Thursday, June 18, 2009

Family Values Hypocrites Should Resign

Rep. Barney Frank had an affair with a prostitute. He did not resign. I don't think he needed to because he did not try to justify what the other guy did, and because he had not made a big deal about sexual morality before that. His district has re-elected him many times since.

Sen. David Vitter had sex with a prostitute. He should have resigned. He had made a big deal about sexual morality before that - and still does, with no show of shame. He thinks the only thing he did wrong was getting caught.

The latest family values warrior caught with his pants down is Sen. John Ensign. He had an affair with a campaign staffer whose husband worked for him. He seems to have gotten their son a job, too. He only admitted the affair after he was blackmailed. Ensign was a particularly egregious hypocrite. In addition to being a family values culture warrior in general, he had specifically called on his Senate colleague Larry Craig to resign during his sex scandal. And Ensign called on Pres. Clinton to resign during his sex scandal.

It is getting to the point that if public officials makes a big deal about marriage, family, and sexual honor, it is easy to assume that they are sleazy.


Jody Harrington said...

"It is getting to the point that if public officials makes a big deal about marriage, family, and sexual honor, it is easy to assume that they are sleazy. "

Yes, hypocrisy is the tribute that vice makes to virtue.

Anonymous said...

Barney Frank should resign because he is incompetent.

Michael D. Bush said...

What Barney Frank has in common with Ensign is that they're both blowhards. They should both resign for that.

Gruntled said...

If blowhards were barred from government, we wouldn't have one.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight -

If you take no position on family values, and you act in a way that most Americans would find offensive, then it is ok to remain in a position of leadership.

If you take a stand for family values, and then act in a way that most Americans would find offensive, then it is not ok to remain in a position of leadership.

Do you just like Barney Frank? Because I find this position hypocritical and not very defensible.

And, just as an aside, if we could only take a stand on those issues that we never committed or never will commit, then no one could ever speak. Knowing right from wrong and not being afraid to say it does not mean that you will never sin again.

I am not justifying any of their actions. I am appalled by all of it and I don't think they are fit to be our leaders. I just believe that they should all be held to the same standard or not.

bibi said...

Let's just kick out republicans who don't live up to their own standards. Barney's boy toy ran an escort service from Barney's place, not just had an affair with him. I guess no one can criticize anyone's behaviour because no one is perfect. I saw Barney threaten a regulator for trying to blow the whistle on Fannie and Freddie problems. Can we get rid of him for that? I thought not.

TallCoolOne said...

Oh, now, there you go again. Say it ain't so!

As long ago as 1835, insightful observers of American politics noted that the only real mechanism for keeping politicians "honest" was keeping excessive money out of the daily workings. Can anybody look at the last five decades -- minimally -- and say that excessive amounts of money haven't entered the system?

There aren't two standards. If Republicans appear to be getting the worse end of the stick at the moment, it's almost certainly because they're currently less able to keep the money flowing. (That, and the increasingly intolerant religious right turning on their false friends in the party. In this case, interestingly, most folks appear happy for the intolerance.)

Gruntled said...

My position is not driven by party. My concern is that family values advocates like me are undermined by hypocrites allegedly in our own camp.

Barney Frank never claimed one thing and then did another, not on this issue, anyway. Yes, his boyfriend ran an escort service from Frank's house, but I believe Frank when he says he did not know that, and stopped it as soon as he did. As for Frank being a blowhard or otherwise incompetent as a legislator, the proper remedy is the ballot.

bibi said...

Come on Gruntled. When's the last time you pulled the republican lever? Clarity is more important than agreement to me. You might be the hypocrite because you pretend to be centrist. But are you? Barney didn't know that an escort service was run from his abode?

Gruntled said...

I am a Democrat, though I have voted for Republicans.

I lived in Washington when the Frank scandal broke - in fact, we lived a few blocks from his house. I remember the details well. He said his boyfriend swore he had given up whoring. The "escort service" ran when Frank was at work. I believed his account that he did not know what was going on from his house.

