Friday, August 31, 2007

Sin, sex and the GOP double standard

Senator David Vitter, R-La., and Senator Larry Craig, R-Id., have been proponents of so-called “family values” and both have been caught up in sexual scandals this summer. Yet the reaction by conservatives in general and the national Republican leadership in particular could not be more different.

Senate Republican leaders have quickly demanded an investigation of Senator Craig’s restroom antics. They have forced Craig to give up his committee seats and turned their backs on him. Last month, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., admitted he had solicited sex from female prostitutes. Vitter kept his committee seats, and his colleagues reportedly applauded him when he entered a GOP meeting after his disclosure.

This is Glen Greenwald's take on the contrast of conservatives’ reaction to news about Senator David Vitter’s patronage of female prostitutes versus news about Senator Larry Craig’s solicitation of male partners:
Whatever else one wants to say about the "family values" wing of the right-wing movement, the absolute last thing that it is is a principled, apolitical movement. And -- as the starkly different treatment for Craig and Vitter conclusively demonstrates -- these vaunted "moral principles," for which we are all supposed to show such profound respect, are invoked only when there is no political cost to invoking them, and worse, typically only when there is political benefit in doing so.

The only kind of "morality" that this movement knows or embraces is politically exploitative, cost-free morality. That is why the national Republican Party rails endlessly against homosexuality and is virtually mute about divorce and adultery: because anti-gay moralism costs virtually all of its supporters nothing (since that is a moral prohibition that does not constrain them), while heterosexual moral deviations -- from divorce to adultery to sex outside of marriage -- are rampant among the Values Voters faithful and thus removed from the realm of condemnation. Hence we have scads of people sitting around opposing same-sex marriage because of their professed belief in "Traditional Marriage" while their "third husbands" and multiple step-children and live-in girlfriends sit next to them on the couch.

They're all willing to cheer on the "rules of traditional marriage" which do not impose on them in any way (marriage must have a man and a woman -- no problem there). But no "Family Values" politician could possibly survive politically by seeking to enshrine with the force of law all of the other equally important prongs of "Traditional Marriage" (all of that dreary, outdated "until death do us part" business which would deny the "right" for Values Voters to dump their wives and move on to the "next wife" when the mood strikes, or remain shacked up with their various girlfriends and the like).
You can read his entire piece here.

1 comment:

Comrade Kevin said...

The marriage between social conservatives and the GOP has always seemed an uneasy marriage to me. Politics doesn't lend itself well to true morality.

Evangelicals who deceived themselves into believing one party has a moral monopoly over another are merely deceiving themselves.