Monday, October 01, 2018

The Presidency…Testosterone Follies – Part IV

Here is a letter exchange between a cheating husband and an unusually resilient wife:

“TO MY DEAR WIFE, You will surely understand that I have certain needs that you, being 54 years old, can no longer satisfy. I am very happy with you, and I value you as a good wife. Therefore, after reading this letter I hope you will not wrongly interpret the fact that I will be spending the evening with my 18-year-old secretary at the Comfort Inn Hotel.  Please don’t be upset – I shall be back home before midnight.” When the man came home late that night he found the following letter on the dining room table:

“TO MY DEAR HUSBAND, I received your letter and thank you for your honesty about my being 54 years old. I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that you are also 54 years old. As you know, I am a math teacher at our local college. I would like to inform you that while you’re at the Comfort Inn, I will be at the Hotel Fiesta with Michael, one of my students, who is also the assistant tennis coach. He is young, virile, and like your secretary, he is 18 years old. As a successful businessman with an excellent knowledge of math, you will understand that we are in the same situation, although with one small difference….  I will not be home until sometime tomorrow since18 goes into 54 a lot more times than 54 goes into 18.”

It’s Testosterone Stupid

At the outset of this article I mentioned that “at least one third (34%) of our 44 elected presidents have been accused of some sort of sexual improprieties.  Research seems to confirm that this aberrant behavior was the result of conspicuously high levels of testosterone.” The following article in Psychology Today confirms that hypothesis.  “Male sexual domination and privilege—especially as it relates to men with wealth, fame, or power—has lately pervaded the news media. The ranks of those accused include Hollywood and TV stars and executives, politicians, journalists, and even comedians. Women who've become cynical about men's excessively crass impulses have frequently claimed that their brain is to be found between their legs. And, more specifically, that old, survival-based cranium is located directly in the testes, the male's ‘testosterone factory.’”

The article continued: “Aside from all the confounding psychosocial factors at play here, what primarily determines a man's sexual appetite is the amount of testosterone (T) circulating inside him. And if his T-levels catapult to the ceiling, you can pretty much expect that, assuming he’s heterosexual, he’ll betray ignoble tendencies toward objectifying, belittling, or exploiting the opposite sex.”

We can now validate that it is plausible to assume that of the top ten ranked presidents listed in the articles in this series, there are three more (four have already been covered) who had decidedly high levels of testosterone that led them to betray their wives, and we can proceed to scrutinize Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John Kennedy.

Franklin D. Roosevelt:  In the 19 polls listed by Wikipedia, starting as long ago as 1948, progressing through 2018, this president has been ranked between number one and number three, more often than any other president except for Abraham Lincoln, giving him an average ranking as the second greatest president in history.  Unfortunately, his married life was not as favorable.  In fact it turned out to be a most unusual marriage. As a relatively modern president, his reputation for philandering is somewhat well known by the public.  Somewhat less known are his wife Eleanor’s escapades.

On March 17, 1905, 20-year-old Eleanor married Franklin Roosevelt, a 22-year-old Harvard University student and her fifth cousin once removed. The bride was escorted down the aisle by then-President Theodore Roosevelt, her uncle. Franklin and Eleanor had six children, five of whom survived to adulthood.  The “History” website maintained however, “their married life proved less than blissful. In 1918, Eleanor found some love letters and was devastated to discover that Franklin was having an affair with her secretary, Lucy Mercer.”

When Eleanor threatened to leave him, In his book “An Untold Story," Roosevelt’s son Elliott described the situation as follows:  “FDR’s mother stepped in, telling him his allowance would be cut off and he would be disinherited if the affair continued. He agreed and Lucy married a rich elderly man named Rutherford. Nonetheless, although the relationship stopped for a while, it eventually resumed in secret. Twenty-four years later, when FDR suffered the stroke that killed him, Lucy, not Eleanor was at his side.

In 1920 FDR found another mistress.  Marguerite “Missy” LeHand had come to work as Franklin’s secretary. Over the years, they developed a very close relationship, with Missy serving as one of Franklin’s main friends and confidantes. She lived in the White House during his presidency, and when she suffered a stroke, Franklin altered his will to include her. Eleanor and all the children were warm towards Missy and considered her one of the family. Franklin’s son Elliott later revealed that his father and Missy had had a long affair, and it seems likely that the family was aware at the time.

Eleanor’s Affair

During their long marriage Eleanor and Franklin maintained the public facade of a married couple but in reality lived as platonic partners who shared an interest in public service.”  However, Eleanor also was rumored to embark on her own affairs. She had a close relationship with Associated Press (AP) reporter Lorena Hickok, an admitted lesbian, who covered her during the last months of the presidential campaign and “fell madly in love with her.”

