Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It isn't the sex, or even the corruption, it's the hypocrisy

"This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible," Vitter said in the statement. "Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there -- with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way."

Whatever, Senator. However you want to try to spin it, it boils down to this:

Yet another powerful, influential man who sits on a committee that deals with issues arising from sex trafficking – has been caught consorting with hookers.

Add this unseemly business to the cloud of suspicion that was already hanging over his head after his less-than-kosher associations with the disgraced lobbyist and convict Jack Abramoff.

In 2003, Vitter attended a fundraiser hosted by Abramoff. Two months after the event, Vitter inserted a provision into an Interior Department funding bill that was favorable to one of Abramoff’s clients, the Coushatta tribe of Louisiana, at the expense of the Jena Choctaw tribe – also his constituents. The provision that Vitter slipped in barred the Jena Choctaw from opening a casino that would have competed with the casino owned and operated by Abramoff’s clients, the Coushatta. Vitter has previously confessed to working with lawyers from Abramoffs firm, Greenberg Traurig, in drafting the legislative language for the provision.

This man has proven himself not fit to serve in the position he holds. He should, for the sake of the institution, resign immediately.

I have said from the very beginning that this is not about sex. It is much deeper than that. The sex is just the part that gets the American public in a tizzy. So bless their little hearts. If it takes tits and titillation to get the American people to pay attention to something, well, so be it. I would be tickled pink if people got as excited about bad policy and bad politics as they do bad behavior, but unfortunately, they don’t. So what the hell? We’ll take what we can get so long as light keeps shining in dark corners.

One last thing - if Brian Ross of ABC News knew that a sitting senator was on that list, and he backed off on the story...He should resign in disgrace, too.

UPDATE: About that resignation I think he ought to have the courage to submit...In 1998, he agreed. Think Progress has dug up this quote from the Clinton impeachment era: “I think Livingston’s stepping down makes a very powerful argument that Clinton should resign as well and move beyond this mess,” he said. [Atlanta Journal and Constitution, 12/20/98]