Thursday, May 14, 2009

Against Cynicism

Matt Yglesias has joined me in choosing never to become world-weary, complacent, or resigned about the fact that radically different standards apply to Democrats in matters of personal morality. He begins by quoting Mike Tomasky:

... now we add to the category a second condition: if you cheat on your cancer-stricken wife with another woman and still decide you can run for president, and you get busted, you’re pretty much finished. Yes or no?
He’s talking about John Edwards. But I have a question about this theory: what about Newt Gingrich? It’s true that Gingrich hasn’t launched a presidential campaign, but cheating on his cancer-stricken wife he’s done. Then he divorced her and married a second woman on whom he also cheated. And now he’s on his third marriage. And he converted to Catholicism! And he’s a defender of traditional marriage! And he’s still a high-profile public figure.

Consider also the starkly contrasting treatment of Elliot Spitzer, forced into resignation and disgrace for seeing a prostitute, and David Vitter, sitting pretty in the United States Senate.
I refuse to wax cynical about this arrangement -- it is absurd and outrageous, and will remain so for as long as matters of sexual morality play out as they currently do, where they gravely imperil Democrats but barely touch Republicans.

Gingrich and Vitter belong to a political party filled with people who can't wail loudly or often enough about the sexual morality of politicians and, for that matter, the public at large. And yet Vitter has a demonstrable affinity for prostitutes, and Gingrich is likely already in the precarious roving-eye phase of his third marriage. And yet they remain in good standing within the party of "Family Values."

Either these "Family Values" matter as their self-labeled defenders endlessly proclaim, or they don't, in which case the proclamations are fraudulent. Unless and until the GOP is willing to police its own by its own loud standards, it will continue to be a batch of unserious, hypocritical, opportunistic fakes.

1 comment:

Fook Yu said...

We give hypocracy a bad name dont we! Its like a bunch of little kids running Washington