NBC: 'Puritanical' Americans Must Become 'Anesthetized' to Sex Scandals

Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today, advertising executive Donny Deutsch and psychotherapist Robi Ludwig both agreed that the American people should not stop being "shocked" by political sex scandals. Deutsch declared: "...we have to stop being shocked and amazed....when men who are conquerors by nature also chase women....we as a society have got to become a little more anesthetized to this."

Moments later, as Duetsch one again proclaimed, "Let's stop being shocked at this stuff!," Ludwig blamed American moral values for the attention the scandal received: "We're a very puritanical country and so we're a little bit sexually repressed. So on the one hand we like hearing stories about sex, but we want certain things from our leaders that maybe is not realistic and maybe that's the sad part."

While Duestch and Ludwig certainly thought Weiner's actions were wrong, they seemed more concerned with the negative public reaction to the Congressman's lewd behavior.

Anchor Natalie Morales wondered if Weiner could "survive this politically?" Deutsch seemed to suggest an eventual comeback: "Always when you're in the minute, 'It's over, it's over, it's over, it's over,' you know?" Morales observed: "Well, [former New Governor Eliot] Spitzer eventually had to resign with all the pressure." Deutsch countered: "Well, now Spitzer's got a big television show on CNN. Who would have thought that?" Morales conceded: "Talk about a comeback in a way."

Here is a full transcript of the June 7 segment:

9:09AM ET

NATALIE MORALES: And joining us now is psychotherapist Robi Ludwig and Donny Deutsch, chairman of Deutsch Inc. Good to have you both here.

DONNY DEUTSCH: Hey, Natalie.

ROBI LUDWIG: Good to be here.
                    
MORALES: So when you all watched this press conference, Donny, your first reaction? I mean, too little too late? The cover-up worse than the crime, as they say?

DEUTSCH: My first reaction is we have to stop being shocked and amazed...

MORALES: Right.

DEUTSCH: ...when men of power...

LUDWIG: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

DEUTSCH: ...when men who are conquerors by nature also chase women. I'm not saying it's not right, but JFK, Martin Luther King, this almost goes with the profile. So that's-

MORALES: Why is that? Is – does power beget this behavior?

DEUTSCH: Entitlement or type of persona that feels-

MORALES: Ego.

DEUTSCH: Ego. It almost matches. Almost surprising when they don't. So we as a society have got to become a little more anesthetized to this. Obviously it's terribly wrong. Number two, obviously you got to just say, 'I'm sorry. I screwed up.' Do what he-

MORALES: Which he did.

DEUTSCH: Which he did.

MORALES: Was he tearful enough? I mean, was he emotion enough?

DEUTSCH: You know-

MORALES: Does that do anything? Does he need to be?

Mr. DEUTSCH: You need – there needs to be contrition. You know, one of the things that people think about Spitzer was he never showed enough.

MORALES: Mm.

DEUTSCH: And the third thing is, is we've got to understand now this technology is going to be a great undoing, particularly people our age who didn't grow up with it...

LUDWIG: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

DEUTSCH: ...politicians like that don't understand, don't think through what can happen.

MORALES: Mm-hmm.

DEUTSCH: So once again, though, let's stop being shocked at this stuff!

LUDWIG: Well, we're a very puritanical country and so we're a little bit sexually repressed. So on the one hand we like hearing stories about sex, but we want certain things from our leaders that maybe is not realistic and maybe that's the sad part.

MORALES: Well, let me ask you, Donny, do you think he can survive this politically? I mean, whether or not, you know, what happens with his relationship, his marriage, is a whole other question.

DEUTSCH: You know what's very interesting? Always when you're in the minute, 'It's over, it's over, it's over, it's over,' you know?

MORALES: Well, Spitzer eventually had to resign with all the pressure. At first he said...

DEUTSCH: Well, now Spitzer's got a big television show on CNN.

LUDWIG: Right.

MORALES: Yeah.

DEUTSCH: Who would have thought that? And, you know, talking about office again...

MORALES: Talk about a comeback in a way.

DEUTSCH: I think the – I think the thing that's going to hurt him the long – and this is so silly – is his name.

MORALES: The name.

DEUTSCH: It just is going to give – future going forward, I mean puts a smile on your face, it reminds the story. You know, we also have a continuum of what I'll call the sleaze factor.

MORALES: Mm-hmm.


DEUTSCH: You take the Schwarzeneggers of the world who are, you know, having children with their housekeepers and living in the house, so we also kind of start to go along a curve, a bell curve if you will, and you kind of almost say...

