Climate of Hypocrisy
Republican Party proclaims itself as God’s party, yet
Republicans are moral hypocrites more often than are Democrats.
Starting in the 1980s, the Republican Party presented itself as
the party of morality and "family values." This was sheer propaganda,
since Republicans implied that morality and "family values" were their
idea, or at least something for which they had more respect than
Democrats. Most Democrats, however, were and are moral and believe in
"family values." There was a difference, however. The Republican
leadership decided that if you did not hate homosexuals, then you were
not really a good family guy or gal. So this was the Republican
position in the 1980s, and it remains essentially unchanged:
Republicans are the moral ones who protect the nation against gays.
That is, the Republican Party is the party of sexual morality.
A steady stream of moral hypocrisies has arisen from the Republican
Party ever since the 1980s. (For examples of corruption, see elsewhere
on this website.) A complete list is impossible. I will tell of some
examples that I happen to know about, and I will occasionally update my
list, including the insertion of new examples in alphabetical order.
Many of the links are to Wikipedia because these links will probably
remain active and continue to be updated. Readers are welcome to send
their favorite examples to my email.
These images are from Wikimedia Commons and are in public domain.
Bill Bennett was a Secretary of Education under President Reagan
George H. W. Bush's drug czar. He was very vocal in defending
Republican morality. One of his numerous publications was The Book of
Virtues, in which he argued for fiscal responsibility as an important
and largely conservative characteristic. Meanwhile, he shamelessly
gambled millions of dollars in Las Vegas, a fact that was revealed and
admitted in 2003. More information here.
Larry Craig was a Republican senator from Idaho and, like the
staunch defender of Republican sexual propriety. He was arrested in
2007 for soliciting sex from a man in a bathroom at the Minneapolis-St.
Paul airport who turned out to be an undercover policeman. Craig
pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. Shamelessly, after his arrest was
publicized, Craig tried unsuccessfully to change his guilty plea,
saying that he had slipped his foot into the next bathroom stall
because he had a "wide stance." In 2008, the Senate ethics committee
accused Larry "Wide Stance" Craig of improper conduct, noting that he
had used campaign funds to pay for his legal defense. More information here.
Left: Bill Bennett; Right: Police mugshot
of Larry Craig.
Dan Crane was an Illinois Republican congressman. In 1983,
censured him for having sex with a 17-year-old congressional page.
Shamelessly, he ran for re-election in 1984, and lost. He had been
trained as a dentist, and returned to this line of work. More
Mark Foley was a Florida Republican congressman. In 2006, he had
resign because he had apparently sent sexually suggestive messages to
young men who had been congressional pages during the preceding decade.
Shamelessly, he had served as the chairman of the House Caucus on
Missing and Exploited Children, which presented legislation against
sexual predators and enabled stricter guidelines for tracking them.
More information here.
Newt Gingrich was the Republican Speaker of the House from 1995
1999. In this capacity, he was the most important voice in promoting
the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and the federal government
shutdown in 1995. Gingrich married his former high school geometry
teacher when he was 19 and she was 26. While this wife was recovering
from cancer surgery, Gingrich was having an affair with another woman,
and demanded a divorce. He had an affair with yet another woman while
he was condemning Bill Clinton's affair, and maried her later.
Shamelessly, Gingrich has continued an uninterrupted momentum of
writing and speaking about Christian principles. He wrote a book that
said that the Founding Fathers intended America to be a Christian
nation. He continues to be highly respected by conservative
televangelists. The late Jerry Falwell invited him to speak at the 2007
Liberty University graduation, and James Dobson interviewed him
approvingly. More information here.
Left: Mark Foley; Middle: Newt Gingrich;
Right: Henry Hyde.
Henry Hyde was a long-time and powerful Illinois Republican
congressman. In 1998, it was revealed that he had an extramarital
affair when he was married, with a married woman. Shamelessly, he was
one of the leaders in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. He
said, "What we are telling you today [is] a reaffirmation of a set of
values that are tarnished and dim these days, but it is given to us to
restore them so our Founding Fathers would be proud. It's your
country-the President is our flag bearer, out in front of our people.
