In one month, the Republicans have lost the chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, (the fourth-ranking spot in the leadership) and the head of the Republican Governors Association, to moral weakness. These losses have delivered a series of painful blows to the moral leadership of the Republican party.
Republican politicians of late have sounded more like preachers and priests, but have behaved like philanderers. These “Family Values” politicians now join Larry Craig, Newt Gingrich, David Vitter, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Baker and Sarah Palin along with untold numbers of Catholic Priests on the road to Perdition.
Conservatives like adulterer Newt Gingrich and drug addict Rush Limbaugh have wrapped themselves in the cloak of morality, calling Republicans “the Party of God,” and looking down upon homosexuals, drug addicts, abortion-rights activists, immigrants, and Democrats for their shortcomings. Most telling was Gingrich’s famous comment about his Presidential ambitions and his wife, “She isn’t young enough or pretty enough to be the President’s wife.” It is all tied up in outward appearances to politicians. And recent events clearly demonstrate the vulnerability of conventional marriage to competition from gay unions. Traditional marriages, it would appear, simply cannot withstand the competitive pressure of gays enjoying honest union.
Mark Sanford, South Carolina’s disgraced Republican governor, is a solid family values conservative. He has been a champion of old-fashioned, austere values such as frugality, modesty, Christian morality and family. The Governor took a detour last week to Argentina. Prior to his tryst, Sanford had frequently compared the decline of American moral values in the country to the decline of Rome. He had said in numerous speeches, “. . . our culture is ravaged by neo-pagan hedonism and moral permissiveness.” When in the Senate, Sanford voted to impeach President Bill Clinton citing the need for “moral legitimacy” in positions of leadership. Asked about resigning from office himself last week after his confession of moral hypocrisy, the Governor declined to resign.
Republican Senator John Ensign, a born again Christian and Promise Keeper Evangelical Minister no less, admitted last week to having an 8 month affair with a married campaign staffer. Ensign had previously called on both President Bill Clinton and former Idaho Senator Larry Craig to resign after their sex scandals. However, he declined to do so himself last week.
Ensign had gained notoriety for criticizing President Obama on foreign policy when the President was in Latin America representing the United States. At that time he was criticized by prominent Republicans as being “irresponsible.”
Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, has achieved much of his political success by professing steadfast allegiance to “traditional family values” and punitive intolerance for those who violate them. Consider, for instance, his campaign statement on protecting the “sanctity of marriage”:
This is a real outrage. The Hollywood left is redefining the most basic institution in human history, and our two U.S. Senators won’t do anything about it. We need a U.S. Senator who will stand up for Louisiana values, not Massachusetts’s values. I am the only Senate Candidate to coauthor the Federal Marriage Amendment; the only one fighting for its passage. I am the only candidate proposing changes to the senate rules to stop liberal obstructionists from preventing an up or down vote on issues like this, judges, energy, and on and on.Vitter condemned President Clinton as “morally unfit to govern.” If no action were taken against Clinton, Vitter wrote in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, “his leadership will only further drain any sense of values left to our political culture.”
Similarly, Vitter once told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that, “infidelity, divorce, and deadbeat dads contribute to the breakdown of traditional families.” That’s extraordinarily serious, said Vitter, because “marriage is truly the most fundamental social institution in human history.”
Senator Vitter has acknowledged being involved with D.C. Madam Deborah Palfrey, and was also revealed to regularly frequent a high-priced brothel in his hometown, New Orleans. Madam Jeanette Maier of the Canal Street brothel, stated that Vitter regularly frequented her establishment. Fortunately for the state of Louisiana, Vitter faces a re-election challenge from a former porn star who is running in order to highlight his hypocrisy.
Regarding recent events, Utah’s Orrin Hatch, who helped lead the charge against Bill Clinton, did a complete Washington spin-around, saying of Vitter: “I’ve never judged a human being on those type of issues.” (Does he think our memory’s so short?) North Carolina’s Richard Burr saw no problem: “David has already resolved this with his family and taken responsibility for it.” Not too long ago after leading the impeachment of President Clinton, these same men were screaming for Eliot Spitzer’s scalp for the very same sin.
So why does all this matter? It shouldn’t matter, frankly. Who cares what two consenting adults do behind closed doors, even for a fee? Democrats have their share of sexual predators and philanderers. But Democrats do not carry the baggage of hypocrisy. They are the self-avowed party of death and sex. They champion abortion, gay rights, sex education, the distribution of condoms and legalized pornography. Outside of abortion, no other issue so thoroughly galvanizes the liberal base as opposition to sexual abstinence. The Democrats are creatures of the sexual revolution.
Nor would it matter if these Republican’s weren’t such hypocrites. But these people pose as “Mr. Family Values” in public, condemning political opponents as immoral, while leading their own sleazy lives in private. The American right is permeated with sanctimonious hypocrites who talk like traditionalists but live like libertines. They are hypocrites, and so are all the other self-righteous Republicans who make excuses for them.
These politician’s calamities are not simply Shakespearean tragedies. They are a reflection of the moral collapse of the conservative movement. At its core, conservatism is not simply a set of beliefs; it is a way of life – one that is anchored in the moral order centered on faith, family and freedom. This is the conservative holy trinity. And it is now being defamed by its own high priests.