But most amazing of all is this charming incident that occurred back in 1999, when Bill Clinton’s adultery was on the mind of every good, righteous, Southern Republican Christian Values Voter:
As Vitter geared up in 2002 to run for governor, his bitter race against Treen came back to haunt him. A Treen supporter, local Republican Party official Vincent Bruno, blurted out on a radio show that he believed Vitter had once had an extramarital affair.
The Louisiana Weekly newspaper followed up. Bruno told the paper that the young woman had contacted the Treen campaign in 1999 because she was upset that Vitter was portraying himself as a family-values conservative and trotting out his wife and children for campaign photo ops. Bruno, who declined to comment for this story, and John Treen interviewed the woman, who said she had worked under the name “Leah.”
But after nearly a year of regular paid assignations with Vitter, the lawmaker asked her to divulge her real name, according to Treen, citing the account he said she gave him. Her name was Wendy Cortez, Treen said. She said Vitter’s response was electric. “He said, ‘Oh, my God! I can’t see you anymore,” John Treen told me, citing the woman’s account to him and noting that Vitter’s wife is also named Wendy. And Wendy Vitter does not appear to be the indulgent type.
Asked by an interviewer in 2000 whether she could forgive her husband if she learned he’d had an extramarital affair, as Hillary Clinton and Bob Livingston’s wife had done, Wendy Vitter told the Times-Picayune: “I’m a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary. If he does something like that, I’m walking away with one thing, and it’s not alimony, trust me.”
Indeed. The one group in this country most offended by Bill Clinton’s dalliances were the salt-of-the-earth Southern Christian conservative voters for whom family values and traditional marriages are the most pressing political issue. Jacoby also noted this in her article:
Vitter, Bruno and others interviewed the alleged prostitute several times in 1999. She also met with a respected local television reporter, Richard Angelico, the Louisiana Weekly said. But Angelico declined to run with the story after she would not agree to go on camera, the paper said. Vitter denied the allegations.
But shortly before the Louisiana Weekly was set to publish its story, he dropped out of the governor’s race, saying he needed to deal with marital problems. “Our [marriage] counseling sessions have … led us to the rather obvious conclusion that it’s not time to run for governor,” Vitter said at the time.
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.
Then, in Washington, he became a client of Deborah Palfrey’s. Then he announced that amending the Constitution to protect traditional marriage was the most important political priority the country faces. Rush Limbaugh, Fred Thompson and Newt Gingrich supported the same amendment.
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.
UPDATE II: I assumed, but probably shouldn’t have, that everyone had heard the news about Vitter that prompted this post. If you haven’t, you can read it here.