The flag is falling, my friends-I ask you to catch the falling flag as
we keep our appointment with history." Just as shamelessly, Hyde
described his affair as a "youthful indiscretion," even though he was
41 at the time. Even after Hyde admitted his affair, at least one
Christian radio network kept playing his anti-Clinton speech. More
Rush Limbaugh remains one of the most notorious voices of the
Republican Party. He was paid $33 million in 2007 (and reportedly much
more in 2010) for his radio show. He is famous for saying utterly
outrageous things that even appall most Republicans. For example, in
2010 he claimed that Americans should not send help to the earthquake
victims in Haiti because it would make President Obama look good. In
2007 he sang a song called "Barack the Magic Negro." Although Limbaugh
has no official position in the Party, when party chairman Michael
criticized his "incendiary" comments, it was Steele who apologized.
Limbaugh was particularly strong in his condemnation of drug abuse.
Shamelessly, he was addicted to oxycontin, a fact that was secret until
2003 when he tried to bring a load of the drug with him through an
airport terminal. More information here.
Mark Sanford is the Republican governor of South Carolina. In
claimed to take a hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail, and broke
contact with his staff, thus making himself unavailable in the event of
emergency. Most people consider this to be dereliction of
responsibility. Someone spotted him at the airport. He was on his way
to Argentina for an affair. His trip to Argentina was paid for by the
taxpayers. In March 2010, thirty-seven ethics charges were brought
against Sanford by the state. Shamelessly, Mark "Appalachian Trail"
Sanford continues as governor of South Carolina and to defend the
Republican Party as the bastion of moral values. More information here.
Left: Rush Limbaugh; Right: Mark Sanford
Mark Souder was a Republican Congressman from Indiana who
resignation in May 2010 when the news got out that he was having an
affair with a female aide. Souder had made a public video
aide, Tracy Jackson, in which both extolled the wonders of abstinence.
More information here.
Strom Thurmond was a Republican senator from South Carolina
until he died at
age 100. He defended the Republican Party as the bastion of moral
values, and for a long time he was a strong voice against racial
equality and integration. Shamelessly, at the very time he was
proclaiming black inferiority, he had a daughter with a black woman in
the 1920s. It was also an open secret at the Senate that young women
should not be alone in an elevator with Thurmond, who felt free to
touch them. More information at this 60
David Vitter is a Republican senator from Louisiana, who made a
for himself defending family values and Christian morality. In 2007, it
was revealed that he was a client of a major Washington, D.C.
prostitution service. Shamelessly, he has not resigned and plans to
run for re-election.
Left: Strom Thurmond; Right: David Vitter
There are, of course, Democratic examples of sexual hypocrisy, but
fewer in number than those of Republicans. New York Congressman Eric
Massa resigned amidst suggestions of sexual impropriety. He claimed
that he had not groped a congressional aide, but merely got in a
tickle-fight with him. Of course everyone is also aware of John
Edwards, former Democratic Senator and presidential candidate, who had
a child out of wedlock with a campaign aide. The
former governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, had frequently patronized
prostitutes, even while he was prosecuting prostitution activities;
this led to his March 2008 resignation. David
Paterson, who replaced Spitzer as governor, also admitted to having had
I might just point out that the difference between the affairs of John
Edwards and Newt Gingrich is (besides the fact that Gingrich did it
twice) is that everyone including Edwards admits that what he did was
wrong and that he deserves to be left out of any important role in
public life as a result, while Newt Gingrich keeps shamelessly coming
back and telling us about the greatness of Christian morals. Governor
Eliot Spitzer, unlike Governor Mark Sanford, at least had the integrity
to resign, saying that he expected no less of himself than others.
To find other examples of Democratic sexual scandal, you have to go
back to the 1990s (President Bill Clinton); to the 1980s (Congressman
Gerry Studs, who got in trouble at the same time for the same thing as
Dan Crane); and the 1970s (the Chappaquiddick scandal of Senator Edward
Most big evangelists openly support the Republican Party, or want it to
go even further to the right than it already is. Examples include Pat
Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell. Sexual improprieties are
frequently found in the right-wing televangelists who support the
Republican Party. Back in the 1980s it was Jim Bakker and Jimmy
Swaggart, who supported the Moral Majority. More recently it was Ted
Haggard, who denounced homosexuals and Democrats together. In 2006 it
was revealed that Haggard engaged in homosexual behavior with, and
obtained crystal meth from, his masseur. (So now I understand. I had
heard of the series of Christian apocalyptic books called Left Behind.
It now appears to me that these books were about Ted Haggard's favorite
part of his male consort's anatomy.)
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