MORALES: Right.

DEUTSCH: ...'This is wrong,' but compared to some of the other stuff we've seen-

LUDWIG: But I have to say, I was thinking about this, because you're right in some ways, why are we shocked when we hear these stories? We hear them all the time.

MORALES: Right, the Schwarzeneggers, Clinton, Edwards.

LUDWIG: And I think if we look – right – if we look underneath the story, what we're also responding to is a selfishness.

MORALES: Mm-hmm.

LUDWIG: And these are leaders who are clearly showing that they are putting themselves and their impulses first, and then what's going to happen...

DEUTSCH: But I think the-

LUDWIG: ...in terms of their governing decisions.

DEUTSCH: I think the male rationalization is, you know what – and I'm going to take this thing out because this-

MORALES: Uh-oh.

DEUTSCH: No, no, no, I'm not going to – oh!

MORALES: I'm like, 'Where is this going?'

LUDWIG: Look at that picture!

DEUTSCH: Get rid of it! Get rid of it, get rid of it! That I think the rationalization is it's not real. You know what, I'm going to stay...

MORALES: Well, that's the question.

LUDWIG: Right.

DEUTSCH: ...I'm not – I'm going to stay faithful.

MORALES: Do you think he felt less guilty? Because in the press conference yesterday he said he did not have physical relations with women outside of his marriage.

LUDWIG: Right.

MORALES: But yet you're engaging in sexting, aren't you then having that emotional relationship?

LUDWIG: It is a betrayal, but many men – and, Donny, you can back me up on this...

DEUTSCH: Oh, I don't know – I don't know if I'm going to verify what you're saying.

LUDWIG: ...can tell themselves – can be in denial that if they're not actually physically involved, then they're not cheating.

MORALES: This makes it anonymous.

LUDWIG: And maybe this has to do with porn...

DEUTSCH: This makes it not...

LUDWIG: ...maybe...

DEUTSCH: It's not real.

MORALES: It's not real.

DEUTSCH: Whereas it's almost a fantasy...

LUDWIG: It's not real, it's fantasy.

DEUTSCH: ...it's a fantasy...

LUDWIG: A fantasy.

DEUTSCH: ...it's not real. So he was rationalizing – I'm not inside his head – along the way, `You know, I'm married'...

MORALES: Mm-hmm.

DEUTSCH: ...'I'm not touching another woman,' obviously it's wrong and obviously it is a betrayal, but this is going to change everything for every public figure going forward. This is – this is – it's a new world.

LUDWIG: But also – yeah.

MORALES: So let me ask you about his wife, Huma...

LUDWIG: Okay.

MORALES: ...because she was not there by his side and, you know, she hasn't been seen in the last day or so. But he did say that he had – Weiner had no intention – or they had no intention...

LUDWIG: Mm-hmm.

MORALES: ...of splitting up over this. What must she be going through right now?

LUDWIG: Well, I'm sure she's humiliated, angry, has a sense of shame. She's probably a little bit or a lot in shock. Who knows, you know...

MORALES: Mm-hmm.

LUDWIG: ...what she considered her husband to be before all of this, you know, became public?

MORALES: But it's interesting that he said, and we don't know if this is true or not, but that he said that she knew about relationships like this online before they were married.

LUDWIG: But when? Did – okay, so before one is married...

MORALES: But we, again, don't know if that's truthful or not.

LUDWIG: We don't know if it's true, and before-

DEUTSCH: I – speaking truthful-

MORALES: Is that the smoke or the fire?

DEUTSCH: ...I think – I think the thing that's going to hurt him the most is not that he did it but that he lied.

LUDWIG: Yeah.

DEUTSCH: You know, at the end of the thing, one thing I think we can demand of our public officials – I don't think we have the right to necessarily demand – we – and voters can do whatever they want as far as 'how – what you're like in a marriage, but don't lie to me. I voted for you'...

LUDWIG: Right.

DEUTSCH: ...'and if you were caught with your pants down literally and figuratively, come clean.' I think that's the legacy that's going to hurt him.

MORALES: Alright. Well, Robi Ludwig, Donny Deutsch, always interesting when you're here, Donny.

DEUTSCH: Oh, I can't believe what's coming on my – no.

LUDWIG: Can I see your BlackBerry, Donny?

DEUTSCH: Not sure – no.

MORALES: Okay.

LUDWIG: What-

MORALES: We're not even going to go there. Thank you.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC