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For Vitter Or For Worse
You gotta love the flexibility of the social conservatives. When journalists start poking into their sex lives, "It's a personal issue" (Giuliani's words about Christian far right senator David Vitter's hooker visits). When they're poking into the sex lives of the rest of us, it's "family values."

Vitter, who compared gay marriage to Hurricane Rita plus Katrina, follows a long line of holier-than-thou Republicans (like New Gingrich, who was after Bill Clinton for his marital infractions while busy, busy, busy with marital infractions of his own). Adam Nossiter writes for The New York Times:

From the beginning of his political career 16 years ago, Senator David Vitter has been known for efforts to plant himself on the moral high ground, challenging the ethics of other Louisiana politicians, decrying same-sex marriage and depicting himself as a clean-as-a-whistle champion of family values.

“I’m a conservative who opposes radically redefining marriage, the most important social institution in human history,” Mr. Vitter, a 46-year-old Republican, wrote in a letter last year to The Times-Picayune, the New Orleans daily.

That self-created image, a political winner here since 1991, when Mr. Vitter joined the Louisiana House, took a tumble Monday with the disclosure that his phone number was among those on a list of client numbers kept by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called D.C. Madam, who is accused of running a prostitution ring in Washington.

Mr. Vitter admitted Monday night to a “very serious sin in my past,” and talk radio and coffee shops here buzzed all day Tuesday with the front-page news, even as the senator remained out of sight. But the fallout was far bigger than local: his admission is also a blow to the presidential campaign of Rudolph W. Giuliani, for whom he is Southern campaign chairman.

Mr. Vitter, an uncompromising foe of abortion, same-sex marriage and the immigration compromise that died in the Senate in June, was supposed to be Mr. Giuliani’s ambassador to a region with large numbers of social conservatives suspicious of the candidate’s moderate views. His viability in that role is now in doubt with his acknowledgment that his number was already in the phone records of Pamela Martin & Associates before he ran for the Senate in2004.

And he gets to apologize to his wife while Palfrey gets prosecuted. Nice. I don't think prostitution should be illegal, but as long as it is, maybe there should be...let's say...equal pay for equal work?

Oh yeah...and this apparently isn't the first time Vitter Focused on something other than The Family. Glenn Greenwald writes on Salon:

So, to recap: in Louisiana, Vitter carried on a year-long affair with a prostitute in 1999. Then he ran for the House as a hard-core social conservative family values candidate, parading around his wife and kids as props and leading the public crusade in defense of traditional marriage.

...As always, it is so striking how many Defenders of Traditional Marriage have a record in their own broken lives of shattered marriages, multiple wives and serial adultery. And they never seek to protect the Sacred Institution of Traditional Marriage by banning the un-Christian and untraditional divorces they want for themselves when they are done with their wives and are ready to move on to the next, newer model. Instead, they only defend these Very Sacred Values by banning the same-sex marriages that they don't want for themselves.

Posted by aalkon at July 12, 2007 10:31 AM


That lovely old adage about hypocrisy being the compliment vice pays to virtue has gotten awfully exhausted in politics.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 12, 2007 6:34 AM

Walk a mile in Vitter's shoes: If you're so damned repressed all of the time, you gotta blow off some steam somehow. If you're all about "family values," you can't just go around asking for porn star sex from the wife. Give the guy a break.

Posted by: justin case at July 12, 2007 8:00 AM

"Walk a mile in Vitter's shoes..."

Why should we, Justin?

He should stop publically pretending his shoes fit, when they obviously don't.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 12, 2007 8:27 AM

I have no problem with anyone paying for sex, but I don't pretend otherwise.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 12, 2007 8:44 AM

Sorry for any confusion. Amy's software must not have recognized my sarcasm tags.

I think this sort of thing is hilarious. It's always the sanctimonious ones who are caught with a hooker, or doing meth and having sex with a man, or soliciting police officers for sex.

Posted by: justin case at July 12, 2007 9:02 AM

Sorry, Justin.

I stupidly picked up the wrong shoes.

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at July 12, 2007 9:27 AM

Hey, there are multiple lessons here.

If marriage is so good for straight people (a position I endorse, merely because promiscuity, the health threat of the ages, is reduced) then it should be good for gay people.

Likewise, if it's no good for a politician, that politician shouldn't be pushing the idea that it's good for everybody.

Posted by: Radwaste at July 12, 2007 8:40 PM

Still, Vitter and his wife Wendy are good for each other. I'd be more interested in hearing her opinions, rather than his, in light of certain comment she made:

Asked whether she could forgive her husband after an extramarital affair, as Livingston's wife had done, Wendy Vitter told the Times-Picayune: "I'm a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary [Clinton]. If he does something like that, I'm walking away with one thing, and it's not alimony, trust me."


Posted by: Patrick at July 13, 2007 9:29 AM

"If marriage is so good for straight people (a position I endorse, merely because promiscuity, the health threat of the ages, is reduced)"

It would appear that marriage doesn't reduce promiscuity (see above). The health threat can be reduced by condoms, so you should really be endorsing the use of condoms, not marriage.

Posted by: Chrissy at July 13, 2007 12:48 PM

As the magnet on my refrigerator says: "Let gay people marry. Let them be as miserable as the rest of us."

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 13, 2007 12:56 PM

Vitter has since told us that "God has forgiven" him, which is political-speak for "I'm still going to be a smug, self-righteous asshole, even if I did get busted."

God may have forgiven him, but God doesn't get a vote in this country.

Posted by: Patrick at July 14, 2007 2:51 AM

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