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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hookerquake Coming for the Religious Right?

It's a good news, bad news sort of thing. The good news is that a bunch of legislative lawbreakers may be about to take a fall. The bad news is that it'll happen over something that shouldn't matter.

By now, you've probably heard of Louisiana Senator David Vitter, who's name turned up on D.C. Madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey's recently released phone records. While still recovering from that revelation, Vitter -- who runs Rudy Giuliani's southern campaign -- was also outed by New Orleans Madam Jeanette Maier. "As far as the girls coming out after seeing David, all they had was nice things to say," she told a reporter for the AP. "It wasn't all about sex. In fact, he just wanted to have somebody listen to him, you know."

Good to know. I should say right here and now that I really couldn't care less about who does and doesn't visit prostitutes. Like I say, it shouldn't matter. My view on prostitution is like my view on drugs -- legalize and regulate as a public health issue, not as a criminal issue. Both are so low on my list of priorities that I couldn't really call myself as an advocate of either position. But if someone in Washington got the ball rolling on them, I'd be supportive. I'd rather deal with war, poverty, healthcare, and evironment first, but if someone wants to do the right thing on drugs and prostitution along the way, then yay for them.

What Vitter is facing isn't so much a case of committing the actual crime of being involved with street panderers -- at least, not in my mind. No, the immoral part of all this is his political pandering. He passed himself off as one of those perfect Christian robots in order to gain favor with the religious right. That is Vitter's crime -- he practiced false advertising. That and pushing this idiotic idea that the perfect Christian robot is even possible, let alone desirable.

Vittner once ran a campaign ad that said, "[Same sex marriage] is a real outrage. The Hollywood left is redefining the most basic institution in human history... We need a U.S. Senator who will stand up for Louisiana values, not Massachusetts's values." Apparently, Vitter believes Louisiana values include sleeping with prostitutes. Here I thought that was Nevada values -- who knew? Maybe we should try Hawaiian values for a while. Luaus and guys juggling firesticks seems pretty harmless.

Of all the dirty tricks the right -- and the religious right in particular -- pulls, none pisses me off so much as this idiotic divisiveness. He cast other americans in Massachusetts and Hollywood as enemies. Hey, it's their damned country too, moron. But that it's being said be some guy who puts on a fake halo for the cameras, while sleeping with sex workers off camera, is especially maddening. He's willing to throw other americans who -- by his own measure -- are no better or worse than he is under the bus. Just to get ahead and score votes from the most narrowminded and intolerant people. For that he's scum. Antiamerican scum who deserves whatever trouble he finds himself in now and much, much worse.

I could bring up the fact that he argued that Bill Clinton should be impeached on the grounds of immorality alone (I guess I just did), but I think we've pretty much established what a hypocritical ass, what an opportunistic phony, Vitter is. And he seems typical of all of the right wing, Bible-banging, let's-all-hate-other-americans morons that the 'values voters' have been busy packing Washington with for years. And the payoff for all of that hard work seems to be coming.

Dana Milbank in the Washington Post, via The Palmetto Scoop:

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), approached by a group of reporters outside the lunch, offered an unexpected defense [of Vitter]. "All of us have to look at it and say that we could be next," he said in answer to a Vitter question. "We all think that we're not vulnerable to something like that happening, but the fact is this can be a very lonely and isolating place."

DeMint's fears seem to be valid. A major player in exposing Vitter was Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine. Raw Story reports that Flynt and a team of investigators are 'involved in more than 20 investigations relating to his recent call for information on Washington sex scandals.' The investigations include 'high ranking Republican and Democrat members of the Senate and the House.' And Flynt is clear that his targets are 'family values' phonies. "If somebody's living a lie... they become fair game," he told reporters for RS.

What I find so beautiful about this is that it's a trap these guys have set for themselves. After years and years of telling people who is and isn't evil, they've actually given a pass to those they accuse of evil. What if a liberal dem were busted this way? It wouldn't raise an eyebrow on either side of the aisle. The sane (I assume) would have the same reaction I would -- "Ha ha! Celebrity with prostitute -- call David Letterman!" And that would be about the extent of it. The insane would only see what they already were led to believe -- they wouldn't hate him any more or any less. For our hypothetical liberal, there would probably be no consequence, other than any legal trouble he may face.

But for Vitter and DeMint and any of those other dems and GOPers under the microscope, the stink of hypocrisy is the thing. It's not about the prostitutes, anymore than Ted Haggard's or Jimmy Swaggart's problems were. It's about telling everyone you're freakin' perfect, teaching them to hate the imperfect, and riding that wave of hate as far as it will take you. The damage isn't only done to the hated, those they teach to be haters suffer as well -- an America has been created in people's minds where enemies are everywhere and even their very religion is threatened. Politicians like Vitter take people who are well meaning, but probably not very smart, and turn them into paranoid lunatics. Last time I checked, paranoid lunatics tend not to be very happy. And these people they've taught to hate the imperfect are, by necessity, imperfect themselves. As a result, there's probably a degree of self-hatred in every values voter. Again, it's hard to see how this would help build a happy life.

There are already calls for Vitter's resignation, but most of those making the call are proving they don't get it.

Shreveport Times:

In the wake of U.S. Sen. David Vitter's admission that he engaged a Washington, D.C., prostitute, a member of the Republican State Central Committee called for him to resign.

Vincent Bruno, of Kenner, said today that Vitter should resign "for his own good, the good of the party and the good of his family." If he doesn't resign, Vitter should "join the Democratic Party where they think that kind of behavior is OK."

Good thinkin' Bruno. Once you drive all the imperfect people away from the religious right, you won't have any leaders left but one.

And, last I heard, GOP Jesus wasn't running for office.


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