July 10, 2007

A senator grovels.

Are you pleased?

I hate seeing people publicly humiliated for the sexual things they do in private. But the government is criminally prosecuting a woman, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, for what it says was a prostitution ring. These are federal charges, and the senator, David Vitter, has some responsibility for the laws that make this prosecution possible.

Vitter situates his misdeed in the realm of religion and private morality:
"This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible"...

"Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling... Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there -- with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way."
Oh, well, if God has forgiven him...

Palfrey can't say God has forgiven her and walk free. In fact, Vitter's statement hurts Palfrey because it strongly implies that Palfrey was doing what she's accused of. Vitter's confession -- intended to move us to mercy -- links him to criminal activity, but only she is facing criminal punishment.

Shouldn't the expiation of Vitter's sins wait until he has introduced a bill that would create a federal right to engage in the business of prostitution? It's not a matter to be resolved within the realm of church and family as long as Palfrey is being prosecuted.

UPDATE: James Taranto links here and asks:
How would advocating the legalization of prostitution expiate Vitter's sins? Prostitution is illegal because it is wrong, not the other way around. The reason we have laws at all is not so that "good" people can impose their will on "bad" people, but because everyone has the capacity to do bad things. Thus it's not surprising that moralists sometimes turn out to be hypocrites. They are moralists because they are closely acquainted with the temptation to do wrong.
Taranto isn't reading me carefully. I'm not talking about what Vitter needs to do to expiate his sins. I'm talking about what Vitter needs to do to make it only an issue of sin. My point is -- quite clearly -- that as long as Palfrey is incapable of treating this as a matter between herself and God, it is not morally logical for Vitter to claim that capacity for himself. He must first take whatever action he can to put Palfrey in the same position he wants for himself. Vitter is a member of Congress, and Palfrey is being prosecuted under federal law. He cannot morally turn away from her plight while he holds power.

ANOTHER UPDATE: James Taranto responds to my response:
Althouse's original words were: "Shouldn't the expiation of Vitter's sins wait until he has introduced a bill that would create a federal right to engage in the business of prostitution?" It would take a careful reader indeed to conclude that Althouse is not referring to "what Vitter needs to do to expiate his sins."

Indeed, we expect careful reading here on Althouse. When you see a concise and puzzling sentence, remember to pause and think deeply -- especially if you want to write about it!
Anyway, the argument is illogical on several levels. For one, the crime Vitter is thought to have committed, patronizing a prostitute, is different from the crimes with which Palfrey is charged: racketeering and conspiracy. (Prostitution is under state and local jurisdiction.) Does Althouse think Vitter should introduce legislation to decriminalize racketeering and conspiracy?

No, I think he should -- as I wrote -- introduce a bill that would create a federal right to engage in the business of prostitution! Congress has the power to do that under the Commerce Clause, and it would preempt the state law that currently criminalizes prostitution. The conspiracy and racketeering laws would remain intact, but the state law they draw on would no longer include a crime of prostitution. See? Nothing permanently puts prostitution "under state and local jurisdiction." It can be federalized.
Further, the idea that Vitter is getting off easy seems to have it backward. The proper comparison here would be not to Palfrey but to others situated similarly to Vitter -- i.e., those who may be incriminated by Palfrey's phone records. Among this group, Vitter is being singled out for humiliating attention owing to his status as an elected official. However much Vitter might like to treat this as a matter "between himself and God," it is also a matter between the news media and Larry Flynt and the voters of Louisiana and political junkies and voyeurs all over the world.

I didn't say Vitter "is getting off easy." In fact, I feel sorry for him. I am simply objecting to his announcement that it's a private matter in the realm of family and religion. And I don't see why Taranto thinks he can simply announce what the "proper comparison" is. Palfrey faces prison. It is a very serious matter for the government to take away a person's freedom. Why should Vitter be able to say it's no concern of his? He was part of the same illegal behavior that she is being prosecuted for. He holds a position of legislative power. I'm saying that if he wants to say that the wrong he did is something to be dealt with exclusively as a private matter, he's morally obligated to use the power he has to make prostitution a private matter for her too.

I realize the media are slavering over this too. I'm not saying that's right. But it doesn't absolve him of his wrongs. As for the comparison to other clients who have less to lose from exposure -- it is always the case that getting accused of wrongdoing has an impact on your life that depends on the particularities of your life.

155 comments:

Too Cool for School said...

FYI Vitter's predecessor was Livingston, who was famously Flynt-ed in the wake of Monicagate. Can we as a nation come to peace with the fact that men in power have a difficult time keeping their pants on, and move on with it? And, no, there is no dignity in the public groveling - of Clinton, Livingston or Vitter.

TMink said...

If he stops that nasty mess, I hope his wife forgives him. God knows his heart, so that is not an issue. But hiding behind God's forgiveness and his wife's betrayed skirt doesn't wash too well with me.

Trey

MadisonMan said...

How come I knew without looking that the Senator was a Republican?

Okay, it was (roughly) a 50/50 shot, but still.

So the Senator is completely responsible for the sin, but since God and his wife have presumably forgiven him, and he's served his penance -- whatever that is -- we all should accept that he's moved on. So why are only the prostitutes charged here, and not their clientele? Prostitution is a crime, yet only half of those involved are criminals?

And no, I don't like seeing Politicians groveling. I prefer people who at some point must grovel stay out of politics.

Doyle said...

God knows his heart, so that is not an issue.

Hahahahaha!

But seriously, why can't he talk about God and his family without first trying to legalize prostitution? Might he not have moral objections to prostitution (because it tempts God-fearing men such as himself), and prefer that it be illegal even if he indulged from time to time?

And to answer your question, yes, I am pleased. I love to see Republican congressmen humiliated. I won't feel sorry for any Dems in that book, either, but it won't be as enjoyable.

Troy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph Hovsep said...

Can we as a nation come to peace with the fact that men in power have a difficult time keeping their pants on, and move on with it?

That would be fine but I don't think its so simple in this case. Vitter essentially admitted to paying for sex, but he is a legislator who presumably supports the criminalization of prostitution. If so, he should be expected to explain his behavior to more people than his wife and God. If a lawmaker supports criminalizing the sale and use of recreational drugs, and is caught using drugs, would we accept an explanation that he or she isn't going to discuss it beyong God and family?

I don't like the public humiliation of public figures for their private sexual conduct, but when those public figures are the ones who write and support the laws criminalizing private sexual acts (or drug use), they should be held to account for violating the rules they have imposed on all of us.

Sloanasaurus said...

Just another reminder at how idiotic politicians are. Did this guy think that it would not be made public? Did Clinton?

No one can be trusted.

He may survive. Certainly he will over the next three years until his re-election.

By that time, he will find out if his electorate has forgiven him.

Maybe he should resign... but then maybe should Tim Johnson from South Dakota.

Doyle said...

Did this guy think that it would not be made public?

Why would he think it would be made public? Do you really think that most, or even a sizable portion of those politicians who get hookers get caught?

I think this can be chalked up more to bad luck (and a certain moral lassitude) than stupidity.

reader_iam said...

I get sick of the constant "apologies" and calls for "apologies." They're cheap, and rarely mean a damn thing.

Your point is well taken with regard to uneven prosecution (if we're going to out law paid-for sex, provider and user alike should face sanctions). Theoretically, I believe even public figures deserve private lives, and I do not relish humiliation, in general terms, as a mode of destroying someone. I also think there is great truth in de la Rochefoucald's saying "Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue."

However, we are talking Vitter here. His history his long and egregious. Allegations of his involvement with a prostitute (a different one, given the time period) date back to 1999, when he was accused of having an 11-month relationship with a a paid companion. Etc.

David Vitter has consistently campaigned on and based his political career on religion and his own private, so-called "morality" and rectitude. He has crusaded--vociferously, mercilessly and self-righteously (and even vindictively, IMO--on behalf of certain issues on the grounds that they do NOT fall into the realm of the private, but rather should be controlled via public policy and according to the most conservative of values. He has done this, apparently, while blatantly disregarding those values. His voters have allowed him to get away with this, which is certainly their prerogative. But it is our prerogative to call him out and expose him unmercilessly, given the particular context and history in this case.

Vitter is not primarily a "private" citizen (no legislator is, or should be, though, again, that's not to say legislators aren't entitled to a private life), and he has not valued the privacy of private citizens, on principle, in terms of "personal, private" morality. Why should he not be hoist on his own petard?

Sometimes public humiliation is the only effective tool against public hubris on the scale of Vitter's.

I have ZERO pity for Vitter. His apology is mealy mouthed, cynical, opportunistic, insulting and ultimately insincere. (I also suspect he is being outright dishonest about the "several" years ago--depending on how he defines "several.") He is "hiding" behind respect for his family--as if his actions have been respectful to his family, much less family values, much less the institution of marriage he's so hot to hold sacred and protect in even a civil sense.

Disappointing? Nah; there's been evidence around for years of who and what Vitter is. Disgusting is more like it.

Beth said...

Vitter has based his career on telling other people what to do in their private sexual lives, so no, there's no shame in a enjoying little schadenfreude over his public embarrasment. He'd be quite content to see me publicly denied my job, my home, and my relationship. When someone jumps up and says "Let ME lead the witchhunt!" you know they have something to hide.

This also isn't the first time he's found the path to a high-class brothel; the first time he skated free while the madam of the Canal Street brothel did time.

So when this crocodile tears up and says his sin is in the past, and wah wah wah he'll never do it again and Jesus loves him this he knows, don't bother handing his a hankie. He's faking.

Beth said...

Well, reader iam was typing away furiously just about the same time as me, and turned out a much more eloquent declaration of everything I tried and failed to express.

As usual!

We really ought to have a beer together sometime, reader.

reader_iam said...

... (and not because he's patronized prostitutes, per se).

Beth said...

And please, y'all, don't think he'll pay much of a price for this in Louisiana. Remember, Edwin Edwards declared that the only way he could lose an election is if he got caught with a live boy or a dead girl. And he was right. What sent Edwin packing was egregious corruption, and I applaud his prosecution. But he never, ever made other citizens' private lives a target of his political ambitions.

Vitter has absolutely zero of Edwin's Cajun charm, so he may not make it through this.

They did both patronize the same bordello -- doncha love bi-partisanship in action? I'm sure there are many Capital Hill Dems sweating the outcome of Palfrey's release of her phone book.

Doyle said...

Yes but very few Dems (especially now that Holy Joe has taken leave) go out of their way to tell people who they can and can't have sex with, or what God has to say about their sex life.

For that reason, it will never be as satisfying to have their indiscretions exposed as those of "Christian conservative" bubbas like Vitter.

Pogo said...

Do victimless crimes have no victims?
Should this be a crime?
Hell, I haven't the foggiest idea anymore.

At present, the primary purpose of periodic raids on brothels seems to be generating headlines for an Attorney General or State Senator.

Living in a neighborhood with prostitution and drug trafficking was tough, though. And gross. And dangerous.

And still, these many years later, having read and thought about it many time, I still don't know if any of this is worth it at all. I know even less how to remedy the social consequences.

reader_iam said...

unmercilessly = mercilessly or unmercifully.

(The other typos I'll let go.)

Beth: Some day, some day.

Linc Steele said...

Why do grown men find it so hard to keep their peter in their pants?

AllenS said...

"Why do grown men find it so hard to keep their peter in their pants?"

Because a lot of the time, peter does all of our thinking for us.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

Dolye: Yes but very few Dems (especially now that Holy Joe has taken leave) go out of their way to tell people who they can and can't have sex with

Actually, most Dems oppose legalizing prostitution - the feminists say it damages the women involved, and they are right.

That said, Vitter should resign.

Justin said...

Pogo said...

Do victimless crimes have no victims?
Should this be a crime?
Hell, I haven't the foggiest idea anymore.


Prostitution has been around forever. Obviously, laws haven't stopped it. Why not try legalizing it? I don't see how it could make things worse.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I believe politics is a strong aphrodisiac.

Fen said...

Prostitution has been around forever. Obviously, laws haven't stopped it. Why not try legalizing it? I don't see how it could make things worse.

That can be said of most criminal activity.

Anyone know why prostituion was made illegal to begin with?

Pogo said...

politics is a strong aphrodisiac

Quite so.
Makes me think we are not so far removed from the apes, really.

There seems to be a Laffer curve on sex laws. Partially-enforced laws agaist prostitution seem to keep their existence to a distasteful but small number. Too rigorous enforcement creates alot of its own negatives, and where rules are too lax or it is legalized, there is damage on another end.

"What is the correct level of enforcement of sex laws?" seems a ready question for economists, more useful perhaps than the "more sex" argument.

vet66 said...

Prostitution is not legal because it destroys the family by reducing the participants to their lowest common denominator. The last thing sex should be is an expression of power over another or a shallow attempt to reaffirm a power that never was.

hdhouse said...

Two points to carry away here:

1. Congress is paid too much and there is obviously too much pocket money...

2. I feel sorry for the woman actually - the prostitute - who for what is pocket change to this rascal went to bed with him..

There is the victim. Palfrey is the go between. The congressman is the skunk.

reader_iam said...

Fen: Not sure if your question was rhetorical.

Also, I assume you mean specifically in the U.S.

Didn't the move to broad illegalization of prostitution come out of the Progressive era around the turn of the last century (on grounds of hreats to the family, VD transmission, etc.). I think this was another of the movements primarily driven by middle-class women--which observation is intended neutrally, not pejoratively) as part of a broader cleanup of society (in metaphorical and literal terms as well, if one includes some of the other reforms of the era).

rebel said...

David Vitter is a family man who has done wonderful things in his senate career to support marriage between one man and one woman. He also has worked on abstinence only education programs.

He has sinned and asked for God and his wives forgiveness and received it from both. This should be the end of the story. God has granted him forgiveness and his wife has as well.

The difference between republicans and democrats is that republicans repent and ask for forgiveness from our creator. Democrats, on the other hand stew in depravity soup until it is leaking out of their poors.

