Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
Welcome back to the BuzzFlash GOP Hypocrite of the Week.
There have been quite a few calls for embattled Illinois Sen. Roland Burris to resign. Just as they seem to be subsiding, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) stepped in to say Burris' ethical problems are too pervasive to allow him to continue serving in the U.S. Senate. The Louisiana lawmaker who refused to resign after admitting his involvement in a sex scandal didn't get the irony of the situation. From The Hill:
Vitter was connected with a prostitution ring two years ago and dismissed any suggestion of hypocrisy given his own refusal to resign in the wake of that scandal.
"I honestly don't know anybody who would compare these situations," he told The Hill on Tuesday. "They are dramatically different."
Well, just because Vitter is brushing aside charges of hypocrisy doesn't mean we're going to! In 2007, Vitter's name and number were found in the proverbial little black book of "D.C. Madam" Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who was convicted by federal prosecutors of running a wide-ranging prostitution ring. Not only did Vitter refuse to resign, but he's said he'll run for reelection in 2010, a race that should prove to be... well, racy.
Vitter has a long history of involvement with prostitutes. One of his former ladies of the night said she came forward during the 2004 Senate race because she was "perturbed that he portrayed himself as a politician who would bring moral authority to his office when he was using her services on the side."
Aside from the sex issue, Vitter tried to have it both ways when addressing his past improprieties. After he was connected in the press with the investigation of the D.C. Madam, he still wanted to look good. Vitter denied the widely-repeated stories about his involvement with local prostitutes in Louisiana, while at the same time apologizing for a "very serious sin in my past."
Now Vitter and others have tried to portray the whole thing as a gentlemen's club, and that poor ol' Dave just needed someone to talk to. Granted, he reportedly required that someone to wear a diaper. And others allege he has an illegitimate child floating around Virginia. Now, we don't know how accurate these accusations are, but then there's the fact that paying for sex is illegal.
Vitter even tried to use campaign funds to pay his legal fees in the D.C. Madam case, making him fiscally -- as well as personally -- smarmy.
But this Burris incident isn't the first time Vitter has forced himself onto the ethics high horse. He was one of just two senators to vote against the confirmation of Sen. Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, citing conflicts of interest between the Clinton's duties at State and her husband's fundraising for his foundation.
He's waved his holier-than-thou wand at the Clintons before, writing as a state representative in an op-ed in 1998 that "President Clinton should be impeached and removed from office because he is morally unfit to govern."
Furthermore, in 2007, his instrumental role as a co-author of an amendment to the Constitution banning same-sex marriage was roundly denounced as hypocritical after his disinterest in defending the sanctity of his own marriage became clear.
As if once wasn't enough, a year later Vitter teamed up with fellow disgraced lawmaker Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) to try and shove the amendment down America's throat once again. As Dan Sweeny wrote for Huffington Post at the time:
Perhaps we should send a message to Vitter and Craig, because obviously, it hasn't hit them yet: You. Do. Not. Get. To. Tell. Us. How. To. Live. Any. More. You lost the right to moralize about the same time you strapped on a pair of adult diapers and/or opened your stance a little too wide. People who moralize lead first by example.
Maybe Vitter is just trying to live up to his predecessor. Vitter got to Washington thanks to a special election to replace Sen. Bob Livingston, who resigned after he confessed to having as many as four extramarital affairs. Too bad Vitter didn't learn the full lesson that admission of one's sins as well as penance is required for forgiveness.
For letting "unethical" politicians know when they need to resign but refusing to step aside himself and for telling Americans that they have to respect the sanctity of an institution he apparently cares little about, we recognize David Vitter as our GOP Hypocrite of the Week.
Remember our motto: So many Republican hypocrites, so little time.
Catch up with you soon.