Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

May 18, 2010

ANOTHER 'FAMILY-VALUES' REPUBLICAN RESIGNS AFTER SEX SCANDAL.... In the House of Representatives, Christian conservatives and religious right groups have no more reliable an ally than Rep. Mark Souder (R) of Indiana. It makes these shocking revelations all the more interesting.

Indiana Rep. Mark Souder (R) will resign his congressional seat after an affair with a staffer came to light, he said in a statement this morning.

"It is with great regret I announce that I am resigning from the U.S. House of Representatives as well as resigning as the Republican nominee for Congress in this fall's election," said Souder.

"I sinned against my God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part time member of my staff," added Souder. "I am so shamed to have hurt those I love."

Every time a conservative Republican gets caught up in a sex scandal, it carries a little extra punch -- the GOP, after all, claims the moral high ground as the party of "family values" -- but Souder's scandal is especially humiliating. The Indiana Republican, after all, has made the "fight to uphold traditional values" the centerpiece of his professional life. His official website declares, "The family plays a fundamental role in our society.... I am committed to preserving traditional marriage, the union of one man and one woman... I am committed to fighting the assault on American values." Souder has been especially active in fighting against gay rights and for abstinence-only funding

Oops.

At this point, Souder is quitting Congress altogether, not just announcing his retirement. The timing is a little awkward for the Indiana GOP -- Souder just won a tough primary two weeks ago -- but Dave Weigel has heard that Hoosier Republicans can replace Souder on the ballot when the state party hosts its convention in mid-June.

But then there's the larger context: those "family-values" Republicans sure do have a lot of sex scandals, don't they? It's getting difficult to keep track of them all. Souder is the newest, but his humiliation comes on the heels of Sen. John Ensign's (R-Nev.) scandal. That came to light around the same time as Gov. Mark Sanford's (R-S.C.) sex scandal, which came soon after Gov. Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.), which itself followed Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho).

If we look back a little further, we also find disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani. If go back a little more, names like Vito Fossella, Tim Hutchinson, Henry Hyde, Dan Burton, and Bob Livingston also come to mind. And those are just the office-holders.

For the better part of a generation, the Republican Party has demanded higher moral standards of all of us, while failing to meet these standards. It's far easier for the public to tolerate personal mistakes and human failings than it is to accept shameless hypocrisy.

Steve Benen 10:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (57)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

to his credit, Souder was one of the very few GOP congresscritters not to vote to impeach President Clinton...

Posted by: wilson46201 on May 18, 2010 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

More ironic than the fact that Family Value Republicans seem to routinely betray their families is the fact that their aganda against Gays is an effort to PREVENT them from forming long term loving committed relationships.
.
One wonders if that might not be the real point.

Posted by: Paul Dirks on May 18, 2010 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

The Indiana Republican, after all, has made the "fight to uphold traditional values" the centerpiece of his professional life.

I'm still not convinced about this whole deity thing, but if He, She, or It exists, God sure has a wicked (!) sense of humor. . .

Posted by: DAY on May 18, 2010 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Please don't forget Diaper Dave of Louisiana!

Posted by: wasa1 on May 18, 2010 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

You left out Vitter, Foley, Packwood, Chenoweth...

Posted by: Mart on May 18, 2010 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Well, "the union of one man and one woman," that just means no three-ways.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on May 18, 2010 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

... and don't forget Mark Foley.

BTW, we keep hearing that gay marriage is going to destroy traditional marriage. Perhaps (snark mode=on) the recent legalization of gay marriage in nearby Iowa made him do it! Hey, the GOP has claimed weirder theories (snark mode=off)

Posted by: A DC Wonk on May 18, 2010 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

And my all-time favorite, Bob Allen, who felt compelled to offer a blow job to an undercover black cop at a rest stop in hopes of avoiding becoming a victim of black-on-white violence! Truly, that one is the gold standard.

Posted by: shortstop on May 18, 2010 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

Is this the crazy drug-warrior dude??

Posted by: booger on May 18, 2010 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

What's this? A GOP "family values" betrays his principles, and then actually resigns? He deserves a modicum of respect for that, when compared to the others listed above...

Posted by: Jim H on May 18, 2010 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Has Fox covered this story yet, and if so, can I guess what letter they put next to his name in the chryon?

Posted by: T-Rex on May 18, 2010 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Although not office holders, a number of evangelicals who have been involved in politics have also been caught recently: Haggard, Rekker, etc.

Posted by: A DC Wonk on May 18, 2010 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Where's Diaper Dave Vitter's shout-out ?

Posted by: ScottW714 on May 18, 2010 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

What's this? A GOP "family values" betrays his principles, and then actually resigns? He deserves a modicum of respect for that, when compared to the others listed above...

Apparently the house ethics committee was about to get involved. The details will likely emerge.

