Sunday, September 02, 2007
Larry Craig is now an ex-senator from Idaho.
He resigned under disgrace for propositioning anonymous gay sex in a men’s room of the Minneapolis airport. I take it the pressure from the Republican party was huge for him to resign. They just couldn’t deal with him in the Republican party. They thought that he didn’t represent what they stood for and asked for him to resign, which he ended up doing.
Except that’s not really what’s going on. The Republicans forced him out because he was a huge embarrassment to them, one more huge embarrassment on top of a long string of huge embarrassments. I saw that some Republican spokesmen were quoted as saying Craig would be resigning before Craig, himself, actually said anything. That’s how much they wanted him gone.
Many bloggers and some newspaper columnists have noted (lots to choose from, I am not going to provide links) that it is very telling that no one asked David Vitter, a Republican congressman from Louisiana, to resign, after he got caught up in the “D.C. Madam scandal”, where it came out he, a married man, bought time with hookers. Prostitution is illegal in the District of Columbia. Oh, and just for the prurient at heart, he liked to be dressed up in diapers during their time. No, that scandal seems to have passed by with nothing much more being said, as had numerous other scandals that I noted in my previous post on the subject.
I cannot believe how hypocritical the modern Republican party is. There can only be two things that could account for this double standard. One is that Craig is from Idaho, a purely Republican state with a Republican governor. When Craig resigned, it then falls to the governor to appoint his replacement. And you know that a Republican governor is not going to appoint anything other than a hard core Republican. So, the Republicans calling for Craig’s ouster knew their party would suffer no numerical penalty. This is not the case for David Vitter, as Louisiana has a Democratic governor.
The other possibility is that what the Republicans are really worried about is the homosexuality part of this scandal, just as they were with Foley and his taste for young male Congressional pages. Since Vitter was just caught with a prostitute, then that isn’t really any big deal for them. The hardcore Republican supporters are virulent anti-gay, so it fits within the Republican paradigm to oust a homosexual in their ranks, or at least ones that don’t stay safely in the closet while voting against civil rights protections for gays and lesbians. However, to take a stand on Vitter would be solely to take a stand on the morality of the issue, which isn’t happening. To do that, they would be casting judgments on a very large percentage of the white male population that makes up the Republican party who have done exactly the same thing. Prostitution, or just plain messing around outside marriage, is not something that anyone wants to bring up. You cannot go around and criticize behavior that many within your party take for granted. I lived for a long period of my life in Alabama and Mississippi, and you can’t tell me that doesn’t happen.
Personally, I think that it is a combination of both of these. The Republicans are weary of their own scandals, both sexual and otherwise, that have dogged them for the last several years. They were probably very happy to get the chance to jump up and look like they are taking a principled stand against what they see as amoral behavior. The only problem is, of course, that really isn’t what they are doing. And I think it is INCREDIBLY hypocritical that these same self-righteous people who are getting caught with their pants around their ankles are the same people who went after Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinski scandal. That was, after all, strictly heterosexual and didn’t involve prostitution. It was an affair, however ill conceived, between two consenting adults. That doesn’t describe any of what is happening with the Republicans. Yet, all I hear is deadly silence, except in this latest case. To repeat, Bill Clinton, the sitting President of the United States, was impeached for having an affair and then lying about it. The stuff that seems to be going on lately is much worse, on the "morality judgment" scale, than anything Clinton ever did. Yet, where all all those calls for bringing "morality back to government" that we heard about so often eight years ago?
I don’t share many of the same beliefs and opinions of those on the right. However, I will acknowledge that very many of them are really supporting the Republican party because the belief that it stands for what THEY believe in. And I have to give them their due on that. However, I am hoping that this extreme loyal base of the Republican party is beginning to see how the Republicans in office have used them, just as any carnival barker would use any unsuspecting rube that happens by. They are being taken for a ride, just so these cockroaches can keep their powerful jobs with their powerful perks, which sometimes includes being able to by high-priced D.C. prostitutes.
I’m hoping this loyal, up to now, base will just sit out the next election. I am a firm believer that this country needs at least two, very strong, very ethical political parties, if for no other reason than to keep each other honest. Any time either of them, and I do mean Democrats as well as Republicans, get too far out of line, they need to be reminded who they actually work for and what they actually represent. Personally, I am much more upset with Republicans about the Iraq war, about the stink of corruption that seems to pervade the modern Republican party, about trying to make, by whatever means available, this great country into a single party rule. However, it is takes the sexual misconduct of their numbers to break up the modern Republican party, then so be it.
UPDATE: Well, I see that some Republicans have tried to answer this question of hypocracy and double standards. Their answer? Larry Craig pleaded guilty. David Vitter did not. That, to me, seems to be very much splitting hairs, as "pleading guilty" is a very legalistic term. It seems to me that David Vitter had a press conference that made it to national TV saying that he was sorry and all that. He never said he was guilty from a legalistic point of view, but it sure seemed to me that he was admitting to something.... According to Wikipedia, this is what he said at his press conference:
This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible. Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there - with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way.
He didn't come out and say, "No, that never happened, I am totally innocent." Therefore, this really smacks of just casting around to find something, anything, that would make an acceptable comeback to mounting criticism. "Pleading guilty", THAT is the Republican standard? You can do whatever you want, and as long as you don't actually admit to your actions in front of an officer of the law, then everything is fine? How ridiculous is that?
As I have said before, I am constantly amazed about how people these days seem to think that as long as they have some sort of comeback, no matter how implausible it may be. Just as long as it is even remotely possible, then that is all that matters. The person uttering such nonsense won't acknowledge what an ass he is making of himself. As long as they can come up with some sort of malarky that absolutely no one in their right mind would buy from a five year old, much less an adult, they feel they somehow have a defensable position. I guess that is partially the fault of our press these days, which let these outlandish claims go by unchallenged.