The Larry Craig story continues to dominate the news, with more and more Republicans calling for his resignation. I'd been wondering how they justified throwing him under the bus while DC Madam client Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) gets a pass from his colleagues. Well, actually no, I wasn't wondering. It was bloody obvious. I know right-wingers are scared to death of gay cooties (perhaps because so many of them are repressing their own urges?), and anyway Craig's replacement would be chosen by Idaho's Republican governor, whereas Vitter's would be named by a Democrat. And we can't have that, can we?
Interestingly, Vitter admitted to patronizing prostitutes, which IIRC is still illegal in DC, whereas Craig maintains his innocence (he did plead guilty, but to a lesser charge). Okay, nobody, with the possible exception of his wife, believes that he wasn't trying to solicit sex, but he didn't succeed. At least Vitter (presumably) consummated. But Vitter got a free pass, while Craig has already been stripped of his committee assignments and is halfway out the door.
Yesterday, Rachel Maddow interviewed Brian Fischer, head of the Idaho Values Alliance, who had been a huge Craig supporter but is now calling for his resignation. When she asked him why he wasn't calling for Vitter's resignation, he tried to dance around it but finally came up with this brilliant reasoning: the statute of limitations had run out on Vitter's offense. I guess it's a good thing he was on a radio show so we didn't have to watch him struggle to keep a straight face. His real viewpoint is better reflected here:
One larger issue must be addressed. The Republican Party platform clearly rejects the agenda of homosexual activists. The Party, in the wake of the Mark Foley incident in particular, can no longer straddle the fence on the issue of homosexual behavior. Even setting Senator Craig’s situation aside, the Party should regard participation in the self-destructive homosexual lifestyle as incompatible with public service on behalf of the GOP.
Log Cabin Republicans, take note. After you finish your own call for Craig's resignation.
Glenn Greenwald has a great takedown of the phony "moral values" wing of the Republican party, in which he notes that the press has bought into the idea that "values voters" must be taken seriously and treated with respect because their opinions are based on deeply held convictions. He suggests now might be a good time to change that meme:
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.
He has a point.
David Vitter and Larry Craig both campaigned on a "family values" platform. They both voted a "family values" platform, all the while failing to live up to the standards they demanded of others. Vitter stays; Craig has to go.
You know, I seem to remember that Jesus saved some of his harshest words for hypocrites.