Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/17/18: Have You Heard About The Adulterous Governor?

Good Morning!

Just one issue to warm-up with today, but a juicy one, with sex, lies, and tape! Two kinds of tape, in fact…

I find it peculiar that the travails of Missouri Governor Eric Greitens have received such light coverage in the news media; after all, this is great chance to embarrass a Republican. If you missed the story, it goes like this:

During his campaign later during his first year in office as Missouri’s Governor (he began his term a year ago), Eric Greitens proclaimed himself a family values guy. During his campaign announcement, he stated: “I’m Eric Greitens, I’m a Navy SEAL, native Missourian and most importantly, a proud husband and father.” Rumors of past extra-marital dalliances surfaced, and the Governor denied them.

An un-named lover’s ex-husband,however, blew the whistle to the news media, providing an incriminating tape in which the woman said she had a single sexual encouter with Grietens  and that he tried to blackmail her to ensure her silence.  “He took a picture of my wife naked as blackmail. There is no worse person,” the ex-husband told reporters. There are also allegation that Grietens slapped her. The woman  has not made an on-the-record comment about the story.

In a recording released by CBS News, the unnamed woman is heard saying,

“I knew he was being sexual and I still let him. And he used some sort of tape, I don’t know what it was and taped my hands to these rings and then put a blindfold on me. He stepped back and I saw a flash through the blindfold and he said you’re never going to mention my name, otherwise, there will be pictures of me everywhere….He tried kissing my stomach and tried to kiss me down there but didn’t quite get there because I flipped out and I said you need to stop.”

Last week, the Governor and his wife released this statement:

“A few years ago, before Eric was elected Governor, there was a time when he was unfaithful in our marriage. This was a deeply personal mistake. Eric took responsibility, and we dealt with this together honestly and privately. While we never would have wished for this pain in our marriage, or the pain that this has caused others, with God’s mercy Sheena has forgiven and we have emerged stronger. We understand that there will be some people who cannot forgive – but for those who can find it in your heart, Eric asks for your forgiveness, and we are grateful for your love, your compassion, and your prayers.” 

Sheena Greitens added:

“We have a loving marriage and an awesome family; anything beyond that is between us and God. I want the media and those who wish to peddle gossip to stay away from me and my children.” 

The allegations of blackmail and now of battery are being investigated. Some lawmakers from both parties are calling on the Governor to resign.

Last week, an attorney for Governor Greitens released the following statement:

“We have been asked repeatedly by reputable news outlets why we believe this nearly three-year-old news story is coming out now. The latest reporting has finally disclosed that the reporting was being driven by a “source” who is the former Democrat state party chairman and who apparently has not spoken to the person in question. This goes a long way to explaining what is going on – this is a political hit piece.

This is and remains an almost three-year-old private matter with no matter of public interest at stake. Eric and Sheena have worked through those issues long ago and I think that Sheena put it best: ‘We have a loving marriage and an awesome family; anything beyond that is between us and God. I want the media and those who wish to peddle gossip to stay away from me and my children.’ Now we know who has been peddling that gossip.”


  • Should past adultery be sufficient to force an elected high official to resign? I thought Bill Clinton had settled this issue, didn’t you?

How can Democrats have the chutzpah to call for Greitens to resign over this episode after the party took the official position that far worse adultery, with a low (really low) subordinate half his age, engaged in as President, in the White House, that the President lied about to the press and the public, and used his staff to cover up, was just a matter of “private personal conduct”?

  • Still, Al Franken was forced to resign for less…or is the official Democratic position that wrecking a marriage, threatening to blackmail a paramour, and betraying the woman you have pledged to love, honor and obey isn’t as serious as a disrespectful photo, some fanny pats and unconsented french kisses, much of which was unsubstantiated, while this Governor’s conduct is admitted and backed by a tape?

What are the values that Democrats and progressive stand for? I’m confused…and so are they.

  • The issue should be trust. Greitens lied about his status as a “family man” to get elected. He betrayed his wife’s trust. Why is he trustworthy enough to be governor?

