Well, you know what kind of week it's been when the names I hear most on the news after New York Democratic Governor Elliott Spitzer are Larry Craig, Bill Clinton and Jim McGreevey.
It also is a great opportunity to answer critics on the right who claim that somehow the media judges a Larry Craig or a Tom Foley more harshly when they are involved in sexual pecadillos than they judge a Bill Clinton or a Ted Kennedy.
The issue is not about sex. It's about hypocrisy.
Bill Clinton left office with a 60% plus approval rating, and that was after the impeachment trial. Voters in Massachusetts have returned Ted Kennedy to the Senate seven times since Chappaquiddick. Why is that?
The answer is quite simple. Whatever their faults (and I'm not defending them) neither Bill Clinton nor Ted Kennedy has told anyone how to live their personal life. They don't go out and preach what they don't practice.
Elliott Spitzer, in contrast, has practically no support in this case, and the reason is because he made his career by being tough on criminals (including prostitution rings) and being 'Mr. Clean' himself. Well, if you claim to be Mr. Clean then you better be exactly that.
Which leads to why Republicans like Larry Craig have gotten such a harsh rebuke from the public as well as from the media. They ran on 'family values' platforms, preaching (among other things) about the sanctity of marriage. And it probably earns them some votes. But when voters find that those votes were earned under false pretenses they feel far more betrayed than they would by say, yet another sex scandal involving Bill Clinton. There is a reason why the media doesn't report on any more Clinton sex scandals. It's because pretty much everybody knows by now that Bill has a zipper problem, and reporting details of another dalliance would be about as interesting to most people as it will be if the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Pittsburgh Pirates swap a couple of minor league prospects (yawwwn.) When a sinner is caught sinning, it's not exactly earth-shattering news. But when they bust the preacher who has been out railing against it, then it is.
For that matter, speaking of preachers, this pattern holds beyond politics. There is a reason why Hugh Grant is still making movies but Jimmy Swaggart and Ted Haggard have mostly lost their careers after all three of them were caught consorting with prostitutes. That reason is because Hugh Grant never got out there and judged others for their personal failings. So both society at large and those who work with him are much more willing to forgive Hugh Grant and let him get on with things than they are willing to let those who engaged in a 'hang 'em high' brand of moralisitic judgement escape justice according to the same gallows that they have erected themselves.
But it isn't about the media not reporting scandals involving Democrats. Republicans are in fact more vulnerable to the fallout from sexual scandal precisely because they have cast themselves as the guardians of societies standards, of morality and decency. When preachy, judgemental Democrats like Spitzer or Gary Condit (who once called on Bill Clinton to step aside during the Lewinsky scandal) get caught with their pants down (in both senses of the word) then they face the same wrath from the public as Larry Craig and Mark Foley did.
Which leads us right back to what the Bible says about hypocrisy: If you live in a glass house then don't throw stones.