Posted by: shortstop on May 18, 2010 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

He wasn't a national office holder, but I'm surprised shortstop didn't mention Illinois Senatorial candidate Jack Ryan. Since she didn't, I will.

Posted by: Gregory on May 18, 2010 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

"And my all-time favorite, Bob Allen, who felt compelled to offer a blow job to an undercover black cop at a rest stop in hopes of avoiding becoming a victim of black-on-white violence!"

OMG. How could I forget that one! That is truly unforgettable.

Posted by: June on May 18, 2010 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

I cast blame upon the inventor of the zipper and Brooks Brothers which uses his product. Ever try to quickly undo metal buttons on Levis? As ever so many RepuGs are soooo Brooksie, I would suggest new Levis for all concerned or at least chastity jock straps be given to them by their wives.

Posted by: berttheclock on May 18, 2010 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Doesn't there finally come a tipping point where these hypocrites have to admit, "Hey, we were just pulling your leg! We don't believe in sexual morality at all! We are simply rabid dogs in heat that enjoy power, and if we can get laid by some cute office floozy on the side, so much the better."

Posted by: canddieinnc on May 18, 2010 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

At least Souder had enough shame left to resign, as opposed to Ensign and his ilk, who apparently have none at all.

Posted by: Ben on May 18, 2010 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, but the (very defensive) wingnut rejoinder to lefty schadenfreude when this sort of thing happens tends to be along the lines of: "Yeah, well at least we have standards! Not like you dimocrats!" That is as tiresome as it sounds.

Posted by: Nyana on May 18, 2010 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think it's really an anomaly that these bible-thumpers end up as cheaters. Their ideology is all about supporting anachronistic notions of alpha-male-hood. So you have closet cases like Larry Craig, or plain assholes like Gingrich, who can't sustain the actual demands of living in a family. If they had a more evolved sense of human social relations they might not be so inclined to behave as sociopaths.

Posted by: jimBOB on May 18, 2010 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

So we can expect his run for Governor or Senator in a few years, then?

Posted by: kd bart on May 18, 2010 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, wait! Was the affair with a woman? 'Cause if it was, it's not much effort to change the declaration of principle to "..one man and one or more women..." I'm just thinking of the publishing/webmaster side of the situation. Time is money, you know.

Posted by: Mark on May 18, 2010 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

I confess this is all my fault. Today my same-sex partner and I celebrate 34 years of not-legal yet equally-committed marital bliss. So, we are responsible for destroying this heterosexual marriage.

I guess I'll have to go back to get my next assignment for another straight marriage to destroy. Any suggestions?

Posted by: Eeyore on May 18, 2010 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Wilson: Souder did vote to impeach Clinton; he voted no on perjury but yes on obstruction of justice.

Posted by: gradysu on May 18, 2010 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Congratulations, Eeyore and partner! Have some excellent cake tonight.

Posted by: shortstop on May 18, 2010 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

You're going to have to start keeping a spreadsheet to keep track of all these hypocrites.

Posted by: wordtypist on May 18, 2010 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

You forgot Sen David (Diapers) Vitter.

Posted by: R.T.Thaddeus on May 18, 2010 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

I'm beginning to wonder if I should become a Republican -- more and kinkier sex, fewer consequences. (Yeah, I know, this guy actually resigned, but stil....)

Posted by: CJColucci on May 18, 2010 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

G ood O ld P hamilyvalues.

Posted by: Ted76 on May 18, 2010 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

I'll miss Rep. Souder. A few years ago he prompted me to pen this:


Plays Well With Others As Long As He Gets His Own Way


“Conservative Republicans angry over an unflattering television movie about Ronald Reagan want to put his image on the dime in place of Democratic icon Franklin Delano Roosevelt..” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Dec. 6, 2003


When our kids are young we teach
Good sportsmanship in hopes that they,
When full adulthood’s state they reach,
Will get along at work and play.

By and large, we learn the code
And smile if we might lose a game;
But Congressmen in vengeance mode
Would put a three-year-old to shame.

Take one Mark Souder (R-Fort Wayne)
Who had a beef with CBS
And liberals who thought to gain
By making Ronald Reagan less.

Little Mark went for the gut
Of those who might his hero tar:
His bill would kick some left-wing butt
By ridding the dime of FDR

And putting Ronnie there instead,
While blaming Democrats for all
The bogies lurking ‘neath the bed
From Islam’s rise to Saigon’s fall.

But why stop there? Why not see
St. Ron upon the sawbuck’s face
Or posed as Lady Liberty,
Or sitting in Abe Lincoln’s place,

Why not? Four Rons on Rushmore’s side;
It’s all Ron Reagan all the time,
Ron’s name on buildings far and wide,
Ron’s portrait on the flag? Sublime!