That’s the ethics issue. It’s also where Franken and Greitens intersect, and distinguish themselves from pre-Monica Bill and President Trump. Voters knew about their pre-Presidential misconduct. Franken and Grietens were elected by voters who didn’t have some information about the candidates’ character that they may have wanted to have.

  • The statements from the Greitens and the lawyer make me want to cheer for the resignation side. So what if it’s a “political hit piece”?  The Governor didn’t deal with the affair “honestly,” he represented himself as Joe Faithful, and he wasn’t. Playing the God Card is cynical: God has nothing to do with this. (“This is between us and God” is as offensive as it is wrong. Citizens have a right to want to respect their leaders.) Moreover, people can forgive Greitens and still conclude that he isn’t trustworthy enough to be governor. Forgiveness and waiving accountability are not the same. The lawyer, meanwhile, is engaging in deflection and a rationalization orgy.

The main rationalization being trotted out here is #55,  The Scooby Doo Deflection, or “I should have gotten away with it!” There are others in the lawyer’s argument too, like #2. Ethics Estoppel, or “They’re Just as Bad”;#22. The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things”; #23. Woody’s Excuse: “The heart wants what the heart wants”; and #38 A.“Mercy For Miscreants.”

Let’s take a poll!


Sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch; KMOV TV



58 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/17/18: Have You Heard About The Adulterous Governor?

  1. By now I think people know that “family values” is code for I’m totally an adulterer, might have a prostitute or three buried in the basement and I totally paid for her abortion.

    • It’s…. strange. I took an extra long pause there before writing “strange”, it’s not quite the right word… It’s something that’s… sad, funny, interesting, and so much more, how often people who deign to portray themselves as moral arbiters fail so utterly to live by their own standards.

      It’s almost like people who make a point of virtue signalling their moral superiority are more likely to be projecting their personal failures onto others.

      You wouldn’t happen to know anyone like that, would you?

  2. So, my answer is that the adultery is just ick, and doesn’t really matter to his position. But, if the reports are correct and he attempted to blackmail the woman… Then that (the blackmail) is an ethical issue which would require his being removed from office… preferably to a jail cell.

    • Agreed. Last time I checked, extortion is still a felony in most states. He should be prosecuted for extortion, convicted if appropriate, and impeached. All of which will take time, more time than the forty-eight minutes required for a “Law and Order” episode.

      • Assault, particularly of an intimate partner, and what appears to be attempted rape, are also illegal. That said, I think a district attorney who is neither a Republican hack nor a Democrat hitman should look into these allegations.

  3. Before we rush to be too judgemental. Is the unnamed woman the same one that the wife understands to be the Governor’s former mistress. Is this a different one or a contrived one?

    Has the blackmail story been corroberated by finding the Governor with the photo?

    Should the governor be shown to be an aduterer – sure he admits to that.

    Can we be certain the blackmail story is true – not without further investigation.

    Should we convict him with the little info here using an allegation alone – No

    Will we convict him without due process – probably.

    Is this ethical – no.

  4. I always move to the “if he’ll lie to his family, he will lie to his voters” choice. But, sadly, if we applied this to the 535 members of Congress a super majority would have to resign today. The voters are often left to the “least bad” person on the ballot and we’ve witnessed that occurrence too often in the recent past. Perhaps our expectations are too high, or alternately foolish, incompetent, lying weasels are just attracted to Politics.

    • I was once told I’d never make it in politics “because you tell it like it is, and people don’t want to hear it like it is.” If that’s the case, it’s on the people for electing those who lie the best.

  5. Here in Missouri, the issue is the blackmail, not the adultery. We assume our state elected officials are messing around, whether they are Republicans or Democrats.

    • 1. That’s sad.

      2. And the blackmail has not been proven. That’s why I specifically left it off the poll, and also because I’m more interested in the “everybody does it” response to adultery, which is, in term of actual and potential harm, a lot worse than anything Franken was accused of.

      • Stipulated. I’m sure Greitens will survive this if no more women show up or the blackmail remains unproven. I was just clarifying that no one cares about the adultery and the hypocrisy, because the Republicans control both houses in Missouri, and the few Republicans asking for his resignation won’t matter. It would be the same if he was a Democrat and the Democratic party dominated. The Missouri legislature is a seething bed of unethical behavior. I would also like to put out there (before someone accuses the woman of trying to destroy Greitens’ career) that the ex-husband released the tape without her permission.

