photo Essay Mostly)

    • Thank you for giving us your thoughts, Suzanne. It's interesting isn't it that in many other countries it is no big deal if politicians are unfaithful. The double standards in your country are lamentable. Maybe it would be better if there was a bit more tolerance when it comes to having affairs? Plenty of Americans have affairs but don't tolerate it if when your politicians are unfaithful.

  6. The closest I got to a scandal was in one of my years as a sales manager. You don't need the details of it but let's just say – I did survive some awful attacks. It was a process, sort of like the process a person goes through when someone they love has died. Not the SAME process but a process none the less.

    Having said I survived doesn't mean that I would survive a scandal, only that I believe I have similar skills that I could recall if necessary – hahaha – through hypnosis likely, to help me navigate the situation.
    My recent post Confident Communications for the Introvert Presentation

  7. To forget about a scandal in the way politicians seem to do needs enormous 'chutzpah' – or a very thick skin (and not just your own, but those around you). Unfortunately, politicians around the world seem to be blessed with both…

  8. It would be unpleasant and it would require some tolerance from those closest, but I've seen so many people reclaim their reputations and in fact receive accolades after a scandal that I can't imagine letting my life be ruined by an indiscretion. I think most things go on because people drag them out.

    If I had to advise a client it would come down to confession (admit it if you did it), contrition (say your sorry), calm (don't feed the frenzy, be available but not confrontational) and courting (come back into public gradually and appropriately).

    The nature of the scandal would dictate how you implemented the stages, but most scandals are made up of things that are none of the public's business in the first place. Unless they are a pedophile, who a politician chooses to have sex with is not interesting to me.
    My recent post Personal Paradigms, The Good, The Bad & The Impact

    • Agree with what you say Debra. In the United States it also seems to work for them to say that they have found God and hence understand the importance of their family. Then they are often forgiven:-)

  9. I don’t think many would survive a scandal. If you’e in the limelight and something like this occurs, you’ll need a militia to get through it. I wouldn’t make fault in geting myself into any possibility of a scandal if I can avoid it. Great post yet again!

    • Agree with you Susan. Maybe women in the public eye are more careful? But then again if you look at celebrities women are frequently involved in scandals. But there is a difference between being in the entertainment business and politics:-)

    • True, Cheryl. But for a normal person a scandal doesn't become a nationwide or global issue. Unless a person is famous, who cares about infidelity? And the unfaithful normal person will not find the press in his garden when he wakes up.

  10. I was accused of something scandalous once & had a really hard time with it; I wasn't guilty, but the fact that I was so embarrassed by the accusations made it hard for me to even try to defend myself. I did end up just ignoring it, but it was a long couple of months before people "forgot."

  11. I'm not so sure that people such as the politicians referenced above are forgiven for past sins so much as the general public has a short memory. Reactions to scandals are definitely of a fickle nature and it's hard to predict from one to the next what the reaction would be. Personally, I would like to think I would survive a scandal because I like to live my life as if I have nothing to hide. When something questionable comes up, I've never averted being proactive in my response to the situation. I am who I am. Take it or leave it.
    My recent post Curse Words in Books: Yea or Nay?

    • What you mention about the general public having a short memory is true, Jeri. Almost said thank God for that since when it comes to infidelity the majority of human beings are guilty of it. They just don't end up in the papers. The general public should not have short memory however when it comes to corruption. That's much worse.

  12. Catarina,
    Yes you are seeing scandals but what about the sandals we don't hear about that are going on everyday. However, Politicians think they are about the law and can get away with anything. They can as the American people have short term memories. In fact sometimes it even boost their visibility. At the moment we think, how could they do that and later it doesn't become that important as most of us move on with our lives.

    I don't think I would survive a scandal as I have a conscience. I care about my reputation and not to be native I really don't think I would ever be put in that position to even have to worry about it.

    It must be newsworthy to countries outside of the US. There are many times I think what does the world think of our politicians and celebrities that are always in the news, but I am sure it happens all over the world, but more countries are interesting in what the United States is doing.
    My recent post Juggling and Balancing Business Productivity

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *