Republican Family Values

Talk about hypocrisy. Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, one of the leading “family values” Republicans, is caught keeping company with prostitutes — and fellow Republicans rush to his defense.

Vitter’s the first politician to appear in the not-so-little black book of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called “D.C. Madam.” But this wasn’t his first whorehouse walk. Jeanette Maier, known as New Orleans’s “Canal Street Madam,” revealed that Vitter had been one of her regular customers, too.

Vitter admits having committed “a very serious sin,” but insists that’s the end of the story. “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.”

Wait a minute. That’s not what Vitter said about Bill Clinton. After Clinton made the identical argument, when details of his affair with Monica Lewinsky surfaced, then-state legislator Vitter condemned Clinton as “morally unfit to govern.”

By his own standards, then, David Vitter should be tossed out of office. Yet Utah’s Orrin Hatch (R), who helped lead the charge against Bill Clinton, said of Vitter: “I’ve never judged a human being on those type of issues.” (Does he think our memory’s so short?) North Carolina’s Richard Burr (R) sees no problem: “David has already resolved this with his family and taken responsibility for it.”

Why does all this matter? It shouldn’t matter, frankly. Who cares what two consenting adults do behind closed doors, even for a fee? It only matters because Vitter is such a hypocrite. Here’s a man who posed as “Mr. Family Values” in public, while leading his own immoral and illegal life in private. He’s a hypocrite, and so are those self-righteous Republicans who make excuses for him.