Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Politico Passions

Yesterday, the DC Madam posted her phone records online and revealed that Senator David Vitter was among her clients. So far, this sex scandal lacks the steamy, tawdry details of previous political debauchery. It did get me thinking about the tassel-twirling interests of past politicians.

Margie Hart, a 1930s burlesque queen known for her fast, hot dance routines, married L.A. Councilman John Ferraro.
Scandal Factor: One Tassel. The two married in the Seventies, long after Margie had retired. She'd separated herself from the burlesque world and if the marriage raised eyebrows it was only privately.

In her autobiography The Lady is a Vamp Tempest Storm claimed to have had an affair with JFK.
Scandal Factor: Two Tassels. After being linked with the century's top sex symbol, a buxom, red-headed burlesque dancer hardly seems scandalicious.

In the late Fifties, Blaze Starr began a long-term affair with Louisiana Governor Earl Long. The affair lasted until his death. It was rumored that Long left her $50,000 in his will, which Starr refused to accept. But in 1989, Paul Newman and Lolita Davidovich starred in Blaze, a film about the Starr-Long affair and Blaze made a cameo appearance.
Scandal Factor: Four Tassels. When an Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor and director stars in a movie about your affair, you know it's steamy.

In the Seventies, Arkansas Congressman Wilbur Mills was caught in his car with a stripper known as Fanne Foxe, the "Argentine Firecracker." She lept from the car and jumped into the Tidal Basin. He acknowledged his alcoholism and sought treatment. Despite the scandal he was re-elected, but then drunkenly staggered onstage at a Boston strip club where Foxe was performing. Mills then stepped down as chair of the Ways and Means Committee and did not seek re-election. Foxe began performing as "The Tidal Basin Bombshell."
Scandal Factor: Three Tassels. From controlling the government spending to being tawdry tittle-tattle definitely qualifies as sordid.

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