Friday, March 09, 2007

If you make it an issue, it's an issue

Any contrary sentiments in my earlier post aside, reporters are well within the realm of relevance when they note that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had an affair while spearheading the impeachment of President Bill Clinton after L'Affaire Lewinsky.

Why? One word: hypocrisy. As ABC News notes, Gingrich "constantly espous[ed] family values even while he carried on an affair" and "linked his party to wholesome family values and Democrats to, well, something else." In a similar vein, PoliBlog's Steven Taylor offers a more detailed explanation of the story's significance: "[W]hile I understand that the impeachment process aimed at President Clinton was itself about perjury and so forth, the underlying context was that of an extramarital affair. For Gingrich to see no hypocrisy in this overall situation is to be engaging in self-delusion and serious rationalization."

If politicians aren't lecturing voters about family values, they retain a legitimate argument for keeping their private lives private. But if they choose to portray themselves or their parties as defenders of personal moral virtue, it's only fair for observers to point out their potential shortcomings on that front.


Anonymous Kathy said...

Well said!

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Lurker said...

I used to work for a preacher who said that the reason Republican politicians talked about family values so much was because they had so many families.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Don said...

Republicans must not want a presidential candidate who is about as conservative as they come and who seems to be squeaky clean as far as morals are concerned or they would be seriously promoting Congressman Ron Paul from Texas.

He may be persona non grata because he’s too conservative, to clean or possibly because he opposes the open borders for illegal immigrants policy that favors businesses that are seeking cheap labor.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

Thanks, Kathy.

Don, if anyone in the Republican presidential field truly could be described as a maverick, it'd be Paul. He won't get the nod, though, because his national name recognition is practically zero. He also has been one of the only GOP leaders to speak consistently against the Iraq war, and while that may be the majority sentiment in the country now, it won't help him with the Republican base.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

As discussed at Orcinus (Dave Neiwert's place), the real test for many Repub. base voters comes down to tribalism. "Is he one of us? or one of them?"

Most any sins will be forgiven, once he/she has proven to belong to the tribe.

"Cheated on his wife? Well... boys will be boys, y'know. At least he's not a (pejorative of choice here -- surrender monkey, n-word lover, etc.) like that (other party candidate)!"

11:01 AM  
Blogger King Cockfight said...

Ah, good to see someone else accepts the reasoning by which I will not campaign on being a loyal family man, an anti-drug and anti-alcohol social redeemer, or as someone who has never traded livestock for sexual favors.

I am a man of thin personal standards, and that reeks of integrity, among other things.

Cockfight in '010:
Because Alabama can do better, but I'm as good as it's going to get.


1:29 PM  

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