Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) probably thought he was in the clear, or at least close to it. He was exposed as a hypocrite who hired prostitutes after running on a family-values platform, he went into hiding for a week, and he returned to the Senate as if nothing had happened. From what I hear, the rest of the Senate Republican caucus welcomed him back with open arms (literally and figuratively).
First the scandal was about sex. Then it was about hypocrisy. Now, it’s about a sitting senator knowingly violating criminal law. Ross Douthat put it this way:
Making use of a prostitution ring isn’t a private matter, and Vitter should not be sitting in the United States Senate while the “D.C. Madam” is facing up to 55 years in prison for selling what he was apparently interested in buying. […]
If a politician were caught with his name on the “call list” of a prominent drug dealer, he wouldn’t be able to wriggle out of it by admitting to a “serious sin” and leaving it at that. And unless prominent Republicans are prepared to join Matt in supporting the repeal of laws banning prostitution - which I certainly hope they aren’t - then they shouldn’t be backing Vitter’s “it’s a private matter” line. It isn’t. It’s a crime.
That’s actually pretty compelling.