…specifically from Democrats who think Edwin Edwards was cute and have voted in those idiotic hypothetical polls for Edwards over Bobby Jindal.
Let’s understand something – namely, that if you’re a former or current supporter of Edwin Edwards you are a monstrous hypocrite if you utter a single word about David Vitter and the DC Madam scandal of 2007, which surfaced seven years ago and involved behavior of Vitter’s which took place 13 years ago without any real evidence that he’s guilty of any such transgressions of more recent vintage.
Nobody is defending David Vitter for having trafficked with prostitutes at some point in his life. He shouldn’t have done it, it’s illegal and it’s a black mark on his escutcheon.
And yes, Vitter was a hypocrite for engaging in that behavior while promoting “family values” in the public sphere. He attached himself to a behavioral standard that he did not meet, and that damaged his credibility and provided embarrassment to himself, his family, his supporters and his constituents.
He’s been living that failure down ever since, and there is justice in his plight.
But for the Democrats who insist on trolling Vitter’s career with constant hoots of “Hookers!” there needs to be some accountability.
Which is this: shut up. For decades, you clowns went around defending Edwards’ serial marital infidelities, his abuse of women, his embarrassing exploits as a dirty old man and his brazen sexual innuendoes and braggadocio as if it was normal and acceptable, and you offered up as a defense the idea that it was nobody’s business but his who he slept with.
And that means you aren’t qualified to judge Vitter on his personal life. Shut up about it, because you’ve already proven you don’t care about morality in politics and therefore your credibility is kaput.
For the record, Edwards’ little head actually was our business. Before he died, legendary Louisiana lobbyist Charlie Smith told me an instructive – entertaining, perhaps, but instructive – story about how Fast Eddie’s “appetites” affected his governance.
The story was this: during one of Edwards’ later terms as governor, Smith – who was at the time single – picked up a beautiful young redhead at a bar frequented by politicos in Baton Rouge, and she took him back to her apartment. He noticed that the young redhead, who didn’t appear to have a job and wasn’t apparently from a particularly rich family, lived in rather lavishly-appointed digs – suggesting that she was someone’s kept woman. But this didn’t seem to be a problem for her, and being the single guy he was at the time it wasn’t much of a problem for him, so a good time ensued.
Smith had a bill in front of the legislature at the time which days later had passed both houses on its way to the governor’s desk, and he had no reason to think it wouldn’t be signed. Except it wasn’t. Edwards, out of the blue, vetoed the bill.
And at some point shortly thereafter, Smith was at the Governor’s Mansion for a function, and he had occasion to ask Edwards the reason for the veto.
“You stop F-ing my women,” was the response, “and I’ll stop F-ing your bills.”
So that’s an example of how the Silver Zipper’s sex life affected how he governed Louisiana. No, I don’t know what the substance of Smith’s bill was or if it was good public policy or not. That isn’t really the point. If Edwards had a philosophical or public-policy reason to veto it a credible lobbyist like Smith was would have known in advance rather than to get blindsided because he stumbled into a tryst with one of the governor’s mistresses on the side.
If there’s an example of Vitter’s sexual appetites coloring his actions in the Senate, let’s hear it.
And please don’t bring us this tired idiocy that “But Edwards never pretended to be anything other than what he is,” as though somehow that excuses his behavior and damns Vitter’s in some way. Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, the old saying goes, but in Edwards’ case it doesn’t even work – because with Edwards, vice spat in virtue’s face.
That we proclaim some standards which we do not meet does not invalidate those standards. It is better for Vitter to uphold a behavioral ideal which turns out to be more aspirational than realistic than for Edwards to engage in open abuse and degeneracy and shrug his shoulders with a smile. Edwards’ behavior set a standard in its own right – just as the behavior of Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner did.
A standard we would recognize as that of decent people is better than that of flagrant depravity. And if our leaders don’t meet that high standard we should shame them, or worse – with the hope that if those leaders are willing to acknowledge fault, ask for forgiveness and change their behavior to better pursue those standards, we can forgive them their transgressions.
Edwards recently married a woman 50 years his junior and last year appeared in a reality show a large portion of the subject matter of which involved his efforts to impregnate her. This after he divorced a previous wife some 35 years his junior on his way to prison for public corruption. Never once has he admitted shame or embarrassment for that behavior or even acknowledged that he did anything wrong.
Too many of the “Edwards is cute” clan act as though there ought to be no standard of behavior our leaders should meet, or they operate as though such a standard is a joke.
Like I said, it’s not interesting what that clan has to say about the dalliances for which Vitter has been shamed and forced to publicly humiliate himself. So to them, shut up.
Now – anyone is entitled to say that Vitter’s foibles make him not their particular cup of tea. That’s fine. Vitter’s most prominent opponent in the 2015 race is Jay Dardenne, and Dardenne doesn’t have any of the baggage, that we know of, that Vitter does. Dardenne supporters actually are entitled to bring up hookers and madams if they want, assuming they’re not also veterans of Edwards’ cult of personality, and they probably will. I don’t have a big problem with that.
But let’s not tolerate very many noises about personal ethics or bad behavior from the Dems. Their selective Puritanism has stunk up the joint enough already.