Left, Right, and Sinner

by JimLarkinsGhost on May 12, 2009


Matthew Yglesias offers an interesting post today (with a link to Michael Tomaskey) about the nature of partisan politics and sexual propriety.  You wouldn’t think that sexual affairs would be judged by the party affiliation of their participants, would you?  But you’d be wrong.

It seems that cheating on your cancer-stricken wife has career-ending implications if you’re a Democrat (John Edwards), but not if you’re a Republican (Newt Gingrich).  Getting busted for enjoying the services of a hooker?  If you’re a Republican (David Vitter), you keep your job;  if you’re Democrat (Eliot Spitzer), you’re expected to resign.

Fascinating.   It is especially curious since, as Yglesias points out, “only one of the two parties…puts a very high premium on the idea that state regulation of individual sexual behavior should be the main role of government.”  And that same party is the one that most loudly trumpets the importance of protecting “the sanctity of marriage,” too.  Fascinating.

But there’s more to this than just sex, it seems to me.  For instance, if you opposed the Vietnam War, and took steps to prevent yourself from going, and you’re a Democrat, you’re loudly and repeatedly labeled a draft dodger (Bill Clinton).  But if you’re a Republican, and you were in favor of the Vietnam War, and took steps  to prevent yourself from going (Bush, Cheney, et al), you’re fine. 

That’s totally backwards, isn’t it? 

If you were opposed to the war, and you made sure you didn’t go, (whatever one thinks of that position), at least it is morally defensible and consistent.  You didn’t want to fight in an unjust war, and you didn’t want others to have to, either.  If you were in favor of the war, and you made sure you didn’t go, it seems to me that you’re a coward and a hypocrite.  You thought the war was great, but there was no way you were going to fight it – you’d let others, especially those who didn’t have connections, fight it for you. But I suppose it isn’t exactly news that the likes of Dick Cheney are cowardly and hypocritical.

So if you’re a Democrat, and you have an affair, or you refuse to fight in combat, watch out.  If you’re a Republican – well, it’s complicated.

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