Are family values actually all that important to Republicans?
The Republican Party has an abnormal abundance of hypocrites within its ranks, writes Adrian Rivera in yet another thought-provoking Naked Opinion. Whatever your political preferences, I think that it is high time that we acknowledge the fact that the Republican Party has an abnormal abundance of hypocrites within its ranks. Evidence of insincerity, mendacity, and double-talk can be found on all sides of the political spectrum, but this duplicity is especially pronounced when it comes from the party of “Family Values.” Just look at what kind of noble and righteous men the Republicans have elected over the past few years.
The Republican Party: the Track Record of Fake Family Values
Former Governor of South Carolina Mark Sanford lied to his entire staff about his whereabouts in 2009 when he told them he was hiking the Appalachian Trail: what was he really doing? Visiting his mistress in Argentina. And he did all of this during “during Father’s Day weekend,” while his wife and four sons were left behind in South Carolina. This was the man who was in charge of the Republican Governor’s Association, who was seen as a future Republican Presidential Candidate. Even after all of this, he was still somehow elected to Congress for the 1st Congressional District of South Carolina, a campaign that he asked his ex-wife to spearhead. Amazingly, she declined. More recently, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley of the Republican party has had an ethics report filed against him for “using state property and resources in furtherance of their personal relationship” with top political aide Rebekah Caldwell Mason. Although “many details of her compensation are unclear,” I think it is safe to say that details of the Governor’s and Ms. Mason’s illicit relationship will continue to be unearthed, but that is only the tip of the iceberg — Ms. Mason served as the “de facto governor,” with one legislator going so far as to say that “You can’t get to (Bentley) unless she clears it.” With voting laws that continue to disenfranchise thousands across the country, gerrymandering, and a slew of other problems that threaten our democracy, transparency and access to public officials should be a given. Because of Ms. Mason and Governor Bentley’s relationship, this could have been further from the truth, disgracing the office of the Governor in more ways than one.
And just recently, Dennis Hastert, former and longest-serving Republican Speaker of the House, was discovered to have molested at least 5 teenage boys. Federal Prosecutors uncovered this while investigating larger than usual sums of money leaving Mr. Hastert’s bank account, which eventually led to him being charged with “structuring money transactions to evade reporting where he took massive amounts of funds he was withdrawing.” — however, what was this money being used for?
Initially suspecting extortion by a man “claiming” that Hastert molested him, investigators deduced that Hastert really was paying the now adult boys to keep quiet, an endeavor almost as despicable as his initial offense. Though the statute of limitations has ended on his assault of wrestlers who were under his leadership, prosecutors recommended that he face “six months in prison,” while another U.S. Attorney said that the judge presiding over the case should “balance the positive nature of defendant’s public service with the need to avoid a public perception that the powerful are treated differently than ordinary citizens when facing sentencing for a serious crime.” Utterly disgusting — 1. That he is receiving so little time for so heinous a crime, and 2. That they should consider his time as speaker in sentencing! Had constituents known that he had molested and performed sexual acts on four teenagers who trusted and respected him, I can guarantee with 100% certainty that he would never have reached the levels of success that he did. His life was grand while those 5 lives were ruined. He lived a life in the public eye while his treacherous deeds were buried far from there. He got to choose the life he led, while those five boys had no choice in what he did to them. However special or amazing his life may have been, I’d like to think that the knowledge of what he’d done, haunted him every time he called the House to order, every time he met with President of the United States, and especially when he voted to impeach Bill Clinton, for, among other things, “Obstructing Justice.”
There will be those who cite the Triumvirate of Democratic Adulterers: Eliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner, and of course, President Bill Clinton. But at the end of the day, these three men didn’t run their campaigns on their marriage. They didn’t boast about how their relationships were divine ordinances of heaven, they didn’t feel the need to constantly reaffirm the strength of their partnerships.
Sure, everyone talks about their family on the campaign trail, but no one other than the Republican’s boast about their family values. True hypocrisy is saying one thing and doing another. The Grand Ole Party is guilty of just that.