  6. As for the poll.

    First I must assume that LGBTQIPKA are legitimate sexualities that must never be discriminated against otherwise I am a homophobe.

    However, I am told the P in the above acronym stands for both pansexual and polysexual.

    A polysexual individual engages in consensual sexual activities with more than one consenting adult.

    Therein lies the rub. Is it adultry if one in the marriage is a Polysexual and the other is not? Can the non poly partner overrule the desires of the poly partner without divorce? Is the decision on the non poly partner who chooses not to divorce the poly partner tacitly or overtly accepting the poly partner’s behavior while not engaging in multiple partners themselves?

    We then must ask. If we accept the proposition that we must never chastise, discriminate or otherwise condemn any LGBTQIPKA individual because of their sexual preferences, can I condemn one who claims ti be monogamous but attempts to keep his/her “P” kept secretly in the closet.

    I’m fricken confused. Especially since I know a P.

    • I also know a P. The problem is not that she’s polyamorous, the problem is that she’s an asshole. She wasn’t open about her sexuality prior to the marriage (or perhaps didn’t know about it), and pressured her husband into allowing her to see other men. They are finally separating soon, but he has allowed her to walk all over him for years, and all the while she knew she was making him miserable. He refused to see anyone else. They also have a kid together, who knows about their arrangement and the problems it’s caused, and is too young to understand any of it.

      I am not sure how understanding I am of the poly lifestyle, but my stance is not to condemn the sexual preference, but to condemn the harmful treatment of her husband. If they both agreed they enjoyed her polyamorous nature and it didn’t cause problems between them or problems for the kid, then I might not understand it, but I wouldn’t condemn it. But this was clearly a case where it just didn’t work for both partners.

      • can I condemn one who claims ti be monogamous but attempts to keep his/her “P” kept secretly in the closet.

        Forgot to answer this question. If they’re acting on it without the knowledge or permission of their spouse, they deserve condemnation. The same is true of closeted gay people who cheat on their spouses with members of the same sex. Marriage is a pact, and you don’t break a pact. Perhaps I can grant some leniency to those born in a time where their sexuality was illegal and marriage all but mandatory, but in this day and age, there isn’t even that excuse. Polyamorous people can find other polyamorous people, or at least people who are OK with their spouse’s polyness (no idea if that’s the right word). If they’re already married and realize that’s who they are, the solution is to talk it out and come to an agreement or get a divorce. Adultery is never the answer.

        • Quite right. Marriage is a pact. It is also merely a codified legal union. Depending on your religious beliefs; to some it is a holy sacrament, to others its simply a way to gain legal rights.

          However the facts as shown indicate the Governor’s wife is resolving the issue internally. What is being asked is if voters should condemn his polyamory and demand his resignation. If one can condemn this form of sexuality when the actual harmed party wants the issue to be left alone, do we not harm her again if he is forced from office in disgrace. If yes, then is it ethical to condemn a different sexuality and drive them from office when they did not inform the public before the election.

          I guess the point is when is discrimination based on sexual proclivities allowed and at what point does it become bigotry.

          • There is a rationalization on point, you recall, no?

            42. The Hillary Inoculation, or “If he/she doesn’t care, why should anyone else?”

            This is a complex, hybrid rationalization that draws upon the warped and corrupting logic of “Everybody does it,” the Biblical rationalizations, Comparative Virtue (“there are worse things!”) and a few others to reach an absurd argument that nevertheless sometimes carries the day.

            One example that will live in infamy, and the inspiration for #42’s title, was Bill Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky scandal, which exposed him beyond all doubt as a liar, a power abuser, a hypocrite and, incidentally, an adulterer, not that anyone was surprised at that. His wife, First Lady Hillary Clinton, prominently defended her husband, somehow keeping her feminist creds at the same time, a neat trick. She knew which side of the bread her butter was on, as the saying goes: her loyalty was going to pay off more than righteous indignation. Thus she obfuscated, spun and lied for Bill, and gave his defenders this jaw-dropping argument, which they used liberally:

            “If Hillary is willing to forgive him, why shouldn’t we?”