I am proud of Senator Vitter admitting his errors and being honest about his transgressions. It takes a courageous man to admit fault and seek guidance from God and he should be commended for it.

Barney Frank did not seek guidance from God and was elected in Taxachusetts numerous times. That is what is really sad.

Joe said...

God has granted him forgiveness and his wife has as well.

Talked to God just the other day and He said He's done no such thing.

Maxine Weiss said...

If it was just simply run-of-the-mill Prostitution ----that would be one thing.

But there are rumors all over the net that Vittel engaged in far more sleazier activities. Supposedly he had a "Marquis de Sade" complex. He would ride these girls around piggy-back etc...

Hey, doesn't one of Ann's sons share a birthday with the Marquis de Sade ????

Uh oh.

Doyle said...

It takes a courageous man to admit fault and seek guidance from God and he should be commended for it.

This is good stuff.

Maybe if he did his little mea culpa BEFORE his whoring was exposed publicly, it would be commendable, but what choice did he have?

Playing the God card is just an easy way for these schmucks to try to avoid accountability here on earth. This guy called for Clinton's resignation, remember.

Of course, for your average neoconfederate blog commenter, Vitter is by definition a champion of religious virtue because he opposes gay rights, no matter how much of a hypocritical scumbag he may be.

Maxine Weiss said...

http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/famous/sade/index_1.html


Love, Maxine

Theo Boehm said...

I believe politics is a strong aphrodisiac.

Ruth Anne, as ever, has nailed something in the fewest words.

However, I think "aphrodisiac" has too much of a connotation of healthy eros.  My wife got an advanced degree at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy to prepare for a diplomatic career, and she worked in Washington for a time.  She says something very similar to Ruth Anne.  My wife's description is that men in powerful political positions seem to have a "strong sex drive," as she puts it in her somewhat clinical way.

This "strong sex drive" is one of several reasons my wife left government to work in publishing.  You can imagine what fun she had in Washington dodging the...um...'alpha males' in 1979 as a sweet young thing from California.  Her female friends from Fletcher all say the same thing, including one who had even more fun working with the international diplomats at the U.N.

The only good thing you can say about Senator Slimeball here is that he is holds to old-fashioned values.  It's a fine, time-honored tradition for a politician's name to turn up some madame's little black book.  Has Rod Serling just shown up, and I'm going to walk out the door and it's 1907?  I know some great investment opportunities if it is.

Anyway, I hope all this whoring around has kept Senator Vitter from hitting on the interns.

They really should put saltpeter in that bean soup in the Senate Cafeteria.

Ann Althouse said...

rebel: "Democrats, on the other hand stew in depravity soup until it is leaking out of their poors."

Nice to see the AutoAdmit-style slang for poor people is catching on.

to everyone taking the "keep it in his pants" angle: This is a private problem -- a very common and rather boring one. The public problem is that a woman is being prosecuted for providing a service that a man bought and thinks he's only accountable for privately. Think about it. She's supposed to go to prison, while he sits in Congress. If it's a crime, they are partners in crime.

reader_iam said...

OK, that's it. I can no longer resist posting something that I started to put on two other Althouse threads before deciding against it.

I think "Rebel" is completely a parody persona.

'Fess up--you're satire, just a little bit obvious.

Ann Althouse said...

Reader: I agree. I think everyone sees it, since no one responds to him.

Seven Machos said...

What kind of idiot allows his name to get on this list?

reader_iam said...

Hey--you're not one of the people involved at the baptistsforbrown2008 parody site, are you?

Joseph Hovsep said...

If it's a crime, they are partners in crime.

Exactly. I see an somewhat strained, but useful analogy to illegal immigration. If we are truly serious about preventing undocumented workers from getting jobs in this country, there have to be harsh and consistently enforced criminal penalties for the employers who hire them, not just the workers who get deported. The people who employ undocumented workers and hire sex workers are creating the demand for those illegal transactions. When lawmakers impose severe penalties on sex workers or undocumented workers but not for those who hire them, it exposes the motivation behind such laws as less about preventing these acts from happening and more about demonizing the already-disenfranchised party to the transaction.

Doyle said...

I think everyone sees it, since no one responds to him.

Oh now that hurts, Ann. That hurts deeply.

It's funny that you take Pogo and Sloan seriously but think rebel is a parody troll. Don't you know your target demo when you see it?

Seven Machos said...

I've never really understood why drugs and prostitution are illegal, particularly high-class prostitution that is obviously not a public-health risk or an unwanted-child risk.

reader_iam said...

What?!? Doyle, my man--are you saying that Rebel is your creation?

; )

Besides, I thought YOU were Althouse's target demo ... .

lol.

Ann Althouse said...

Doyle, if you think he's real, why aren't you arguing with him?

Too Cool for School said...

What's wrong with the law applying disparate treatment among distributor and distributee? The same difference exists with respect to gambling and drugs. The distributor (i.e. the madam, drug dealer or, with respect to gambling, the house) makes a profit, while the user is merely engaging in a vice. The parties are morally distinguishable. And from an enforcement perspective, obviously targeting the distributer is more efficient that targeting the distributees.

Eli Blake said...

Madison Man:

How come I knew without looking that the Senator was a Republican?

Okay, it was (roughly) a 50/50 shot, but still.


Actually, not 50/50. Democrats hold a 51-49 edge, but that is due to two independents who caucus with the Democrats.

Of the 49 actual Democratic Senators, only 38 are male. This compares to 44 male Republican Senators.

Assuming that a female Senator wouldn't be hiring a callgirl, if you hear of something like this then the odds favor Republicans over Democrats, in fact.

In fact, if it were a congressman, the odds would be right at 50-50, as the 30 seat edge that Democrats hold in Congress is effectively because they hold a 50-20 lead among female house members.

Beth said...

Maxine, the Canal Street brothel, Vitter's home away from home when he was a mere New Orleans local politician, had a room for BDSM activity, and the madam mentioned in an interview that her GOP clients tended to enjoy the domination treatment. So maybe Vitter is a bottom -- he's a mean little cuss, so it would fit the profile of powerful men who like to be abused in private.

Seven Machos said...

The wars against drugs and gambling have worked out so well, Too Cool.

Doyle said...

Doyle, if you think he's real, why aren't you arguing with him?

Uhhh... I thought I did, in my 11:53 comment, which is why I thought your "no one is responding" comment was a dig at me. But apparently you just didn't see it.

I maintain that given some of your other commenters it's hard to understand why rebel alone is suspected of being a parody.

Thorley Winston said...

These are federal charges, and the senator, David Vitter, has some responsibility for the laws that make this prosecution possible.

Which legislation did Senator Vitter either sponsor or vote for which you believe made this prosecution possible?

XWL said...

But there are rumors all over the net that Vittel engaged in far more sleazier activities. Supposedly he had a "Marquis de Sade" complex. He would ride these girls around piggy-back etc...

Those 'far sleazier activities' generally don't constitute prostitution.

In most jurisdictions you can pay for just about anything that doesn't involve genital contact.

