Opinion: Will Lauren Boebert and other female politicians pay the price for behaving badly?

From left, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., propose amendments to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill before the House Rules Committee, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

My goodness, the girls really have gone wild.

Let's start with the antics of Colorado Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, who made headlines last week for getting kicked out of a performance of the musical "Beetlejuice."

Boebert initially denied she'd vaped during the play, then, in a later apology, said she had "forgotten" that she had vaped after the theater released security camera footage clearly showing her blowing a cloud of vapor into the crowded theater. She was also seen fondling the crotch of her date, who massaged her breast.

The 36-year-old Boebert, who married at 18, filed for divorce in May. She blamed her inappropriate behavior on her "public and difficult" split. On Monday, her estranged husband, Jayson Boebert, blamed himself and asked her constituents to forgive her. Admitting that he has been "unfaithful in so many ways," he wrote, "I am asking for you all to show grace and mercy towards Lauren in this troubling season. She deserves a chance to earn your forgiveness and regain trust."

Grace for the woman who repeatedly interrupted and heckled President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address last year? Who over the years, in numerous brushes with courts and law enforcement, has demonstrated, in the words of a Denver Post columnist, an "astounding sense of entitlement"?

The Washington Post revealed last week that Virginia House of Delegates candidate Susanna Gibson, an attractive 40-year-old nurse practitioner and the mother of two elementary-aged children, has performed sex acts with her equally attractive attorney husband "for a live online audience and encouraged viewers to pay them with 'tips.' "

According to the paper, a Republican operative who claimed to have no connection to the campaign of Gibson's opponent's — but insisted on anonymity — revealed the existence of Gibson's account on Chaturbate (the name is a seriously icky mashup of "chat" and "masturbate.")

"In at least two videos," the Post reported, "she tells viewers she is 'raising money for a good cause.' "

Was this a creative new type of political fundraising? Doubtful, as Gibson, in a statement to the Post, accused whoever leaked the information of "an illegal invasion of my privacy designed to humiliate me and my family" and claimed to be the victim of a sex crime.


It's creepy to read reports of an extramarital affair between MAGA family values Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, 51, the first female governor in her state's history, and the infamously poorly behaved Trump campaign advisor Corey Lewandowski. Although Noem once decried rumors of their affair as "total garbage and a disgusting lie," neither has explicitly denied the most recent accounts so far, which Noem's spokesman attributed to political retribution for her endorsing Trump again for president. A handful of Republicans told the Daily Mail and the New York Post that the relationship had been an open secret in GOP circles, with one going so far as to describe a 2021 Orlando hotel bar make-out session as "absurdly blatant and public."

Boebert's behavior is embarrassing and indefensible. At least in the case of Gibson and Noem, you could call the misbehavior (or alleged behavior in Noem's case) consensual, although one is hard pressed to argue that children and constituents are not adversely impacted when their parent's or representative's poor judgment and sexual behavior become national news.

In the not-so-distant days of yore, it would be almost unthinkable for a high-profile, politically ambitious woman to be caught in these sorts of scandals and have any hope of salvaging her career. That's just not the case anymore.

For better or worse, to paraphrase the words of the old Virginia Slims ad, we've come a long way, baby.

The Los Angeles Times