            Let us count the ways. Why?

            1. Because her relationship to him is as a wife to a husband, and ours is as citizens to a national leader. The standards are different, the stakes are different, and the consequences of the betrayal of trust are different.

            2. Because the seriousness of an ethical or legal violation is not defined by who chooses to tolerate or forgive it.

            3. Because her decision to ignore, forgive or tolerate may be the product of bias, self-interest, or other non-ethical considerations that make the decision unreliable, untrustworthy, and a poor template for the response of others, as well as societal standards.

            4. Because she may be wrong, mistaken, or a fool.

            5. Because we each are responsible for making our own ethical judgments, and to delegate those judgments to a third party, especially to a third party who is not objective or likely to be affected by conflicts of interest, makes neither logical nor ethical sense.

            • I am just struggling with avoiding bias toward others of different sexual preferences. I understand the rationalization.

              Betrayal of trust is the underlying offense. That signifies acharacter defect. The question then arises does the person exhibit chronic behavior or does one event justify a chronic behavior.

              • Adultery isn’t a sexual preference, and Bill Clinton’s behavior was chronic even if you discount the allegations of non-consensual behavior.

                I do wonder about the future; if polyamory or at least open relationships are ever accepted, will politicians be allowed to have sex with people other than their spouses without it being a scandal, provided their spouse is OK with it? I imagine a lot of politicians,, like Hollywood actors, already have such agreements. How many “Good Wives” (still need to go back and read Jack’s coverage of that show—I got obsessed over the summer) already knew about and tolerated their husbands’ affairs and pretended to have been in the dark about them to save face? Would they be seen as in the wrong if they came out and admitted they knew about and were OK with it? Scandal (which was nowhere near as good as The Good Wife even in its good seasons, and ultimately became so unethical I had to stop watching) did a storyline about that; the president’s wife *encouraged* her husband’s mistress to come back to him, but helped cover up the affair from the public.

                I have a writer friend who wrote a futurist novel wherein the female president had a husband and a female lover, and this was treated as controversial at first but eventually accepted. With the growing number of people who say they’ve had threesomes with their partners or have open relationships, maybe adultery will fall by the wayside. Of course there would be consequences to this, like with any other social change.

                • I mean… If you aren’t willing to be married, why get married? I feel like I’m missing something important here, but getting married knowing that either you’ll be miserable or unfaithful reads to me like going to the Keg and ordering a Happy Meal…. You’re just bound for disappointment.

            • I think the tipping point in this debate is a quantity vs quality evaluation.

              I don’t think Hillary’s inoculation is necessarily relevant unless the quantity v quality evaluation is solid.

              Bill was CHRONIC philanderer and abuser of women and violator of oaths, so Hillary’s “forgiveness” was moot, she was along for the ride and was in it for her own motives. The Hillary inoculation works, because forgiveness has a limit of abuse after which rational people do not forgive, they cut ties. She did not, so her “forgiveness” was no longer applicable.

              Eric’s infidelity, for what can tell, occurred once.

              The debate here is whether or not he learned and changed after this unethical conduct. If so, he’s no longer an oath-breaker. That’s the quantity side of the coin.

              The quality side of the coin is that the oath he broke. The singularly original foundation of all society, marriage vows, is the oath he broke. And, as Teddy Roosevelt opined that a man who cheats on his wife is worse than a man who betrays his nation, it’s a pretty serious violation.

              Does the quality of the oath-breaking, though seemingly resolved, continue on to the present?

              I tend to lean towards yes, but I’m not rock solid on this evaluation in a culture that wants to extend forgiveness and second chances.

              As for campaigning as a family values man, I would need to see the chronology of events to determine if that is a relevant hypocrisy or if it actually isn’t hypocrisy at all.

      • That’s a reasonable position but should others impose their beliefs about sexuality on others who have gotten past the issue?

  7. I think that if there is provable blackmail or battery, he should be prosecuted and removed, or forced to resign.

    If this is a case of simple adultery with no actionable criminal liability, I think it’s up to him, and those who elected him. The Democrats are ethically estopped from demanding his resignation because of Bill Clinton.

