Hypocrisy and Senators Craig and Vitter

For those who try to conceal wrong and are then defiant, the voters can show little patience.

By + More

Another holier-than-thou Republican, Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho, has been caught after allegedly engaging in lewd conduct in the Twin Cities airport. His explanation of how he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and why he wants to change his story has questionable merit.

Craig was caught several months ago in the airport restroom, suspected by police as a hangout for men seeking sex. It happened a few months ago, and Craig must have thought it had escaped public attention.

Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, published a story about his guilty plea and $500 fine, and only then did Craig say he should have consulted a lawyer first. It didn't take long for Craig to leave his role as cochair of the Romney for President campaign in Idaho.

Craig joins Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, another "family values" apostle who has been unmasked as a hypocrite. Vitter came clean only after his name was listed as a client on a call-girl list in Washington.

Craig and Vitter have been in the front ranks of GOP members of Congress who preach family values, antigay rights, and opposition to same-sex or civil marriage. Both are married with children.

True, the Democrats have some bad apples, too. Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana still hasn't really explained how $90,000 in cash found its way into the family freezer. But in a recently published gallery of members of Congress already in the pokey or under investigation, the count was 13 Republicans and two Democrats.

Politicians who think voters are blind to these events are dead wrong. Voters can show empathy when presented with forgiveness and apology. But for those who try to conceal wrong and are then defiant, the voters can show little patience.