The Mortal Sin

(Author’s note: Several of the comments are time-stamped well before the actual article. I accidentally published it while I thought I was saving a draft, as I’ve done before.)

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the single greatest offense, to liberals, is hypocrisy. Especially when it’s on the other side.

I’ve run across the “Republican sex scandals” list far, far too many times, and it never fails to disgust me. There is absolutely no correlation between party affiliation and sex crimes and other forms of deviancy.

The idea, of course, is that the Republicans are the party of “family values,” so any hint of any sort of sexual impropriety is horribly inappropriate.

The converse of this argument is rather entertaining, though: the Democrats are, apparently, expected to be depraved libertines, so for them it’s “anything goes.” We shouldn’t expect anything better from them, so it’s no big deal when they get caught with their pants down.

The “Republican sex offenders” dopiness got a fresh wash of credibility yesterday, when the Boston Globe published this particularly smarmy, gloating load of crap.

My first instinct is to come back with a laundry list of Democratic perverts. Hell, just recently an aide to Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) was busted arranging anal sex with a 13-year-old boy. (In an absolutely astounding and unprecedented turn of events, the child looking to have sex with adult man turned out to be an undercover cop. Who could have seen that coming?)

But that’s not the right approach. Instead, I chose to look at some deeper factors on the matter. And I think I’ve found the distinction:


As a whole, Republicans feel it. When they get busted, they tend to feel it a lot, and act accordingly.

And if they don’t, then their fellow Republicans take care of it for him (it’s usually a him), and shun and turn on him.

A few examples: Larry Craig is a pariah. No one feels the slightest sympathy for Duke Cunningham. And Mark Foley is universally loathed.

On the other hand, Gerry Studds was not only forgiven his offenses against an underage page (taking him abroad, getting him liquored up, then sodomizing him in a country where the age of consent made it all legal). Barney Frank’s significant other was a male prostitute who operated out of Frank’s townhouse. Bill Clinton violated sexual-harassment standards and had an affair with an underling — often in his office during business hours. New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey hired his secret gay lover for a high-profile Homeland Security job — despite the fact that 1) the guy was utterly unqualified for the job and 2) wasn’t even an American citizen. Ted Kennedy let a woman drown and covered it up for hours, then tried to concoct a story that did not make him out to be the utter scumbag he is.

It is no wonder that one of the most common epithets hurled at these men for their deeds is “shameless.” They, indeed, have no shame. Studds was defiant at his censure. Frank has never admitted any wrongdoing with “Hot Bottom.” Clinton… well, he’s Clinton. McGreevey tried to defend himself by embracing his homosexuality — “I am a gay American” — and hoped that would immunize him from putting his boy-toy on the state payroll in a VERY important office for a six-figure salary. And Ted Kennedy… well, he’s the role model Bill Clinton tries to emulate, but there’s nothing like the original.

So, yeah, you can argue that Republican sex scandals are worse, because they usually involve hypocrisy. But I think it’s fair enough to point out the implication that people just expect Democrats to do the same sort of things… they just don’t expect any better, and the Democrats never promised to not be reprehensible, despicable scumbags after all.

I don’t think that’s really accurate, after all — there are quite a few Democrats who are decent sorts, and I’ve regretted very few of the many times I’ve voted for Democrats — but it is, after all, the logical extension of the “Republican sex offenders” argument.

I don’t think those who so gleefully pass around those lists have fully thought through. But then, that’s hardly an uncommon failing for them.

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