Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t much care what Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) does in his personal life. What he does in his bedroom is his business.
But these aren’t quite normal circumstances.
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) apologized last night after his telephone number appeared in the phone records of the woman dubbed the “D.C. Madam,” making him the first member of Congress to become ensnared in the high-profile case.
The statement containing Vitter’s apology said his telephone number was included on phone records of Pamela Martin and Associates dating from before he ran for the Senate in 2004.
It didn’t take too long for Vitter to fess up. “This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible,” Vitter said in a statement. “Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling.”
The reason this is noteworthy has very little to do with a powerful politician carrying on extra-marital affairs, and everything to do with Vitter holding himself out as a virtuous family man, entitled to lecture those he deems immoral about “family values.”
Stupidity is one thing; hypocrisy is another. The prior is easy to forgive; the latter tends to breed resentment.
Here’s Vitter, for example, on the “sanctity of marriage” in 2004:
“This is a real outrage. The Hollywood left is redefining the most basic institution in human history, and our two U.S. Senators won’t do anything about it.
We need a U.S. Senator who will stand up for Louisiana values, not Massachusetts’s values. I am the only Senate Candidate to coauthor the Federal Marriage Amendment; the only one fighting for its passage. I am the only candidate proposing changes to the senate rules to stop liberal obstructionists from preventing an up or down vote on issues like this, judges, energy, and on and on.” stated David Vitter.
In 2006, Vitter told reporters that “the existence or non-existence of a stable, loving, two-parent household” is the most significant predictor of success in life, and conceded that infidelity contributes to the breakdown of traditional families.
This is what makes the revelations interesting. Vitter shamelessly got on his high horse, condemning those he deemed morally inferior, despite engaging in the same “anti-family” behavior he claimed to abhor. And in the process, he lied, repeatedly, to the public about his own failings.