Somehow I continue to be fascinated by these sex scandals. Frank Rich had a pretty good article on Larry Craig, defending his actions as not criminal while at the same time labeling him the hypocritical closet case he is. And (to mix posts with wild abandon) using "gay" as a noun, which is sort of the exception that proves the rule, since I don't think Rich is a homophobe.
One question Rich considers is particularly interesting to me. There are lots of parallels between Larry Craig and David Vitter. Both are conservative Republicans who have records of supporting marriage as an exclusive sexual relationship between one man and one woman and decrying sexual activity outside of marriage. There is strong evidence that both of them have engaged privately in sexual activities they deplore publicly - Vitter in hiring prostitutes and Craig in engaging in sex with other men. Yet the GOP is supporting Vitter to continue in his position and is pressuring Craig to resign. Why?
There are a few differences between the two in spite of their similarities:
- Vitter's apparent extramarital sexual activity was with women and Craig's was with men
- Vitter's home state has a Democratic Governor (who would appoint his replacement should he resign) and Craig's has a Republican Governor
- Vitter acknowledged he did not live up to his own standards and apologized and Craig continues to deny that he has engaged in homosexual activity
So which of these, dear f-list, do you think matter most to the GOP machinery, pressuring Craig to resign as it embraces - if slightly at arm's length - Vitter? Are they homophobes, political realists, or just hypocrisy averse?
I think perhaps all three are at work, but I actually think homophobia is the least of it. It's very hard to support someone who has made himself look as ridiculous as Larry Craig seems intent to keep doing. By contrast there's something almost dignified in Vitter's admission, apology, and insistence that the details of his sin are between him, his wife, and G-d and he'll say no more. And Republicans are nothing if not political realists - they aren't going to push him out and get a Democrat in his place.
Rich's piece can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/23/opinion/23rich.html?em&ex=1190692800&en=3fb502bd43c1d85a&ei=5087%0A
And here's his gay-as-a-noun sentence in it: "Gays, not all of them closeted, may be among the last minority groups with some representation in the increasingly monochromatic G.O.P."