    The tape does prove he’s a creep, and the residents of Missouri would be justified in not trusting him.

    It may be a private matter to him, but he’s a public person, and when the private indiscretions of politicians become known to the general public, it damages not only their credibility, but undermines the office in which they serve. It is hard to be a respected leader when you have been caught on tape being a cad — Just ask Donald Trump. It doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t be effective (again, Bill Clinton, Trump), but nobody’s going to list to your moralizing and most will find you hard to trust.

    In the end, I leave it to the people who elected him to decide, but if it were me, I would resign. I wouldn’t feel like I was able to be effective with that kind of karmic burden draped on my shoulders, and I would feel as if nobody would trust me, because I demonstrated conclusively in the most personal, deeply held way that I cannot be trusted. Generally, untrustworthy people should not hold elective office, even though it happens — a lot.

    • Glen,

      How is a tape of one person without the voice of the accused incriminating? My understanding is that it is the account of the ex-wife. That is an allegation not incrimination.

      Assuming the women in the tape is the woman known to have been in an extramarital affair by Sheena, the Governor’s wife is reasonable but not proof positive.

      Once again we see presumptive virtue confer credibility upon the female. Did she not also engage in the extramarital affair? Of course she did. Is she a cad as well or only men cads? If it was non- consensual then it is sexual assault at a minimum. Do we know that the Governor threatened to expose her with the pictures by any other evidence? Do pictures even exist.

      Everything presented as fact has not been confirmed. It may be true. Some of it may be true. Or, it may be partially false. The only thing we can say for sure is that the Governor had an affair, the Governor and his wife are working through it for their reasons, the mistress and her husband are divorced know for undisclosed reasons, and the ex husband releases a tape by an unnamed person.

      That is all we know for sure.

      Let there be an investigation and let the chips fall where they may.

      • If this is a case of simple adultery with no actionable criminal liability, I think it’s up to him, and those who elected him. The Democrats are ethically estopped from demanding his resignation because of Bill Clinton.

        I actually agree with this, but I wonder how long this estoppel lasts, or to how many it applies. I’m of a generation that couldn’t even vote when Clinton was in office; can I call for the resignation of a cheating politician? In fifty years when every Democratic congressman who was involved in politics during the Clinton affair is dead or retired, are the Democrats in office then still estopped?

        • The average age of a Congressman or Senator is about 105, you didn’t carry water for Bill back in the day, but basically everyone in power today did…. If you want to separate yourself from the herd in order to call this out, you probably have the right, but it’s going to sound hollow until your leadership changes.

        • I actually agree with this, but I wonder how long this estoppel lasts, or to how many it applies.

          I don’t know either, but my default goes to “All Democrats” and “Forever until they change their position on Bill Clinton.”

          I’m of a generation that couldn’t even vote when Clinton was in office; can I call for the resignation of a cheating politician?

          If you’re a registered Democrat, no. Guilt by association, corruption of blood, whatever floats your boat. I forbid it on the basis of my own godhood. 😉

          Otherwise, sure.

          In fifty years when every Democratic congressman who was involved in politics during the Clinton affair is dead or retired, are the Democrats in office then still estopped?

          Absolutely. Forever means forever, until the energy death of the universe, or until all elected Democrats forever forswear their position that Bill Clinton’s behavior was irrelevant to his presidency.

          Did I mention they must also write “Bill Clinton was a sex abuser who corrupted the presidency” 100 times — in their own blood? No? Oops.

          Then, and only then, will they no longer be estopped.

        • Chris: “…but I wonder how long this estoppel lasts, or to how many it applies.”

          A good question these days. Perhaps it should hold until the Clintons are treated, among the democrat base and leadership, at least as harshly and broadly as persona non grata, for their predatory behavior and enabling, as is Harvey Weinstein.

      • How is a tape of one person without the voice of the accused incriminating? My understanding is that it is the account of the ex-wife. That is an allegation not incrimination.

        Well, I didn’t use the word “incriminating,” but it is certainly suggestive that he’s a creep. Doesn’t prove it, though, and if though, so your point is conceded.

        Let there be an investigation and let the chips fall where they may.

        Works for me!

