Why are conservatives such hypocrites about sex?

Our undercover Wingnut explains why John Ensign, David Vitter and Newt Gingrich still have political careers

Topics:

Why are conservatives such hypocrites about sex?Ask a Wingnut

Dear Wingnut,

I’m perplexed. Should David Vitter and John Ensign resign from the Senate or just retire at the end of their respective terms (like Larry Craig)? Should the thrice-married Newt Gingrich really be running for president? I thought the GOP was the party of social conservatism. How come your side can’t walk it like you talk it?

Yours truly,

Rachel

Hello again. Last week’s column certainly initiated a robust debate and I appreciate the many thoughtful comments that were posted to the Web site. This week’s question is, I’m sure, almost sure to do likewise.

If I may paraphrase the question, Rachel wants me to explain why conservatives who talk about the importance of traditional values often fail to live up to those values in their personal lives and why other conservatives are often willing to turn a blind eye to those indiscretions.

First of all, I’m not sure it is the case that most conservatives are willing to overlook personal indiscretions like infidelity when considering whom to vote for. Whether or not Newt Gingrich runs for president in 2012 — and it is not at all clear that he is running — he has to be prepared to explain to a certain portion of the GOP primary electorate why the fact that he is a twice-divorced, thrice-married man does not automatically eliminate him from consideration as a serious candidate. There are a number of people out there who, I am almost certain, would not vote for him under any circumstances because of it.

The United States remains a center-right country composed of people who believe in center-right values, like family, hard work and honesty. But also in forgiveness — which is why the public apology from those in positions of authority who have crossed lines that seemingly could not be crossed often survive — but only when those failings are a matter of personal behavior rather than public trust.

Rachel is right in that the examples she cites create the opportunity for liberals to scream “Gotcha” at the top of their lungs. Not that this advances the debate any — but I bet it makes you feel good. I have to admit you have a point, though I am not at all certain I would categorize the senators she mentions as she does. Ensign and Vitter, in particular, are thought of as much more traditional Republicans than social conservatives. I don’t think they should have to resign because they were unfaithful to their spouses; and it’s up to the voters in their respective states whether or not they should be reelected. But if walking the talk is the standard we should set for our elected officials, let me ask a few questions of you in that same regard.



Should Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., resign his seat in the House of Representatives? After all, McDermott was one of those who opposed the Bush administration’s program to listen in on the international phone conversations of suspected terrorists. But this is the same McDermott who, when presented with an illegally recorded conversation of Republican House members discussing the Gingrich ethics investigation, turned that tape over to the media. I think it is fair to say that, in this case, McDermott failed to walk the talk.

Should Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., have to resign his seat in the U.S. Senate because he accepted the Reagan and Bush tax cuts that he railed against? Or should Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., have to resign his seat because his acceptance of a shotgun as a gift during the 2004 presidential campaign violated several of the gun control measures he himself had co-sponsored? Or should Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., resign his seat because he, despite having voted for civil rights legislation, was once a member of the Ku Klux Klan?

The “Gotcha” formula can be easily applied to almost any issue you can name. I think it is true that the vast majority of those conservatives serving in elective office can be considered people who “walk the talk.” But in an age where the politics of personal destruction remains an electoral tactic utilized to extremes by both liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, the ones who slip up are going to be the ones who get all the attention. And not undeservedly so.

I hope that helps.

Glenallen Walken is the pseudonym of a longtime conservative political operative who was an official in the George W. Bush administration.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>