It's possible he didn't break any laws, even while using this escort service if he used them for the 'Sade' package (on the giving or receiving end, doesn't matter), only.

Where are the calls for a more 'European' attitude regarding this stuff?

Hypocrisy is his worst crime as far as his relationship to voters and the law is concerned, as far as his relationship to his family, that's his problem.

And don't you think the accused madame threw a bible-thumping Southern Republican name out there first since she knew that'd get the most play in the media?

Surely there's plenty of elected officials who've used her services at the local, state and federal level, and probably even a few in other branches of government.

But, she's smart enough to name a name that folks will be happy to discuss and titter at.

Titter away, he deserves it, but titter equally when it's a 'progressive' man who succumbs to a personal weakness.

But this gives Vitters a good campaign issue should he run again, 'better that I was with prostitutes, than your daughters'.

reader_iam said...

Doyle: As far as I go, Rebel's not the only whom I suspect (or, in some cases, know) is a parody. It's just that he/she/it is newer on the scene--or, at least, I just noticed him/her/it in the last few days.

And I was teasing you, you know.

Doyle said...

Titter away, he deserves it, but titter equally when it's a 'progressive' man who succumbs to a personal weakness.

No, sorry. Sanctimonious religious folk who lecture on sexual morality while cheating on their wives with hookers deserve extra scorn for hypocrisy.

Show me a progressive adulterer who is equally judgmental about the private lives of others and I'll titter equally.

reader_iam said...

Where are the calls for a more 'European' attitude regarding this stuff?

Vitter's being hoist on his own attitude, XWL. He built his own petard (not 'European,' to say the least).

And in my case, I'm not tittering: I'm full-blown whacking, and precisely because I don't think it's funny in context (Vitter's self-created).

Doyle said...

Reader -

Understood. I just think it's funny that Ann agreed with the theory after promoting some of her crazier wingnut commenters on the main page (albeit usually their more lucid efforts).

Who do you know is a parody?

TMink said...

I wrote: "God knows his heart, so that is not an issue."

And Doyle responded: "Hahahahaha!"

Perhaps you missed my point, but I am entirely missing yours. My point was that God knows if he is shucking an jiving by pretending to repent when he is just ducking. I am quite happy with that, as I think he is just ducking. God does not accept bullshit repentence. This is a good thing.

So what was your point Doyle?

Trey

Internet Ronin said...

No, sorry. Sanctimonious religious folk who lecture on sexual morality while cheating on their wives with hookers deserve extra scorn for hypocrisy.

Show me a progressive adulterer who is equally judgmental about the private lives of others and I'll titter equally.


I agree, although I will probably scowl with equal ferocity at both of them whether or not they lecture the public on morality.

TO whoever who said Vitter should resign, I say, "Nonsense!" This is not a high crime and misdemeanor. It isn't even a low felony.

In due time, the people of Louisiana will have the opportunity to render their decision on his behavior. As Beth said, this is not Vitter's first experience with being exposed, and the people of Louisiana went ahead and elected him Senator after the first one. Their choice - not mine.

Revenant said...

It's not a matter to be resolved within the realm of church and family as long as Palfrey is being prosecuted.

I completely agree -- but then, I think prostitution should be legal. I have often commented that it makes no sense for a "right to privacy" to legalize abortion and sodomy but not prostitution.

Beth said...

I have no idea how he's gotten sent up the line to greater and more powerful offices. He had a reputation in the Louisiana legislature for being lazy, and grabbing the headlines for legislation by adding his name to the sponsors at the last minute, just before calling a press conference. Perhaps he got the state GOP support in the old, time-honored tradition of promoting mediocrity to get the useless dreck out of the way.

Beth said...

Just for the record: I've never voted for him.

Revenant said...

How come I knew without looking that the Senator was a Republican?

A Democrat wouldn't have mentioned God. :)

Doyle said...

Trey -

Sorry if you took my laughter for disrespect of your religious views, but "God knows his heart" is some goofy s---, and it wasn't clear that you meant it with an eye towards divine wrath (which I would hope is in the offing).

I thought it meant that only God can judge him, which I would strongly disagree with. He should be paraded around town a few times here on earth first.

Also, why do you want his wife to forgive him? Maybe, just maybe, he's a terrible husband who she'd be better off without. Plus she doesn't exactly sound like the forgiving type.

reader_iam said...

Supposedly, Vitter's fellow Republicans (that is, politicians etc., not rank and file) in Louisiana have never been too fond of him, sometimes outright snubbing him. I believe the '99 story came out due to a fellow Republican. So I don't know that his rise can be pinned so much on his Party (note the capital letter) as on his voters. It's one of those fascinating, if repellant, political stories that defy certain stereotypes and, in a certain sense and to certain degree, reveal the underbelly--or, perhaps a better word would be flipside?--of popular democracy.

I'll concede upfront that I didn't put that well. If people REALLY can't see what I'm getting at (agree or no), I'll take another stab.

Paddy O. said...

So, Vitter has a sex scandal, while Jefferson has a financial/corruption scandal. Aren't Democrats supposed to do sex and Republicans money?

They sure like to mix things up there in Louisiana.

Internet Ronin said...

I'll concede upfront that I didn't put that well. If people REALLY can't see what I'm getting at (agree or no), I'll take another stab.

No need to do so on my account! You are coming through loud and clear to me. ;-)

Doyle said...

A Democrat wouldn't have mentioned God

It's funny how proud these people are of their religious faith when A) there's an obvious self interest in pawning off all your sins on Jesus Christ and B) the thing they claim is most insidious about the Islamo-fascist threat is their desire for a religious state.

But they get all misty at the courage it takes to say "God forgave me already" after they get caught boning hookers.

Revenant said...

It's funny how proud these people are of their religious faith when [...] the thing they claim is most insidious about the Islamo-fascist threat is their desire for a religious state.

That makes no sense, Doyle. Taking pride in your faith (or, in this case, shelter in your faith) has absolutely nothing to do with theocracy. Quite the opposite, really -- in a religious state, the question of whether or not God had forgiven him would be a matter for the ruling class to decide.

Doyle said...

Revenant -

Shelter? He's publicly claiming God's forgiveness to insulate himself from criticism. And you act as though that's somehow to his credit, whereas a Democrat might just say "I was wrong and I'm sorry" and leave God out of it.

And as a sitting U.S. Senator he is part of our "ruling class" and he's such a religious kook that he thinks that banning gay marriage is THE most important issue facing our country.

TMink said...

Doyle, completely understood, I was not at all clear in what I wrote, and people say stuff like that to justify all kinds of bad behavior. I appreciate your taking the time to get back to me.

We agree about God's judgment.

And it is OK to make fun of my religious beliefs, I just wanted to know what aspect you were hiting on if you were!

Thanks again.

Trey

Eli Blake said...

The bigger question is what effect will this have on Rudy's campaign?

Vitter serves as his southern regional chair.

Rudy's already having a tough time finding supporters in the South (Fred Flintstone's home turf) and last month his campaign director in South Carolina was busted for selling cocaine.