And just like once I saw abroad
We’d have a country fine and fair
Where all would Reagan, Reagan laud,
His icon looming everywhere... *

Excuse me, I was lost in space
And let my visions run away.
In truth it would be no disgrace
To wait until a later day

Before deciding who to set
Above , just who to dump or crown ---
Above all, take the time to let
Mark Souder’s temper simmer down.




*Guess where. (Clue: the icon was Lenin) As for Roosevelt as “Democratic icon”, I understand that the historical consensus is that FDR was among our greatest Presidents, and one who further, made “bipartisanship” in wartime a reality rather than a rhetorical club with which to beat the loyal opposition into silence. But then these historians are a bunch of left-liberals anyway





Posted by: jrosen on May 18, 2010 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

GOP=Good Old Patriarchs

Posted by: Tom in Ma on May 18, 2010 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

The statistics are turning this observation into a natural law:

"The more a politician claims to uphold 'family values,' the more likely the politician is a complete and utter hypocrite and has a mistress, a rentboy or is engaging in some form of infidelity."

Anyone with an ounce of integrity and two nuerons rattling in their brain box would see through this. I gueess that leaves out your typical rightwinger.

Posted by: bdop4 on May 18, 2010 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

You left out that loathsome toad David Vitter.

Posted by: SF on May 18, 2010 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

GOP = Grumpy Old Philanderers!

Posted by: MarkJ on May 18, 2010 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

"I guess I'll have to go back to get my next assignment for another straight marriage to destroy. Any suggestions?"


Oh!!! Oh!!! Do John Boehner! Man, I hate that guy.

Posted by: Mark on May 18, 2010 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

While he's not an elected official, Dr. George Rekers, the "Baptist minister, co-founder of the Family Research Council and leading scholar of the Christian conservative movement" who got caught coming back from a European vacation with his male escort, certainly deserves mention. He has, after all, added yet another colorful euphemism to the vernacular: "carrying my luggage."

http://www.fitsnews.com/2010/05/05/usc-prof-rent-boy-was-just-carrying-luggage/

Posted by: Mandy Cat on May 18, 2010 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, none of that matters because Bill Clinton got a blowjob in the White House. That trumps all, and gives Republicans a free pass for any and all debauchery. (At least, I think that's how it's supposed to work.)

Posted by: josef on May 18, 2010 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

What Souder did was reprehensible. But either adultery is wrong or it isn't. The fact that someone who believes it is wrong does it makes him a hypocrite (like 100% of the rest of us on something or another). It does not change the fact that adultery is still wrong.

Posted by: senecasd on May 18, 2010 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think it's really an anomaly that these bible-thumpers end up as cheaters. Their ideology is all about supporting anachronistic notions of alpha-male-hood. So you have closet cases like Larry Craig, or plain assholes like Gingrich, who can't sustain the actual demands of living in a family. If they had a more evolved sense of human social relations they might not be so inclined to behave as sociopaths.

You're overlooking that Republicans were created only 6,000 years ago. And as Clarence Thomas wonderfully put it in another context, "I ain't evolvin'."

Posted by: Steve on May 18, 2010 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

There is book discussing this phenomenon: Republican Gomorrah by Max Blumenthal. Excellent read. Highly recommended

Posted by: Josh on May 18, 2010 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Social conservatives have been taking a back seat to fiscal conservatives in the GOP with the advent of the tea parties, and griping about it, too. One leading social conservative protested that the tea parties were anti-big government, to include government intrusion in personal lives. Ha! The GOP may yet morph to the Libertarian Party.

Posted by: Sam on May 18, 2010 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Good. As a moderate Republican, I'd like nothing more than to purge the party of all its social conservatives who consistently succeed in scaring off moderate voters that would otherwise vote Republican.

Posted by: Danram on May 18, 2010 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't it great to be a moral relavistic liberal? We can engage in the most vile, disgusting sexual escapades and no one can ever call us hypocrites!!!!! Unlike those damn family values republicans!!!!

Posted by: pat on May 18, 2010 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

At least he had the decency to resign. Not like Democrats who sleep with pages and interns and then try and act noble, and stick around after abusing their positions of power to sleep with employees the ages of their children! Sometimes of the same sex!!!

Posted by: valwayne on May 18, 2010 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Nice try, Steve. Using those who fail to uphold principles as a device to claim the principles themselves don't deserve to be upheld is frankly a wee bit bent. In the future, please attack positions on their merit. It's the kind of honesty you implied that you'd like to see from your opponents.

Posted by: therealjg on May 18, 2010 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

The difference between the parties is that this disgraced Republican is leaving office. If he had been a Democrat no one in his party would care. So the story I am reading here is that since Republicans have principals this is bad. But since Democrats do not they get a pass on everything.

