The problem with a political party that holds itself higher on moral issues is, politicians are but mere mortals. And, now, Senator John Ensign of Nevada is the latest to fall short of his own expectations.
The problem with a political party that, over time, decides to be the one true voice for family values is that human beings are not perfect and that goes double for politicians. Republicans are the victim of their own insane desire to dictate who is moral and who is not. After forty years in the political wilderness, Republicans came into power in the early 1990's and it was a glorious thing for those of us who were born and came of age during the wilderness years. Unfortunately, the leadership of the party decided to go with some hot button issues as litmus tests and continued on in this fashion as a way of keeping power. And, as is prone to happen, those speaking most loudly about purity were involved in less than family valued behavior.
Religious beliefs are important to a large segment of our population. America was founded as a Judea-Christian nation. Fine. However, I have a hard time believing that our Founding Fathers would approve of one political party claiming moral high ground over the other.
So, we reap what is sown. Politicians from the Republican party are expected to live a more pure life than Democrats and when caught doing otherwise, all hell breaks loose. Newt Gingrich, for example, a man of unequaled historic knowledge and big ideas is not able to run for President due to personal history. Rush Limbaugh is mocked to this day for a drug problem he overcame several years ago, as well as for his multiple marriages. Mitt Romney was told by some voters that they would never vote for him because he is Morman. Apparently they think their religion is better, which is not very Christian, is it?
Now, the story of Senator John Ensign surfaces. Yesterday the public was subjected to the story of his martial infidelities and the standard lines of "I'm sorry", garnished with the hurt he caused his family and supporters. Why did he do it yesterday when the affair was in 2007 into 2008 and he is now reconciled with his wife and children? The story is that the other woman's husband was demanding money. The other woman was a staffer and married at the time of the affair. Plus her husband was a friend and staffer for Ensign, too. It is all just a little too cozy and icky.
Now the usual questioning begins - should he resign? Is he still considered a possible candidate for President in 2012? The answer to both is no, as I see it. He hasn't been accused of illegal activity, only immoral activity. He has very bad judgment when it comes to his personal life. His constituents will have the decision to vote for him again in 2012 if he runs for re-election to the Senate. It is their call. He represents them. And, for a run for President in 2012? I don't see that happening.
Ensign is not just someone caught in a personal lie. He enjoys talking up the fact he is a born again Christian. And, he is a member of Promise Keepers, the male Christian group with the mission of mentoring men to be strong family men. He demanded Sen. Larry Craig resign as he faced the bathroom arrest episode - calling it an atrocity. He called for President Clinton to resign over his sexual escapades.
Do you see a pattern with humans? Those yelling most adamantly about something are usually guilty of the problem themselves. If someone has to proclaim religious integrity, family values, moral high ground or other personal character issues, there is usually a problem. Just as someone feeling the need to tell others what a hero they are or how generous or anything else, it is usually the opposite.
As long as Republicans allow those who want to own religion or family values more than the next political party to be so prominent in the public view, the party will continue to shrink. Who wants to be lectured to by such hypocrites? There are a large percent of conservatives in the Democratic party. There are a large percent of conservatives who consider themselves Independent.
Purity tests don't work for Republicans, whether it is on who is a "true" Republican or who is a real family values person.