February 14, 2011

Dirty, rotten scoundrels?

I don't normally like to write about politics because it often just leads to pointless and endless arguments. But, this idea has been rolling around in my head for a while and I wanted to check into it.

Basically, I've noticed the number of Republicans caught being hypocritical to their "family values" message and being forced to resign. I'll admit to being a bit biased and enjoying the
schadenfreude of the situation, so I wanted to look back at the historical data and see if it was just my biased view clouding my recollection.

So, I went to the cloud (cue music)... I found a source of resignations here http://www.rollcall.com/politics/casualtylist.html and then went to Wikipedia for the reasons that people resigned. Often I had to do a bit more googling when the reasons were not clear,
but hopefully I've captured the primary reasons in the spreadsheet I'm now publishing here:


So far, I've only gone back to the 101st Congress (1989-1990). Over time, I may add more data. If you want to help, just format the data as I have in this spreadsheet and send it on.

On the Summary tab, you'll find a rollup of the information. Here
are the things I found interesting:
  • Since 1989, exactly the same number, 9, Republican and Democratic congressmen have resigned for what I am calling "dishonorable" reasons.
  • The majority (5 or 56%) of Republican dishonorable resignations were due to sexual activity or allegations.
  • The majority (6 or 67%) of Democratic dishonorable resignations were money-related.
So, my recollection of Republicans being "caught with their pants down" was apparently a reasonable one. But, the Democrats are apparently just as dirty, but for greed rather than lust.

I suppose another cynical way to look at this is that both parties are sprinkled with dirty, rotten scoundrels. Its just that the Republicans are better at hiding bribery and graft, and Democrats are better at not getting caught cheating on their wives.