One thing though-- the morally challenged Republicans are backing the most socially moderate candidate.

Roux said...

I can't support him again. This is not a moral issue for me but a judgment issue. If a congressman lacks the judgment to understand he'll be caught if he goes to a prostitue then I don't want him writing laws.

dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb

MadisonMan said...

Eli, I see no reason to assume that Female senators will not hire a call girl. I also think you should read the dictionary definition of 'roughly'.

Maybe it's the wine I just drank talking (for the record -- I'm not in the central time zone right now)

Sloanasaurus said...

Althouse said:

The public problem is that a woman is being prosecuted for providing a service that a man bought and thinks he's only accountable for privately. Think about it. She's supposed to go to prison, while he sits in Congress. If it's a crime, they are partners in crime.

This may be true. However, it is also probably true that the woman pledged to keep her clients names secret. Now she is releasing the names to save her own skin.

Therefore, the madame is no victim of David Vitter. Instead, David Vitter is a victim of the madame (and likewise Vitter's constitutents and his family are victims of him).

The madame argues that she did nothing illegal and that her escort service was not prostitution. As I understand it, she is releasing the names so that she can get these people to testify to that fact. Still, she is breaking her promise to these people that their names would remain secret. In fact she is breaking this promise under the color of the prosecution against her probably to make money.

Its stupid for a politician to ever trust a madame, but these days you cant even trust a security guard not to snap pics of you while you are taking a leak if money can be made (a la Paris Hilton).

Sloanasaurus said...

Rudy's already having a tough time finding supporters in the South (Fred Flintstone's home turf

Are you still ripping on the South? Isn't it the 21st century?

Luckyoldson said...

if this asshole is such a good christian, why did he have to wait until his name was revealed to confess his "sin" to his contituency and the public at large?

anybody want to take a wild guess?

*and i wonder if giuliani's excited about his support?

Luckyoldson said...

Sloanasaurus said...with a straight face no less: "Are you still ripping on the South? Isn't it the 21st century?"

Have you visited the Creation Museum yet?

Duh.

Luckyoldson said...

sloan...again, with a straight face:

"...However, it is also probably true that the woman pledged to keep her clients names secret."

a prostitute provides a "pledge"...to "keep clients names secret."

is this guy for real?????

Luckyoldson said...

Which God are you people talking about?

Luckyoldson said...

Beth...right on.

Doyle said...

David Vitter is a victim of the madame

There's the party of personal responsibility for you!

Eli Blake said...

sloanasaurus:

That was a comment based on four factors:

1. David Vitter is Rudy's Southern regional chair.

2. Rudy's South Carolina (which the last time I checked, was in the south) campaign director, Thomas Ravenel was busted last month for selling cocaine.

3. Rudy is weaker in the south than in any other part of the country.

4. Fred Thompson is from Tennessee (also a southern state, if my atlas doesn't fail me), and is popular across the south.

If you want to call that ripping on the south, then you can call it that. I call it an observation that this latest problem hurts one of the Presidential candidates in a region where he can least afford any more negative press.

Luckyoldson said...

Ruth Anne Adams said..."I believe politics is a strong aphrodisiac."

i think it's the resulting "power" that brings on the stiffies.

chickenlittle said...

sloanasaurus says "The madame argues that she did nothing illegal and that her escort service was not prostitution."

Can we distinguish between pimping and whoring?
There are three parties involved and Vitter's actual partner in "crime" is not even named or charged yet (unless Palfrey did that herself). So if Vitter goes down shouldn't the woman who actually did the nasty be outed too? Seems hypocritical not too.

blake said...

Eli,

Vitters is on Giuliani's committee while Villaraigosa is on Hillary's. Of course, the media will play up Vitters' scandal while ignoring--studiously ignoring--Villaraigosa's.

reader_iam said...

Vitter's constituents are victims?

Luckyoldson said...

blake,
are you actually comparing someone having an affair...with visiting a prostitute?

willis said...

"whereas a Democrat might just say "I was wrong and I'm sorry" and leave God out of it."

Or the Democrat might drown her, have the court records sealed, and get a free pass from the un-biased media.

Luckyoldson said...

rebel,
are you sharing a trailer with murder?

if so...you're standing too close to the microwave.

Luckyoldson said...

willis,
OH...GOOD ONE!!!

got anything more than 38 years back?

how about newt's wife on her death bed...while he was out dating.

or, hey...how about good ol' livingston bailing out as soon as his "video" was about to hit the stands?

or...wait, have you heard about american hero...guli...announcing his divorce on the T.V....before telling his wife?

pot-kettle-black

toddunctious said...

Why should it matter what his views on prostitution are? If he broke the law, he should pay for it. Consorting with a prostitute is a criminal offence, therefore he should be tried. If there is enough evidence (such as his confession!!) he should be convicted.

His hypocrisy is no reason in and of itself to legalise prostitution. You need to come up with some actual, you know, arguments. They're out there, so make them, and stop hiding behind this pathetic specimen of a Senator.

toddunctious said...

Why should it matter what his views on prostitution are? If he broke the law, he should pay for it. Consorting with a prostitute is a criminal offence, therefore he should be tried. If there is enough evidence (such as his confession!!) he should be convicted.

His hypocrisy is no reason in and of itself to legalise prostitution. You need to come up with some actual, you know, arguments. They're out there, so make them, and stop hiding behind this pathetic specimen of a Senator.

Luckyoldson said...

More good news for the diehard wingnuts here:

Clinton's New Book Set for Sept. 4

Former president Bill Clinton writes about charitable work done by the famous and not-so-famous in a book Knopf will publish Sept. 4. "GIVING: How of Each of Us Can Change the World," will go to press for an announced 750,000 copies.

and it will probably sell out in a week.

Desert Dweller said...

I know it's lazy for me not to research this myself, but is the reason that no charges are being bandied around for Vitter is that the statute of limitations has run out for his crime?

What would the penalty in DC be anyway?

Luckyoldson said...

desert,
i think the only way you can be charged with using a prostitute (in washington, d.c. anyway)...is if you don't have enough crack handy for the mayor and staff.

Sloanasaurus said...

a prostitute provides a "pledge"...to "keep clients names secret."

is this guy for real?????


Typical troll response...

But back to the main point....

I think its a fair question. Should people keep their word? Should we let her off the hook morally for breaking her promise because we disapprove of Vitters conduct (or because we want Vitter to go down). She did it for money and fame. Thats why she released the names. She didn't need to release Vitters name to help her case.

Sloanasaurus said...

There's the party of personal responsibility for you!

Typical troll...

Here is a dilemma. If a guy jawalks and then is hit and killed by a car, and then the driver's car insurance goes up... who is the victim?

sean said...

The commentators who suggest that it's okay for a progressive man to hire a prostitute are complete hypocrites. A major component of the progressive ideology is treating women as people, not sex objects. Hiring a prostitute is incompatible with that ideology.

In practice, most progressive men (Exhibit A: Bill Clinton) apply an extreme madonna/whore dichotomy, whereby some women (e.g., Donna Shalala) are definitely NOT sex objects, and others are nothing but.

