Vitter caught in prostitute probe
Far more quickly than I expected, we have our first member of Congress to be exposed as a client of the "D.C. Madam."
It's Republican Sen. David Vitter of Lousiana. And to the delight of hypocrisy fans everywhere, he's a perfect 10 in that department. He's a rock-ribbed social conservative, a family values guy who among other things has been a chief sponsor of constitutional amendments to ban gay-marriage. He earned a 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union in 2002, when he was serving in the House -- a House seat he won in a special election in 1999 to replace House Speaker Robert Livingston, who resigned, ironically enough, after revelations that he had had an affair.
There were also rumors that Vitter had a long relationship with a French Quarter prostitute in 1999 -- a relationship he denied but which may have helped derail his prospective 2002 gubernatorial bid.
His wife, asked in March 2000 if she would be as forgiving as Hillary Clinton if her husband had an affair, replied, "I'm a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary."
Apparently, in the event, it turned out she was as forgiving as Hillary. But of course, she did it out of love while Hillary did it out of, er, naked political ambition.
Glenn Greenwald sums it up nicely, so I'll give him the last word:
So, to recap: in Louisiana, Vitter carried on a year-long affair with a prostitute in 1999. Then he ran for the House as a hard-core social conservative family values candidate, parading around his wife and kids as props and leading the public crusade in defense of traditional marriage.
Then, in Washington, he became a client of Deborah Palfrey's. Then he announced that amending the Constitution to protect traditional marriage was the most important political priority the country faces. Rush Limbaugh, Fred Thompson and Newt Gingrich supported the same amendment.
As always, it is so striking how many Defenders of Traditional Marriage have a record in their own broken lives of shattered marriages, multiple wives and serial adultery. And they never seek to protect the Sacred Institution of Traditional Marriage by banning the un-Christian and untraditional divorces they want for themselves when they are done with their wives and are ready to move on to the next, newer model. Instead, they only defend these Very Sacred Values by banning the same-sex marriages that they don't want for themselves.
Greenwald overreaches a bit -- notably, referring to the French Quarter prostitute story as if it were proven fact -- but otherwise nails the hypocrisy of it all.
I caution people about getting too partisan about all of this. As I noted in my earlier post, this is likely to be a bipartisan scandal as it develops. It's quite possible that the next name revealed will be a prominent Democrat, who will deserve pillorying in his turn, either for moral failing or hypocrisy. But this first name couldn't be more perfect if it were being written into a movie.
Update: Some further -- if uncorroborated -- details on Vitter's New Orleans paid squeeze. Take them with a grain of salt.
It also turns out that Vitter's name was uncovered by an independent investigator who is writing a book with Deborah Palfrey, the D.C. Madam. But he also works for Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, who has made an avocation out of exposing sex scandals involving (mostly Republican) politicians.
hypocrites, prostitution, Vitter, politics, midtopia