Sure, I’m a married social conservative who was whoring around on my wife but this Burris guy, that’s like way different and worse

Louisiana Senator David Vitter, a married, family-values conservative who was busted for appearing five times in the billing records of the DC Madam (a prostitute working there said Vitter had a “diaper fetish”) figures that Roland Burris really ought to own up to his ethical shortcomings and resign.

Yes, he actually really does.

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9 responses to “Sure, I’m a married social conservative who was whoring around on my wife but this Burris guy, that’s like way different and worse

  1. Yes, I would agree that Burris is worse. Personal failings are not as bad – from an employment standpoint – as professional failings. So, an adulterer with a weird sexual fetish is not as bad of politician as a corrupt one.

    Don’t you agree that professional ethics have more bearing on job worthiness than personal ethics?

    If not, at least tell me that you called for Clinton’s removal from office…

  2. jonolan

    Thanks for the comment. Your point has merit but the matter is not quite so black and white as you seem to suggest.

    First, ought we to consider that public office is the same thing as, say, manning the phones at a trucking company? In the instance you bring up regarding Clinton, would you hold that his behavior (outside of his testimony and the legal ramifications of that) ought to yield him unfit for office? Clearly, this would be a personal matter not, as you frame it, a “professional failing”.

    Second, you don’t address the relevant matter of hypocrisy. It seems, given a lot of credible evidence, that JFK had a number of extra-marital affairs as have other Presidents and politicians (Gingrich, Spitzer, many etceteras). What relevance is there for you when that individual has campaigned on a platform of “family values” where another has not? Do you consider such a factor irrelevant?

    I do, so you know, support the resignation of Burris for deceit.

    If you care to, you can address those questions and we can continue.

  3. First, yes we should consider that public office is the same thing as, say, manning the phones at a trucking company – insofar as the the scope of the requirements for holding the positions are concerned. I don’t remember there being a moral turpitude clause in any political position’s “employment contract.”

    I thought the entire imbroglio of Clinton’s infidelity to be ridiculous, as I do every such thing involving such things. The lying under oath is a different matter entirely. I’m sorry I was a bit vague in my Clinton reference.

    Understand, I hated Clinton as a President but I still thought the Monica things was a travesty of justice.

    I don’t find Vitter’s statement hypocritical since I hold that personal failings are different from professional ones in the degree they affect that person’s ability to honestly do their job.

  4. Just a couple of points – character flaws tend to not be able to tell the difference between when I am at work and when I am on personal time. They tend to pop up whenever the mood strikes.

    And as far as Vitter and Clinton are concerned the problem wasn’t the sex or the lies, it was the character flaw that allowed them to blatantly exercise an extreme degree of poor judgement, while they were standing under a spotlight and hoping no one would notice.

    It is not a stretch to believe that a man that is capable of claiming to be one thing – an upstanding, conservative, christian husband, but is in actuality a person who breaks the law by seeking sexual favors for money and then undoubtedly lying about it to his wife, at least by omission, could be capable of exercising … let’s just call it ‘poor judgement’ to be kind … in his professional life as well.

    I did think Bill Clinton was generally a good president. I voted for him twice. I found his lie appalling, but I found his poor judgement even more so. In his position there is no way he could have continued his sexual antics without getting caught eventually. His flaw was that he didn’t have the good sense to keep his penis in his pants for eight years. And since he made an idiotic judgement call about one aspect of his life, I think the odds are pretty good that his poor judgement could carry over to other aspects of his life – like the Presidency.

    I still like Bill Clinton, but he has absolutely no credibility to me when he questions someone elses moral character or ethical up-rightedness (word?).

    I dislike David Vitter intensely. But were it not for the fact that he has displayed such an appalling lack of judgement in his personal life, I wouldn’t begrudge him his complaints against Burris.

    I think Burris is either incredibly naive and perhaps mentally not all there, or a fool. But I give him some credit for his dogged determination. He has gotten much farther along on this adventure than anyone thought he would. Should he go? Yes. But David Vitter is the last person to call for his resignation.