Justin said...

Luckyoldson said...

More good news for the diehard wingnuts here:

You type so much, but you say so little.

Luckyoldson said...

Sloanasaurus said..."I think its a fair question. Should people keep their word?"

sloan, is that actually your picture displayed? are you really Napoleon Dynamite?

if not...get out of that house and into the "real world."

prostitutes are not known for their integrity and honesty.

it's vitter who's supposed to be the honorable one.

Luckyoldson said...

justin,
thanks, i appreciate the support.

and what exactly do YOU have to say?

Justin said...

Lucky:

I don't have much to say on this topic. That is why I'm not commenting.

You, however, have nothing to say but continue to spew nonsense.

Luckyoldson said...

sloan says...again...with a straight face:

"Here is a dilemma. If a guy jawalks and then is hit and killed by a car, and then the driver's car insurance goes up... who is the victim?"

are you implying the guy in the car...is the real victim...because his insurance goes up?

c'mon...you can't be this dense.

reader_iam said...

Sloan: Did the people in the insurance plan have an opportunity to vote on whether to include jaywalker in the pool?

Luckyoldson said...

justin,
thanks for the thoroughly objective view of my comments.

*has the thought flashed through your pointy little head...that you could always... just skip mine and go on to the really, really interesting and informative comments of others...you know, like rebel, sloan, murder, fen-fen, pogo...

give it a shot, dude...it won't bother me.

really.

reader_iam said...

Observation:

This thread has been alive all day, but it's only in roughly the last hour that its tone toward other commenters has turned toward the nasty side.

Hmm. Wonder why that is.

Justin said...

reader_iam said...

This thread has been alive all day, but it's only in roughly the last hour that its tone toward other commenters has turned toward the nasty side.

For my part, I would like to apologize to everyone for feeding the troll. Please forgive my lapse in etiquette.

Internet Ronin said...

Hmm. Wonder why that is.

I was wondering the same darn thing.

Internet Ronin said...

Of course, the media will play up Vitters' scandal while ignoring--studiously ignoring--Villaraigosa's.

AFAIK, not in Los Angeles they aren't, and that's where he matters. Vitters matters in two places: Louisiana & Washington, D.C. BTW, Mickey Kaus has been following this story.

Too many jims said...

Sloanasaurus said... However, it is also probably true that the woman pledged to keep her clients names secret.

Not knowing anything about the relationship between a john and a madame, I'd have to rely on the experiences of others. I'll take your word for it.

Mark Daniels said...

Ann:
You make an excellent point here. The last I checked, paying a prostitute is a criminal act.

The senator may well be forgiven by God and his wife. But I point to the Biblical example of King David who, though forgiven for murder and adultery, nonetheless had to deal with grim consequences for his actions.

More recently, I think of Mehmet Ali Agca, the would-be assassin of Pope John Paul II. Some months after he'd recovered from the near-fatal assault, the Pope visited Agca in prison. There, he forgave the apparently repentant gunman. But that didn't mean that the Pope was obliged to secure Agca's release. In fact, Agca finished serving his sentence.

Only cheap versions of the Biblical concept of grace suggest that once forgiven, there shouldn't be punishments for crimes.

It's deeply disturbing that the
alleged operator of a prostitution ring has been charged with a crime, while so far anyway, one of her alleged high profile customers thinks he can go scott-free by claiming he's repentant and forgiven.

As a pastor I say, "That's great! Now, let's press charges."

Mark Daniels

chickenlittle said...

"The last I checked, paying a prostitute is a criminal act."

Who exactly was the prostitute in this case and why doesn't it matter?

LoafingOaf said...

How come I knew without looking that the Senator was a Republican?

Not just a Republican, but one of those Christianist right wingers. There are an awful lot of people who vote Republican but are sick to death of that wing of the GOP, which acts like they own the party (and maybe they do). If you listen to some of the radio programs by these characters (Laura Igraham's, for instance), they're always on some jihad against this or that "rhino", trying to make them out as Republicans who are too "country club" and focus too much on America being prosperous rather than doing "God's work" by supporting the various right wing social issues (hating gay people, for instance) to put more Christianists into power.

Luckyoldson said...

ohhhhhhh, justin & ronin & reader are upset.

everything was just peachy...and then all of a sudden...

ohhhhhhh, poor babies.

*quit whining and post something or relevance.

Ann Althouse said...

Sloan: "This may be true. However, it is also probably true that the woman pledged to keep her clients names secret. Now she is releasing the names to save her own skin."

Well, that is a contract, but if prostitution is against a crime it's an invalid contract. Picture a murder for hire arrangement, where the hired man is arrested. Tough luck for the guy who made a deal with him.

Mark Daniels said...

Ann:
I included my comments here in a new blog post, where I also linked to a few previous discussions of forgiveness vs. civil and criminal accountability. It's here.

Mark Daniels

Sloanasaurus said...

Well, that is a contract, but if prostitution is against a crime it's an invalid contract. Picture a murder for hire arrangement, where the hired man is arrested. Tough luck for the guy who made a deal with him.

It is different than murder for hire, because in this case she claims that no crime was committed and is in fact releasing the names to help her prove that no crime was committed.

If she is found innocent maybe Vitter can sue. At least Vitter could sue for the money she may ultimately make from releasing the names.

Luckyoldson said...

sloan,
prostitution is "illegal" in washington, d.c.

what is it you don't understand?

Revenant said...

Shelter? He's publicly claiming God's forgiveness to insulate himself from criticism.

Shelter: 3. protection from blame, incrimination, etc.

So yes, Doyle, when you use your faith to insulate yourself from criticism, you are taking shelter in your faith. Duh.

And you act as though that's somehow to his credit

No, I didn't.

And as a sitting U.S. Senator he is part of our "ruling class"

You have, as usual, missed the point. Islamism places religious authority in the hands of the state. Saying "God forgives me for hiring a hooker" has absolutely nothing to do with that, even IF the person in question happens to be part of the ruling class (and calling a minority-party Junior Senator from a backwater state "part of the ruling class" is a stretch anyway). It would only veer into theocratic territory if that was the government's reason for not prosecuting him, which it isn't.

Ann Althouse said...

Sloan -- good point. Kind of a Catch-22 though. She's fighting a criminal charge and needs to use the evidence or she'll go to prison.

AllenS said...

Anyone have this woman's telephone number?

Thanks in advance,

peter

LoafingOaf said...

Prostitution has been around forever. Obviously, laws haven't stopped it. Why not try legalizing it? I don't see how it could make things worse.

I'm for legalizing escort agency type prostitution, where I can't actually see any legit basis to have it be illegal in a free country, nad having it illegal makes it more of a public health problem.

But would that make the street walkers go away? I don't think so.

Street walkers around here are pretty grisly looking drug addicts who aren't gonna be working in normal escort agencies. I feel sorry for them, but they are also a huge nuisance and threat to safety, health, and economic development in certain neighborhoods.

I guess that won't go away until we have less poverty and drug addiction, but I'm glad there are cops trying to keep it down as much as they can on the streets, not because I'm for all prositution being illegal, but that sort of street prostitution has many victims.

