Cosmo Guys

     This was going to be a column about Cosmopolitan magazine’s “100 Best Sex Tips of the Year,” but with sex abusers bringing down the Italian government and the president of Penn State, and embarrassing any Republicans who are capable of shame, it seems inappropriate right now.
     Oh, what the hell. The year’s Tip No. 3 to Cosmo girls was: “… sex bartering injects the hot. Try this: You do laundry; he buys a new vibe and uses it on you.”
     I suggested this to … someone. I told her we didn’t have to do it all. I’d settle for her doing the laundry. But no …
     Sex can be funny because it’s so ridiculous. (Though as Jack Paar said, I prefer it to sitting on eggs.)
     But sex is not funny when it’s inflicted upon someone: girl, woman, man, boy – it makes no difference.
     Herman Cain is different only in degree, but not in kind, from professional pimp Silvio Berlusconi and Penn State’s accused child molester/football coach Jerry Sandusky.
     Just as vile as the things four women, at last count, have accused the Republican Party’s frontrunner of doing to them – and just as typical – is the way Cain responded to it: by using hired goons to attack the first woman who had the guts to stand up in front of cameras and say what he did to her.
     Politics ain’t beanbag, as Finley Peter Dunne’s Mr. Dooley said more than a century ago. But Cain’s immediate resort to venom, to use of his wealth and power to destroy people he thought beneath him – and wanted beneath him – reminds me of something that happened to me during George W. Bush’s first run for the presidency. I bring it up not because what Bush’s campaign did was awful – it was not – but because it has become typical of Republican campaigns.
     I was a newspaper editor and an old friend of mine, a lawyer who went to Andover prep school with George W. Bush, told me that Bush sold phony IDs for $5 to anyone who joined his stickball league. Bush was the president of the stickball league, and to join you paid 5 bucks and got a photo ID – with the line for your birthday conveniently left blank.
     The preppies used the cards to buy beer.
     This was hardly earth-shaking news, but it was a story. So I called the Bush campaign and asked for a comment. The press flack said he’d have to ask his boss to call me back. About 3 minutes later, the boss did.
     This was the No. 2 guy in the Bush campaign. He not only denied it, he just about strangled me over the phone. He demanded repeatedly to know the name of my source.
     “I’m not going to tell you that,” I said.
     My lawyer friend, by the way, did not tell me the stickball story to try to hurt Bush. “He was our leader,” my pal said. “We thought he was a cool guy.”
     But Bush’s guy, over the phone, gave me the most vicious, venomous, threatening minute and a half to which I ever have been subjected. I ran the piece, using the politest quote I could from this gangster, and that was that. The Associated Press called and asked me to send it to them, but the AP never did anything with it. I presume to know why.
     After the Supreme Court threw the election to Bush, “Doonesbury” cartoonist Garry Trudeau, another of Bush’s Andover classmates, wrote an opinion piece for Time magazine. It included a photo of Trudeau’s phony ID card in Bush’s stickball league.
     I mention this not because I think this was a miscarriage of justice. It was not. Politics ain’t beanbag. I mention it because, even before the 2000 election, I was struck by how vicious the Bush campaign was, how ready to seek vengeance upon anyone who crossed them, to destroy people, with lies if necessary.
     Those are the tactics Cain is using against the women he preyed upon – the women whom Cain’s insurers paid $80,000 to shut up and go away.
     I mention this because Republicans have campaigned for years, and campaign today, upon the notion that there’s something dirty about sex – that children should not be educated about it, that women, but not men, should be punished for it.
     Sex is dirty, the way these people do it.
     Now, to cleanse our palates of Republican sex, I would like to close with another selection from the December issue of Cosmo.
     “What’s the best position for having sex in a bathtub?” one Cosmo girl wrote.
     Dear Cosmo Girl: They’re all good.

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