Within this period, Eleanor wrote daily 10- to 15-page letters to “Hick,” who was planning to write a biography of the First Lady.  Arguments prevail amongst historians as to whether or not this was a physical relationship despite an abundance of steamy love letters from both.

After the president died, Eleanor, now a widow and no longer involved with Hickok (though they still wrote each other), found another person to idolize. At age 64, Eleanor fell in love with a doctor – 46-year-old David Gurewitsch.

“Eleanor was well aware that David had other women in his life,” writes popular journalist Sally Quinn. “But some of her letters suggest that she would have liked to be his one and only. “If that isn’t enough evidence of Eleanor’s devotion to Gurewitsch,” Quinn writes, “Eleanor Roosevelt wrote or called [Gurewitsch] every single day. She kept his photograph on her bedside table, and she insisted that he was ‘the love of her life.’”

Ten years after meeting Eleanor, Gurewitsch eventually married another woman. Quinn writes that Eleanor’s “face turned ashen” when she heard the news. She was devastated because, once again, she’d been rejected.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Of all the books, articles and research papers I’ve consulted, the best description related to the rumors about Eisenhower’s supposed affair with his war-time secretary was contained in the website Quara that answers questions. Because there is an extraordinary amount of contentious and unsubstantiated information about this subject, it provides, in my opinion the most believable answers to the question about Eisenhower’s fealty to his wife.

“Ike’s relationship with Kay Summersby, his driver and aid during World War II, is among the most debated topics by Eisenhower biographers.  There is no evidence to be certain about whether they had an affair or not. Ike’s family and Kay’s wartime friends said there was no romance. They said that Ike was friendly with his entire staff, and Kay was no exception, but that they were nothing more.  John Eisenhower said, ‘Dad would have made a lousy philanderer because he was so damned Victorian and moral. Sure he was attracted to vital women, but these were friendships, not affairs.’”

Others disagree. This group suggests that they had a physical relationship and that there were two failed attempts to have sex but that Ike was unable to perform either time due to guilt or from normal issues that affect middle-aged men.  A main source is “Past Forgetting: My Love Affair with Dwight Eisenhower.”  However, this was a memoir published under Kay’s name but ghostwritten by Barbara Wyden.

“A fringe believes a story told by Harry Truman that Ike wrote to George Marshall at the end of World War II asking for permission to divorce Mamie and marry Kay. Marshall refused to give permission. Most Eisenhower biographers say that Truman was mistaken, and believe that Ike had actually asked for Marshall’s permission to bring Mamie to Europe once Germany had surrendered. Marshall refused this request to avoid appearances of favoritism.”

John F. Kennedy

John Kennedy’s penchant for extra-marital affairs can be summed up by eleven of his own words: “If I don’t have sex every day, I get a headache”.  In 2013. The New York Post printed the following: “Even in the pantheon of sexual narcissists drawn to politics, Kennedy’s obsessive ‘conquesting’ remains the gold standard for bad behavior.”  As an indication that coincidence also plays a part in presidential philandering due to elevated testosterone levels, consider this: one of the first women other than his wife that is associated with Kennedy was also a well-known burlesque star.  In March of this year, the Los Angeles Times ran a story with the following headline: “JFK may have been a worse philanderer than Trump. Does it matter?” Here is the story:

“As Americans get ready to hear Stormy Daniels spill the story of her alleged 2006 affair with President Trump, we might want to acknowledge that she isn't the first adult entertainer to reportedly hook up with a future president. In 1955, the politician was Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kennedy and the other woman was a stripper named Tempest Storm. The different manner in which Americans have digested these parallel tales [and almost parallel names] reveals a lot about how our nation has evolved — and not — over the past half century.”

Here is a list of other entertainers with whom Kennedy has been associated, if not romantically, at least sexually: Marilyn Monroe, Gene Tierney, Anita Ekberg, Marlene Dietrich, Angie Dickenson, Blaze Star, Lee Renick, Kim Novak and Audrey Hepburn. I won’t bore you with the names of the many other women, mostly White House staffers he enticed with his good looks and charm. To say he was a ladies’ man would be a vast understatement.

However, here is a list of less “great” presidents with varying degrees of philandering.”  Warren Harding, Bill Clinton, Woodrow Wilson, James Garfield, George H.W. Bush, George Bush, Grover Cleveland, James Buchanan, and Donald Trump.

If all of this ain’t Testosterone Follies, I don’t know what is.  One more thought: All of these philandering presidents, even the best of them, might have been better presidents had they been testosterone donors.


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