Thursday, August 30, 2007

Casting the First Stone....

The Senator Craig story has gone from an article in a little know Capitol Hill publication to dominating the news cycle. Calls for his resignation are coming in from every quarter, and today he stepped down from his major committee assignments.

Now, this may surprise some of my readers, but I don't think he should be forced to resign. I've heard some Republicans say that his conduct was unbecoming of a Senator; well, yes, but why aren't these seem leaders calling for Senator Vitter's resignation or at least an ethics committee investigation? Oh, that's right, all he did was use a female escort service on a regular basis.

It's that double standard -- it's okay for Republican men to engage in extramarital sex as long as it's with a woman (I can't help but think of Rudy Guiliani who announced he was divorcing his wife and seeing another woman at a press conference to his wife's surprise) but soliciting a possible sex act from another man means a call for your resignation? Surely using escorts is unbecoming conduct, and in both cases, I wonder about the judgement of a public elected figure taking the risk to engage in the behavior. If Craig had solicited sex from a woman in the airport bar would anyone have cared?

I don't believe that Senator Craig acted ethically or morally, but with all those Republicans asking him to resign, I can't help but think about Jesus suggesting that he who was without sin should pick up the first stone. If you recall, they all went home.



Scott Prinster said...

Well, you've hit the nail on the head as usual, Deborah. The Old Boys' Club doesn't see hiring an escort as a problem -- that's just "what men do". But getting caught soliciting sex from another man sets off the "ick" factor in the treehouse, and watch the boys race to distance themselves from Craig.

I'm actually more concerned about Craig's career of exploiting the "ick" factor in working against gay rights, even as he acts out his own impulses on the sly. While public sex might not be a reason to leave his position, I think that public hypocrisy and outright lying is. Or should be.

Bill Baar said...

Vitter's turn is coming.

From Deb Saunder's today,

Conservative radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt has called for a "ruthless purge" of Republican pols with ethical baggage. He wants the party to pressure those who earn indictments or plead guilty to serious crimes to resign.

Great idea. I would add Rep. John Doolittle, R-Calif. -- whose Virginia home was raided by FBI agents investigating now-convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff -- high on the list. Doolittle's office has denied any wrongdoing, but his judgment and ties with Abramoff fall below the standards that voters should expect.

Many will argue that Craig's behavior is especially egregious in light of his opposition to same-sex marriage and civil unions, or because he is a Republican. But I don't think the behavior of former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevy was becoming in a Democrat.

The purge of hypocrites can go many places. I really wish we had dropped mixing the personal and the political; judging ethics and policy by personal practice. It's going to be a bad habit.

Quiet gays with private natures the first to go.