  8. Some comments seem to be presuming something not yet proven. Unless I misunderstood the info Jack posted, isn’t the “tape” just an alleged recording of a statement by the woman, not by the governor? If authentic, that supports the admission of the affair, but leaves any question of blackmail or non-consensual action still just a he-said-she-said at this point.

      • Jack, is it logical to conclude this is the women the Governor had the one time encounter? Could this be someone else? No names are attached to the Governor’s admission that an affair occured nor is one attached to the unnamed woman making the tape.

        • If the woman on the tape is not the woman his wife understands to be the “other women” it does not confirm the affair. The tape is immaterial to corroberate the affair given the governor’s wife and lawyer made the confirmation.

          • Regarding consensuality, To take a naked photo of her while her hands are taped to rings would mean she was undressed BEFORE she says “I knew he was being sexual and I let him”.

            YA THINK!

            What is on the tape before her hands are allegedly taped to these “rings”. Sounds like a bondage scenario. Why are the only protestations heard after she “flipped out” and said no. It can be surmised that he stopped at no because that is where the transcript ends.

            Just working on my logical reasoning skills.

            • It doesn’t sound like she consented to the taking of photos at all, and it certainly doesnt sound like she consented to being blackmailed with them.

              • Chris, I was talking about the original liaison not the photography.

                What I am trying to evaluate is whether or not it was a sexual assault as some have proffered.

                • I don’t know if it would qualify as a sexual assault. I said it was borderline. If he continued after she said no and tried to fight him off, then it was. Definitely extortion if her story is true.

              • Does it make sense for an ex to provide a tape of his ex saying another would try to blackmail her if she goes public? If she is concerned about her reputation being sullied, it was her ex exposing her as an adulterer.

                I would have more confidence in the tape if she had delivered it to authorities to preempt the potential blackmail instead of him giving to the media.

  9. Family Values politician / Church Leader revealed as (pick one or more) Gay, Adulterer, Pedophile, Blackmailer, Rapist… In other news, Dog bites Man.

    Something execrable, let alone merely scandalously hypocritical, is not newsworthy now when it’s so common. Not universal, not quite, but is anyne surprised any more when yet another story like this is on page 39?

    I wish it were not so. It shouldn’t be so.

    • I wonder if it’s more common among those people, or if we just hear about them because the hypocrisy is deemed newsworthy. And it’s strange… Whenever someone brings up the obvious problem with people campaigning sanctimoniously from moral molehills failing to live up to their ideals, it almost always falls along party lines. Mentioning family values politicians make sense in the context of this post, but how on Earth do you skip over Progressive Hollywood exorcising it’s demons to mention a Decade old Roman Catholic Church scandal?

      It’s almost like people of certain ideological bents are desperately trying to distract from the stick in their eye to point out the trace of a scar left behind by a sliver from some clergyman. And yet, these are the scandals that cannot seem to go away and die; From the Huge, to the small, to the niche. In order: Weinstein (et al), the YouTube Male Feminist community (which has been absolutely gutted after about a dozen of them were found out to have sexually assaulted or raped women, at least three off the top of my head are in jail, the most significant of which might be “Russian Deadpool”, who murdered his co host.), and the deeply progressive Judge Program from the MTG card game who finally mandated background checks for their Judges just this last week, after months of pressure because it was found out that about a dozen of the people overseeing a children’s card game were convicted pedophiles.

      I’ve never particularly enjoyed the preachy condescension of smug progressives asserting that I’m something between everything that is wrong on the planet Earth and “not a good enough ally” at the best of times, but seeing as I’ve recently discovered that all this “rape culture” talk, which I previously assumed to be drummed up nonsense because I’d never seen anything that I thought actually qualified, was in fact a real description of the cultures surrounding the progressives saying it, I’m nolonger going to stand by and take it while the spokespeople of the movement are actively wallowing in their hypocrisy remain unchecked.

      Physician, heal thyself, and then get back to me, we’ll take care of our own for a while.

      • Your observations in this regard are solid and well described. When you bring this phenomenon up, I notice it garners scant little response.

        So you should know, I, at least, think your commentary regarding the Leftist projection of their deep character flaws onto the rest of the culture is well done.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.