It is the tendency of the media, and to some extent, the blogosphere, to breathlessly report on perceived hypocrisy by Republican politicians. I suppose it’s better to have no moral boundaries at all in your personal life, so even though you may do immoral things, you will never be accused of hypocrisy by the press. Because after all, there’s no higher authority to answer to than the ladies and gentlemen of the fourth estate. Those who honestly seek to honor their marriages and their families –by keeping the commitment they made to be faithful to their spouse and to keep their family a top priority– sometimes fail. Republicans fail. Democrats fail. We are all prone to human weakness.
In Senator Craig’s case, I find it hard to spare any sympathy for him. When a Senator plays the “Do you know who I am?” card and tries to use his office to get out of trouble, there’s no excuse for that. Senator Craig also didn’t help himself by trying to excuse his behavior instead of coming clean about it from the beginning.
I do feel sorry for his wife, and I can’t imagine what she must be going through right now. While I do think Craig should resign, I have a problem with those who want to score political points off of his humiliation. It’s true that Republicans have always been the party promoting “family values”, and that we generally oppose same-sex marriage. (Of course, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama also oppose same-sex marriage, but somehow that fact gets glossed over by the media with their prewritten narrative about the Republican party…) Maybe that’s why the members of the Republican party in Washington, DC are held to a higher standard than their Democratic counterparts. I have no problem with this.
Unfortunately, many of these Republicans have fallen short of our expectations, and there’s no easy way to regain the trust that voters once placed in our party. Sometimes apologies aren’t enough, because the damage is too deep. If we want to win any elections in the future, we need to keep those high standards, and hold our fellow Republicans accountable for their actions. Then maybe we can regain the trust of the American people.