We have a crowded field in the race for most gross conservative hypocrite of all time. But U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) might have jumped to the head of the line--and it's possible he will stay in the No. 1 position for a while.
DesJarlais, a physician, made national headlines three weeks ago with disclosures that he had conducted an affair with a patient, leading to a pregnancy that he pressured her to terminate. The story became juicier this week with revelations that a second woman, also a patient, said she had an affair with DesJarlais. And in this case, the good doctor behaved, at times, like a character from a Cheech and Chong movie. From the Chattanooga Times-Free Press:
On the heels of a sex scandal involving a female patient, another woman has acknowledged having a sexual relationship with physician and U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais while she was under his medical care.
The second woman described DesJarlais as "the nicest guy" and said he cooked dinner for her at their first get-together in 2000.
But she also said they smoked marijuana during their relationship and remembered DesJarlais prescribing her pain medication on dates at his home.
"His biggest thing that's completely unethical is him just picking up women while he's a doctor," the woman said in an interview last week. "I mean, seriously, that's his big no-no. . . . He's just a hound."
A hound, indeed. Mistress No. 2, at first, showed signs of back tracking on her story. But she stayed the course, sticking with her original story, according to a report out of Chattanooga on Tuesday:
The woman who acknowledged having a sexual relationship with U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais while he was her doctor in 2000 said the Chattanooga Times Free Press article that broke her story was accurate despite an earlier claim to the contrary. "There's no inaccuracies with the story," she said Tuesday, adding that she stands by everything she said in a recorded, face-to-face interview. . . .
The woman spoke on condition of anonymity. Her statement came two days after she contacted the newspaper with concerns about the story's accuracy; until Tuesday, she declined to respond to a Times Free Press reporter's follow-up inquiries about what portions of the interview were being challenged.
On Tuesday, the woman said she initially reached out because she "got scared" and didn't realize the interview's potential impact, fearing she may have wrongly remembered details from 12 years ago. But upon further reflection, she said, she stood by her story and the newspaper's account of it.
"I never thought it would be front page," she said.
Democrat Eric Stewart is challenging DesJarlais in Tennessee's Fourth Congressional District, and believe it or not, the incumbent still might win. In fact, the most recent polls show DesJarlais holding a solid lead.
So much for those so-called "values voters." In Tennessee's Fourth District, their only value appears to be that they want a Republican to represent them--no matter how sleazy he might be.
If DesJarlais hangs onto his seat, the mistress/abortion/marijuana story will have accomplished one thing. It prompted Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester to utter perhaps the best political quote of the year, so far. As reported by the Nashville Tennessean:
Forrester said Republican leaders, including Gov. Bill Haslam, should press DesJarlais to step down. Forrester said DesJarlais has broken medical ethics and state law by having sexual relationships with at least two patients.
“DesJarlais ran his medical practice like a Craigslist cathouse,” Forrester said. “Citizens and voters have a right to know whether their public officials have lived up to their own moral standards.”
A "Craigslist cathouse"? Is that a great postmodern dig, or what? Democrats apparently can't win an election in Tennessee's Fourth District to save their lives, but when it comes to zingers, they are in top form.
For those who can't get enough of GOP hypocrisy, never fear: A story similar to the DesJarlais saga is brewing here in Alabama, involving a major political figure. Legal Schnauzer is on top of things. Stay tuned.