Incompetence is a failure of the individual. Hypocrisy harms the cause.

Anonymous said...

Yeah and Obama didn't know Rev. Wright was vicious racist and in general a hater. He simply didn't know.

Gruntled said...

I don't think Rev. Wright is a vicious racist or general hater. I think, as Obama has said, that Jeremiah Wright is an old civil rights warrior and an old black man, scarred by racism, who can't see how much things have changed. He is also, apparently, prone to see "the Jews" as a category, and probably not a good one, though that was not part of the main "God damn America" controversy earlier.

Cameron Mott said...

Injecting more straw man side issues and attacking Gruntled's presumed politics hasn't changed his well explained point.

Anonymous said...

Cameron Mott -

I did not attack his presumed politics. I pointed out that his "well explained point" was a double standard and not well explained.

It is very hypocritical to say that only those who claim to have no public opinion can participate in awful behavior and still retain their office with no feelings of remorse. You either believe their behavior is not fit of a leader or you don't. And if you believe it, then you should believe they all should go, whether they have taken a public stand or not.

Cameron Mott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cameron Mott said...


If that is your name. [kidding]

I wasn't only referring to your post. I don't care if they all resign but as Gruntled explained, one did not express a sentiment of which he was then hypocritical, the other two did. I think you've added something to the point and are holding G accountable to your addition. Maybe I'm confused.

Unknown said...

Affairs are a moral failure. Everyone fails, there's no doubt about that. But stances taken before the failure can compound the issue in my opinion.

If family values are a politician's bread and butter, then they better mind their p's and q's in that area, because although everyone fails, not everyone fails at the thing they profess to be most important to them.

Also I think the constituency should be taken into account. If a constituency is hardcore family values (let's say Central Kentucky, for example) then certainly a politician caught in an affair should resign because clearly he is not in line with his constituency (to say nothing of a homosexual affair). If the constituency's core values lie in other areas (say in Southern California) the politician may not need to step down because of affairs. Politicians from those areas may forced out of office by other missteps that politicians from Central Kentucky could get away with. Certain things seem to hold more water to the voters in certain areas.

It doesn't matter what "most American's" find offensive, it matters what the small percentage of Americans that a politician is supposed to be representing find offensive.

To quote Oh Brother Where Art Thou:
"Is you is, or is you ain't my consti-chun-cy?"

Gruntled said...

Yes, my point is that the hypocrisy makes the failing much worse.

Whether different failings matter in different constituencies is a separate matter. That is up to voters, as is demonstrated by the Frank case.

But hypocrisy is hypocrisy in any constituency.

Anonymous said...

What do progrssives stand for that when they failed at would make them hypocrites? For instance Chris Dodd got a special mortgage deal from people he should have been regulating. Blacks regularly make racist statements and suffer no negative consequences. It almost seems progessives stand for nothing and therefore can't be judged for anything. Except maybe for becoming more consevative. Notice how liberals are becoming more critical of the president as he moves even a little to the center on some issues.

Gruntled said...

I am against liberal hypocrisy exactly as much as I am against conservative hypocrisy.

I don't think anti-racists should get away with practicing racism. I don't think egalitarians should be excused for snobbery.

Sen. Dodd seems to have done a bad thing. I don't know enough about his prior positions on mortgages to know if that constitutes hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

Is President Obama a hypocrite?
He just signed a law more strictly regulating the use of tobacco and he is a smoker. I don't think a person is a hypocrite if he speaks against something and he has a weakness in that area. So please back off conservatives who don't live up to their stated values, if you want to be fair.

Gruntled said...

I don't think the smoking example works at all. President Obama has been very critical of smoking, including his own addiction. He has been trying to quit. I thought he actually had quit. It is the opposite of hypocrisy to seek to reduce a weakness you admit having yourself.