The WaTimes has it right: "Extramarital affairs, gambling, alcohol abuse, prostitution and sexual pursuit of minors have taken a toll on the GOP."
Obviously, any movement that stays in power long enough is going to get corrupted. It happens. But I think that social conservatives who seriously believe that a "do as I say, not as I do" mentality is acceptable are seriously misreading public perception of their movement. They simply don't have that much political capital, and when the 2012 hopefuls start talking about the evils of secular liberalism, secular liberals will be able to connect the dots between Mark Foley, Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, Dave Vitter, John Ensign and Mark Sanford as evidence that the religious right's goals are not only hypocritical but also unrealistic. What baffles me is that these institutions hold onto people like Vitter and Ensign even though they could be pressured to go away with zero diminishment of Republican power. Both of their states have Republican governors. It just makes the whole institution look like the mafia.
From what I've read, it looks like they might throw Mark Sanford under the bus, which is a shame because his story is the least icky: he was in love with a woman who wasn't his wife, and while his conduct was reprehensible in the extreme, one can't help but empathize. He's made an accounting of what he's done and might well deserve forgiveness and a chance at rehabilitation. Vitter, though, simply does not. That the religious right has not only backed him but seemingly scared off primary challengers for him is merely evidence of the insanity at work here.
The Man, The Myth, The Bio
- East Bay, California, United States
- Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.