Posted by: z73421 on May 18, 2010 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

It's high time for any Republican who utters the phrase "family values" to be immediately hooked up to a polygraph and tested both as to his fidelity and his sexual orientation.

If that were the standard, I doubt we'd hear that worthless phrase ever again. As Hamlet said: "And the rest is silence."

Posted by: Durkin on May 18, 2010 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

WHAT ABOUT SLICK BILLY CLINTON? GIVE ME A BREAK...

Posted by: danimal on May 18, 2010 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Well, of course, we all know there are absolutely zero hypocrites in the Democratic Party. I mean, it's not like there are any progressives who believe that fossil fuels are going to destroy the world, but yet live in huge mansions, drive multiple large vehicles (such as, say, limousines) or fly private aircraft to remote island destinations. Nope. None of those exist at all. People of principle and self-sacrifice, one and all.

Posted by: JB on May 18, 2010 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

Let's hook up "Durkin" to a polygraph and ask him a bunch of personal questions. I bet he has a sick past!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: pat on May 18, 2010 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

I guess he took Sarah's advice to "Drill Baby, Drill".

The same can be said about the evangelicals.. massages seem to be particularly troubling.

Posted by: Barleyman on May 18, 2010 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

From Human Events, just for perspective: Democrat sex scandals.

10. Sen. Daniel Inouye. The 82-year-old Hawaii Democrat was accused in the 1990s by numerous women of sexual harassment. Democrats cast doubt on the allegations and the Senate Ethics Committee dropped its investigation.

9. Former Rep. Gus Savage. The Illinois Democrat was accused of fondling a Peace Corps volunteer in 1989 while on a trip to Africa. The House Ethics Committee decided against disciplinary action in 1990.


8. Rep. Barney Frank. The outspoken Massachusetts Democrat hired a male prostitute who ran a prostitution service from Frank�s residence in the 1980s. Only two Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to censure him in 1990.

7. Former Sen. Brock Adams. The late Washington Democrat was forced to stop campaigning after numerous accusations of drugging, assault and rape, the first surfacing in 1988.

6. Former Rep. Fred Richmond. This New York Democrat was arrested in 1978 for soliciting sex from a 16-year-old. He remained in Congress and won re-election�before eventually resigning in 1982 after pleading guilty to tax evasion and drug possession.

5. Former Rep. John Young. The late Texas Democrat increased the salary of a staffer after she gave in to his sexual advances. The congressman won re-election in 1976 but lost two years later.

4. Former Rep. Wayne Hays. The late Ohio Democrat hired an unqualified secretary reportedly for sexual acts. Although he resigned from Congress, the Democratic House leadership stalled in removing him from the Administration Committee in 1976.

3. Former Rep. Gerry Studds. He was censured for sexual relationship with underage male page in 1983. Massachusetts voters returned him to office for six more terms.

2. Former Rep. Mel Reynolds. The Illinois Democrat was convicted of 12 counts of sexual assault with a 16-year-old. President Bill Clinton pardoned him before leaving office.

1. Sen. Teddy Kennedy. The liberal Massachusetts senator testified in defense of nephew accused of rape, invoking his family history to win over the jury in 1991.


None of this excuses any wrongdoing by Republicans, and obviously since so many of them claim the moral high ground it makes it hypocritical. Let's just remember, though, that both parties have them, and just because Democrats don't claim "family values" as often doesn't mean it's OK when they do it.

Posted by: D on May 18, 2010 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

Nauseating. It's like an alcoholic arguing that people should not drink alcohol to excess. How utterly hypocritical. Alcoholics should go around encouraging others to become addicted to the drug that they, themselves, are addicted to instead of trying to teach others to live a better life. Similarly, parents who lie should not teach their children not to lie, for that would be hypocritical. And we all know that hypocrisy is a terrible crime, not simply a personal failing that liberals gleefully mock because they derive a warped sense of satisfaction from teasing others (just like they presumably did when they were 8 years old). Instead of advocating moral behavior even if you fail to live up to that ideal, it is better to simply abandon morality altogether. Don't advocate family values, and then go have fun cheating on your wife. No one will care because, after all, you are not being a hypocrite, and not being a hypocrite is the really important thing (for some odd reason that escapes me).

Posted by: Engram on May 19, 2010 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

It must be nice as a democrat to not have any standards so as to when they sin- they cannot be called a hypocrit,

Posted by: Rex on May 19, 2010 at 6:38 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, Souder sinned and had the grace to resign. Dems, on the other hand, apparently agree that adultery is just peachy. Women and men are not perfect but it is better to have a high standard and fail then to have no standards, no God and no values worthy to strive toward.

Posted by: John Sorg on May 19, 2010 at 7:15 AM | PERMALINK

Many friends and many family members had problems, at the moment i tell… but after all it al went good, and they respect me as i am.

Posted by: positionering zoekmachines on December 28, 2010 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly