It will have been at least six days since Senator Larry Craig, a conservative Republican, family-values US Senator from Idaho burst onto the scene titillating the media and public with noir images of a rain coat claden sixty-two year old public servant lurking in airport restrooms.
The senator will resign today.
That decision is the correct one; and it exposes the hypocrisy and cynicism of an ideology that espouses civic and personal virtue, while simultaneously violating the norms that the party promotes.
Some have suggested that three cases of alleged misconduct (Craig, Senator David Vitter, and former Representative Marc Foley) does not constitute a pattern significant to warrant a charge of hypocrisy and cynicism. That leaves out, of course, Congressman Duke Cunningham, Senator Bob Packwood, former Representative Robert Livingston, and the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.
Irony is not lost on a closer look at the present cases and their outcome.
Both Craig and Foley, involved in homosexual misconduct, resigned from their respective chambers, and that is proper. But Senator David Vitter likewise deserves at least an investigation from the D.C. Madam incident, and certainly referral to the US Senate Ethics Committee.
There is not one reservoir of outrage for one set of offenses, and a second reservoir of outrage for another; they are all equally condemnable, and should result in similar sanctions.
David Vitter's misconduct, which he has essentially acknowledged, is no less heinous because he admitted it, than Craig's conduct is damning because he denied it.
Defending marriage, the very institution Republicans call to protect by guarding it against the type of behavior David Vitter exhibited, comes closer to the goal of the pro-family-values measures, like DOMA, that the Republican Party supports, than does defeating hate crimes legislation and banning gay marriage ,which essentially expands and embraces marriage, whether hetero- or homosexual, and encourages the type of closeted, shameful behavior engaged in by Craig through his own guilty plea.
There is no moral difference, in other words, between David Vitter's consorting with a prostitute and Craig's soliciting public sex with another man, since both were cheating on their wives outside the bonds and promises of their marriages.
And the moral violation is further darkened by the policy positions both men advocate as conservative, pro-family-values Republicans. To treat them differently, or to say that one violation justifies leaving, but the other does not, is hypocritical and cynical.
Of course, Republicans are not inherently more depraved or immoral than are others of differing political persuasions, but what marks Republicans for added scorn is their own party's self-righteous condemnation of behaviors that are neither unnatural nor (should they be) illegal, but are nevertheless translated into specific conservative Republican, pro-family-values policy positions that are irrefutably anti-gay.
And considering the seven cases cited above that does constitute a pattern of misjudgement, hypocrisy, and cynicism.