Americans are a forgiving people, by and large. You can break most of the Ten Commandments, all of the Seven Deadly Sins, even the First Rule of Fight Club. But you don’t mess with the Bro Code.
Examples of this are evident all around us. David Vitter mongers the DC Madam’s roster, yet retains his Senate seat. Eliot Spitzer is on the comeback trail after he exploited a young girl who had been an abused teen runaway. Bill Clinton is a great example of this, owing much of his forgiveness, I believe, to Kenneth Starr’s own violation of the Bro Code, to wit, “Bros don’t tell other bro’s wives about that girl they saw him with.”
On the other hand, Larry Craig probably owes his career crash-and-burn more to his clear infraction of the Code than anything else. The Code clearly proscribes a “buffer stall or urinal” in all public restrooms, and states that if no buffer is available, then there is absolutely no communication allowed. This was Larry Craig’s unpardonable sin.
Rudy Giuliani committed a Bro Code felony that cost him the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination. No, it wasn’t the phone call from his wife onstage, those were fake, although still worth a whip-crack. No, I’m referring to his lame excuse for cheering on the Red Sox in the 2007 World Series. There’s a special section of by-laws in the Bro Code that goes over specific sports rivalries that supercede all other considerations. When you’re an Anaheim Angels fan, you get to root for whomever you want in the Series (Angels fans barely even qualify as Bros.). Not so fans of real teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, or Cubs. Saying you’re rooting for the Red Sox because you’re “an American League fan” falls into the “Dude, even a chick wouldn’t say that” category, from which Rudy never recovered.
Even John Edwards could have come back from his scanda had he not run afoul of the Code. The Bro Code frowns on, but allows for non-judgement of, cheating on your wife, provided your bros don’t like her better than you. He also broke the less serious “So not worth it, dude,” statute.
This is why Gavin Newsom has no chance to win the California Governorship, for which he has announced he is running today. (Following the “no prepositions at the end of a sentence” rule is, itself, a minor Bro Code infraction. Sorry, Bros.) Newsom committed a “Duuuuuude!”-level violation when he started sleeping with his campaign manager’s wife. Not only will he not be governor, he will also not be watched football with, played poker with, nor allowed to drink beer. If you see Newsom with a beer bottle, that’s because he snuck into the bathroom and poured his Zima into it.
It’s a shame. really, because the Bro Code, while high on inviolability, allows for all kinds of reprehensible behavior. If you can’t manage to keep from shaming yourself in the eyes of people who don’t even require you to take a “full shower” every day (you’re permitted to substitute for up to 2 days with deodorant and Scope), you definitely don’t deserve to be governor.