I'm not sure how that problem would go away if prositution were legal. I guess there can still be loitering laws, but those are hard to write without being overbroad and vague, and hard to enforce. In the high-prostitution neighborhoods of Cleveland it's hard to tell who the street walkers are if you aren't familiar with the areas, which makes it hard for police and also means virtually any woman walking in the area will get johns coming after them even during the daytime. Residents also have prostitutes doing tricks on their property and leaving behind needles and condoms.

So, I don't want more of that. But, that's pretty different from the madam in this story.

Eli Blake said...

Yeah, that would be great for his career, suing her (especially since he admits via his statement today that it did, after all, happen.) No guess on whether he'd win the suit but I can certainly tell you (and I've worked on a lot of campaigns) that going after her in civil court would be the most politically tone-deaf thing he could do.

Freder Frederson said...

Well, that is a contract, but if prostitution is against a crime it's an invalid contract. Picture a murder for hire arrangement, where the hired man is arrested. Tough luck for the guy who made a deal with him.

If she is found innocent maybe Vitter can sue. At least Vitter could sue for the money she may ultimately make from releasing the names.


You two are lawyers? One of you a law professor no less?

What exactly is the contract? A promise does not constitute a contract. (Remember consideration from your first day of contracts?) And what exactly would be the grounds for suing the woman? I don't think "she lied to me" or "she broke her promise" is recognized as a tort if there was even a promise not to disclose his number made.

Maybe Simon should weigh in on this.

Maxine Weiss said...

But there are rumors all over the Net that Vittel engaged in far more sleazier activities.

Supposedly he had a "Marquis de Sade" complex. He would ride these girls around piggy-back etc...

XWL: The above isn't illegal? If it involves gratification, it's illegal.

You are not allowed to "gratify" someone for money, period---no matter what it involves. There are many things that come under the umbrella of "gratify".

Can you imagine an upstanding, dignified Senator riding someone piggyback?

Fondly, Maxine

Revenant said...

What exactly is the contract? A promise does not constitute a contract.

What color's the sky on your world? Verbal agreements can be legally binding, and violation of them can be grounds for a suit. It happens all the time -- it is just harder for the plaintiff to prove what the verbal agreement was, that's all. For example, I have a verbal agreement with a landscaper to do some work on my yard for $700. If he does the work and I refuse to pay him, he can sue me even though there was never anything in writing -- he'll just have to satisfy the judge that an agreement had been in place.

Since most escort services offer something along the lines of "discreet, confidential service", I doubt Vitter would have any trouble proving an agreement had been broken.

Anyway, regarding the ethics of Martin's behavior: outing her clients is clearly unethical.

First of all, Martin herself is claiming that no prostitution took place. So if we assume that her story is true, she is deliberately exposing people who have done nothing wrong to false accusations of illegal conduct. That's pretty clearly unethical. On the other hand, if her story *isn't* true then she is not only perjuring herself before the courts and lying to the public, but trying to weasel out of a felony charge by throwing lesser criminals to the wolves. That, too, is clearly unethical.

Even if you're happy to see Vitter suffer (and personally I don't care if he suffers or not), that doesn't change the fact that Martin herself is clearly a sleaze, and guilty both of unethical behavior and of violating the client-provider agreement.

Angela said...

How come I knew without looking that the Senator was a Republican?

Because if it was a Democrat, it wouldn't have made it into print at the Washinton Post.

Luckyoldson said...

Freder Frederson,
it is rather hard to believe sloan is an attorney, but for ann, a professor, to be discussing any possibilities of a lawsuit...is beyond the pale.

*sloan is specifically upset that the prostitute didn't "keep her word."

Luckyoldson said...

rev says: "If he does the work and I refuse to pay him, he can sue me."

true, but he better have "witnesses" to what was said and "agreed" upon,

anybody who depends on strictly "verbalized" agreements is out of their mind.

Maxine Weiss said...

It must be an enforceable contract if the Gov. can collect taxes from the sale.

Eli Blake said...

Some of you are pretty paranoid about what makes it into the media and doesn't.

Several years ago, Dick Morris (then a Clinton campaign advisor) hired a prostitute so he could lick her feet, and that was all over the news during the 1996 Democratic convention. And she wasn't even accused of anything she could go to jail for, she just plain sold the story for money (hint: that's what prostitutes are in business for.)

And it was on every station, on every channel around. During the convention.

So all of you folks that think that the media wouldn't report on this stuff if it involved a Democrat, are full of it.

However, there is a reason why Republicans engaged in sexual scandal is so much of a bigger deal. Many here have already commented on it, but to put it plainly, it's this:

Many of the Republicans who have been caught, have been caught doing things which they have preached against, in fact made a career railing against (and then when in office, doing everything they can to get tough on those who do these things.) And the added ingredient of hypocrisy does give the story some legs.

For example, Barney Frank, who has always championed equal rights for gays, is gay. Nobody cares. But When David Dreier a few years ago turned out to be gay, people made a big stink out of it. And it wasn't because he was a Republican, as much as some on the right would like to believe it was. It was because he'd spent his career fighting against a lot of gay rights legislation.

That's what makes it a big story.

downtownlad said...

Vitter broke the law. He admitted he broke the law.

He needs to be prosecuted and he needs to be imprisoned.

Mark Daniels said...

Eli:
I agree that a story like this would get reported irrespective of the party affiliation of the Senator. But one point: Morris was a Republican political operative. Clinton turned to him as a way of figuring out how to appeal to Republican and independent voters. Morris was hated by Democrats who blamed him that Clinton sought out and listened to his advice. He was hated by Republicans as a turncoat. That made him a vulnerable character. But his story would have been reported no matter his party affiliation.

downtownlad:
Well put.

Mark Daniels

dick said...

Interesting to see the dems on this issue - where were they during the Teddy Kennedy bit. Where were they during the William Jefferson bit. where were they when the Clintons were calling his former squeeze trailer trash. Where were they when Patrick Kennedy was drinking and drugging and driving and got no ticket.

Lovely people, all of them. they forgive or fail to report if it is a democrat and then make it a front page story, misreported in many cases, if it is a republican.

Revenant said...

true, but he better have "witnesses" to what was said and "agreed" upon

You must never have been called up for jury duty.

Even if there are no witnesses besides the plaintiff and the defendant, the court (the judge and/or jury, depending) is still required to determine which of the two parties is probably telling the truth. For example, if I say "the gardener just planted those trees on his own" and the gardener says "he promised me $700", the judge is probably going to believe him, not me, and he's going to find for the plaintiff.

And it is just as obvious that the client-provider relationship in escort services is a confidential one. If a plaintiff says he was promised discrete and confidential service, the judge and jury are going to believe him. What's the alternative -- that a Senator from the Bible Belt voluntarily signed up to end his career as sexy tabloid fodder? Shyeah right.

Revenant said...

Vitter broke the law. He admitted he broke the law. He needs to be prosecuted and he needs to be imprisoned.