    A person’s character can’t be compartmentalized to when they are on the clock and when they are not. And there is nothing more obnoxious than a holier-than-thou morality cop who can’t spell the word morality, much less define it.

    I will shut up now.

  5. jonolan

    Your position is quite understandable. But I don’t fully share it.

    It seems to me it can’t be the case that public office and any other ‘job’ ought to be considered the same sort of thing. To use another example, I’d hold that a teacher or a nurse or doctor has inherent and important community responsibilities which a phone-operator does not.

    This isn’t a matter of “moral turpitude.” I wouldn’t consider that a school principle or the head of a hospital (or an electorate) has any business concerning themselves with others’ sexuality any more than the boss of our trucking company.

    But hypocrisy can be relevant because it is an expression of dishonesty. In the case of a politician like Vitter, it is dishonesty as regards an important element of what he claimed about himself and thus why he was ‘contracted’ to hold that office.

    Thus, in how I value these matters, Vitter loses my trust whereas Spitzer might not (unless he, as was reported at the time, also involved in prosecutions against prostitution rings, and then he would lose that trust).

  6. Hi Lulu…welcome aboard.

    The “character” matter is pretty dicey, isn’t it? I really don’t grant many popular notions or weightings on it as relevant or even comprehensible. As I argued above to jonolan, where a person running for office says “I dearly hold Value X” but then behaves in contradiction to that, he’ll lose my trust and I’ll probably want him gone quickly.

    Another example…I assume Bush used cocaine when he was young. I have no problem with that fact in itself. However, later on as a governor, he put a lot of people in jail for a long time for getting caught doing something he himself had done. I don’t consider the cocaine use a matter of “character” but I do consider the hypocisy of putting others in jail an entirely relevant instance of lousy character.

    I don’t quite share your expressed disdain for Clinton’s lack of self-control. I very much regret it and was disappointed and angered by it but that arises out of my affiliation with his politics.

    Eisenhower had a mistress but that situation doesn’t bother me and I don’t even think of it when I think of the man. On the other hand, I have an entirely different response to Gingrich because of the way his first wife was treated by him. Another example, Henry Hyde, who raged on about Clinton’s infidelity until it was revealed he’d done the same earlier in life.

    And now I’ll shut up.

  7. Thanks for the response. As I have more than my share of character flaws, and have lost all sense of judgment on more occasions than I can count, the topic is slightly personal.

    I guess my points, which I didn’t make clearly are: 1) parsing out the difference between personal and professional faults is futile. Faults and flaws can’t be turned on and off whether we are at work or at play. How we act or decisions we make in our professional life spills over to our personal life and vice versa. The best we can hope for is self-awareness and at least an attempt at control.

    2) My issue with Clinton wasn’t, to be blunt, that he was horny. It was that he knew it and the whole world knew it by the time he was elected. It got him in trouble before and he knew there were people just looking for a chance to bring him down. Yet as brilliant as he was, as talented as he was, he didn’t have the self-control to manage this issue while in a position he fought so hard to obtain. Even when he knew the world watched his every move. While he wasn’t the first President, Senator, Governor with this problem, he was aware of the changing media environment he faced, an environment JFK or LBJ didn’t face. Fair or not, it was the reality of the world he lived in. (Wierdly, I don’t think this issue actually has much to do with sex.)

    Gingrich is a whole different story. A disturbing one. As is Bush. The difference between making bad or thoughtless personal decisions that have an unintended negative impact on others and intentionally making cruel decisions that you know will hurt others sets them apart. This difference is why, in spite of my frustration with Clinton, I still admire the man and his qualities and missed them terribly the last eight years.

    and 3) the whole “people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” issue. And now that I’ve said this last item, I realize it is probably all I needed to say the first time. Sorry.

    Thanks for letting me drop in and vent.

  8. Lulu

    I think I understood your drift from the earlier post. And your response to Clinton’ failure to best his personal flaw – when progressives needed more from him – was my response as well.

    Drop in and vent away any time you care to.

  9. Pingback: Vitter versus Perkins versis porn star - now THERE is a Republican primary I want to see « The Brittle Hum of the Republic

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