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

FILE - U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., a member of the House Freedom Caucus, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, July 14, 2023, in Washington. Boebert was kicked out of a "Beetlejuice" show in Denver on Sunday, Sept. 10, according to security footage. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) at a news conference on Capitol Hill in July. Boebert was kicked out of a "Beetlejuice" performance in Denver on Sunday. (Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

A Republican member of the House Freedom Caucus vapes in a crowded Denver theater and engages in a sexual gropefest with her date.

A Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates is revealed to have performed sex acts with her husband for the online audience of an adult internet site.

The ultra-MAGA married Republican governor of South Dakota is accused of having a years-long clandestine affair with a married advisor for former President Trump.

California’s Democratic state treasurer faces civil trial in a lawsuit that alleges she sexually harassed a high-ranking subordinate before firing her.

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.”

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In this fractious political moment, it was nice to see the right and left agreeing for once: Boebert’s behavior in that theater last week was nothing short of trashy.

Totally embarrassing bimbo,” tweeted Ann Coulter, who can be kind of an embarrassing bimbo herself.

“It’s just another notch in the belt of embarrassment,” said Adam Frisch, the Colorado Democrat who came within a hair’s breadth of unseating Boebert in 2022 and is challenging her again in 2024. “She even lied about her lies.”

True. Boebert initially denied she’d vaped, 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.

I mean, it looked like he was copping a feel, but I suppose it’s possible that he was simply trying to coax her ample breast back inside her extremely low-cut dress. Footage from her petulant, bird-flipping exit, in fact, showed her tugging her skin-tight dress back into place.

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Anyway, Boebert’s breasts are not the point. The point is that she styles herself as a socially conservative “family values” Christian who adamantly opposes same-sex marriage and any public display of gender bending. “Take your children to CHURCH,” she once tweeted, “not drag bars.” She has equated gender-affirming treatment for trans kids to “child-grooming.”

And isn’t it always the ones obsessed with other people’s sexuality who have problems keeping their hands to themselves?

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 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"? By all means, forgive her. Just don't vote to reelect this embarrassment of a public servant.

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Meanwhile, 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.

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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.

The lawsuit against California State Treasurer Fiona Ma stands apart, as she is accused of entirely unwanted sexual behavior. According to her accuser, Ma, who is running for lieutenant governor in 2026, would often share hotel rooms in Sacramento with her staff after working late. The former staffer alleged that Ma called her into her hotel bedroom multiple times, exposed her naked rear end and once climbed into the staffer’s bed with her. Ma was also accused of racial discrimination and wrongful termination.

Last week, a Sacramento County Superior Court judge tossed out those allegations but allowed the sexual harassment claims to proceed to trial. Ma, 57, has denied the claims. “The allegations are meritless by a disgruntled employee, and we look forward to having them proven false,” Ma’s spokesman Steven Maviglio told the Sacramento Bee.

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.


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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.