Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Party of Family Values, Part III

In the New York Times, Gail Collins (sort of) defends all those politicians in the news caught with their pants around their ankles:

People, have you ever in your life pointed to your kids or grandkids and said that you hoped they grew up to be like Larry Craig? Or Bill Clinton? Or Mitt Romney? No. You might hope they were as politically skillful as Clinton or as financially successful as Romney or as ... um, good at barbershop quartet singing as Larry Craig. We do not hire our elected officials to shape our children’s characters. We want them to pass good laws and make sensible decisions on our behalf. If something terrible happens, we want to feel that they are strong enough to get us through it. But we have very little investment in whether they’re faithful to their wives, or even whether they’re tortured by demons of sexual confusion.

Although if it involves men’s rooms, we would really rather not hear about it.

Collins does have a point here-- and if a politician were to run a campaign based just on, say, government efficiency and tax cuts, then I agree that the personal behavior of that politician would be irrelevant. However, that is not the case here. Many, if not most, Republican candidates today run as "family values" conservatives, devoted to imposing a fundamentalist view of sexual morality on the American public through the power of the law. (Abstinence-only sex education! No Plan B! Outlaw gay marriage! Save the country from "San Francisco Values"!) Therefore, the fact that an inordinate number of Republican Congressman seem to have been caught cruising for gay sex, or visiting prostitutes, couldn't be more relevant. It's all about the hypocrisy.

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