That's funny, I thought you were *against* the prosecutions in Lawrence v. Texas. I guess a different standard applies when the people getting prosecuted for sex aren't gay?

Revenant said...

Many of the Republicans who have been caught, have been caught doing things which they have preached against, in fact made a career railing against (and then when in office, doing everything they can to get tough on those who do these things.) And the added ingredient of hypocrisy does give the story some legs.

The problem with that argument is that it tacitly concedes that Democrats aren't really against infidelity, prostitution, or any of the rest of it. After all, if you want to claim that Democrats really think those things are wrong too, then the only difference between a cheating Republican and a cheating Democrat is that the former advocates doing the right thing and the latter doesn't -- both men are hypocrites.

But When David Dreier a few years ago turned out to be gay, people made a big stink out of it. And it wasn't because he was a Republican, as much as some on the right would like to believe it was. It was because he'd spent his career fighting against a lot of gay rights legislation. That's what makes it a big story.

And *that* argument only makes sense if you believe, as Christian fundamentalists do, that homosexuality is a chosen orientation. If, like most scientists (and most gay people, for that matter), you believe that homosexuals are "just born that way", then a gay man who opposes gay rights isn't necessarily a hypocrite at all -- he's just struggling with what is, to him, a severe handicap.

TMink said...

DTL wrote: "Vitter broke the law. He admitted he broke the law. He needs to be prosecuted and he needs to be imprisoned."

I agree with you till you get to prison. He should be treated by the legal system like any other john, if they get jail time, so should he. But he should not get a harsher legal sentence than anyone else.

Now he should be recalled from office as he ran on a moral platform from what I understand. So as a hypocrit, I hope he is retired. Sadly, as he is from Louisiana, he may be made a saint.

But on another matter DTL, why don't you write this way more often? You made a succinct point that moved the discussion along.

There was no hyperbole, not bigotry, no conservative bashing, just a great, cogent point.

You could write this was all the time if you put your mind to it. I hope that you do.

Trey

AlphaLiberal said...

Good point, Ann. The whores and madams are the ones to get busted while the johns walk away.

Perhaps charges should be pressed?

Sloanasaurus said...

prostitution is "illegal" in washington, d.c.

what is it you don't understand?


Are you in grade school? Get real.

Sloanasaurus said...

Lucky said:

it is rather hard to believe sloan is an attorney, but for ann, a professor, to be discussing any possibilities of a lawsuit...is beyond the pale.

Do you ever engage in any thought? I just don't get the constant worthless comments. What grade are you in? Are you bloggin with your Fergie T-shirt on? (my neice says the glitter goes bad after a few years).

peter hoh said...

Aw, I'm late to the party.

Sloan, as for keeping one's word, what do you think Mr. Vitter promised Mrs. Vitter the day they got married?

The problem with partisans (on both sides) is that they want to claim that their fellow partisans' excrement don't stink, or that it doesn't stink nearly as much as that produced by the other guys. It all stinks, no matter who produces it.

Theo Boehm said...

It's acid flashbacks, Sloan. Nothing to be done.

Theo Boehm said...

peter--Sen. 'Pony-Boy' Vitter is a particularly odiferous dogpile.  Of course he's from Louisiana.  I think they used to have "Stinkers Paradise" or something like that on their license plates.

Peter said...

I spent a career wearing a badge and gun. While I was blessed enough to never been on a vice squad, nor a narc, for that matter, I did know far more prostitutes than I would have with a "normal" line of work.
Never trust a hooker's little black book. The skeeziest two rock whore will have the Governor's phone number in her book, a Governor who has never set foot in her state.
Now, Vitter? Maybe, maybe not. The way he's talking it's likely. Just don't instantly believe those books.

blake said...

Internet Ronin,

I'm in L.A. and I found out about Our Mayor's little scandal through Instapundit, who I think got it from Kaus, who in turn got it from Luke Ford who I don't read often but who apparently has been covering the story since January.

Eli,

Sensationalism trumps party, for sure. The media ignored Lewinsky for as long as they could but once they couldn't, it was an embarrassment of excess. This was accompanied by a whole lot of self-flagellation as to whether constantly harping on it was the right thing to do.

Lucky,

I can't believe I'm bothering but, yeah, I'll compare the two adulteries. Even if adultery is not illegal, it is to my eyes the greater sin than a financial transaction. agreed on by two adults. To the extent that I care about either (which is not particularly), I find it odd that I know all about this creepy Rep senator's rumored proclivities and nothing about my own mayor.

Whereas the Times couldn't get enough of the Governator's groping or Fred Thompson's history as a single man.

Luckyoldson said...

blake,
you're out of your mind.

the mayor's exploits have have massive coverage every day in the l.a. times.

are you only reading the sports page?

Luckyoldson said...

sloan, you want a "thought."

here's one for you:

(sloan says - "my neice says the glitter goes bad after a few years")

think about picking up a dictionary.

Luckyoldson said...

dick...the "kennedy thing" was 38 years ago.

Jason said...

All I have to say is that I'm dismayed at the continuing erosion of the Hussy/Client privilege.

Is there nothing sacred anymore?

Luckyoldson said...

oh-oh...

When Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana confessed to “a very serious sin” on Monday night, Debra Jean Palfrey was not about to forgive him. Sin is one thing; but Palfrey believes Vitter — a proponent of the “sanctity of marriage” — should fess up if that sin was a crime as well.

”Why am I the only person being prosecuted?” she told TIME over the phone. “Sen. Vitter should be prosecuted [if he broke the law]”

Roger said...

Perhaps there should be some kind of "hypocrisy crime," not unlike a hate crime, that adds additional penalties for the perp.

As to the sex angle and political party thing: given that sex sells, I don't think anyone is going to suppress a sex scandal when the opportunity arises based solely on political affiliation.

For those of you too young to remember, the Ted Kennedy thing happened at the same time another rather momentous event was taking place: the first moon landing. As it turns out, the Kennedy story got almost as much play.

Revenant said...

Sloan, as for keeping one's word, what do you think Mr. Vitter promised Mrs. Vitter the day they got married?

Has anyone disputed the claim that Vitter behaved in an unethical (and presumably illegal) manner here?

peter hoh said...

Rev, that was a playful jab at Sloan's argument that the madame's responsibility to keep her "pledge" of confidentiality, first put forth in his 2:46 comment.

I couldn't help myself after reading Sloan's 3:32 comment. He wrote:

But back to the main point....

I think its a fair question. Should people keep their word?


Hey, at least Vitter didn't have to put forth the Don Sherwood defense: "I did have sex with that woman, but I didn't strangle her."

Jason said...

Well, Peter hoh...Now you're just setting that virtue bar impossibly high.

LarryK said...

Ann - Re your exchange with Taranto, is it really appropriate to expect a lawmaker to propose to change laws that he/she has broken even if others are going to be prosecuted under similar laws? I recall that the previous AG here in Wisconsin was arrested for drunk driving and threw herself on the mercy of public opinion (it didn't work, and she got booted from office). Should she have proposed eliminating the laws against drunk driving, or suspend enforcing them, even though she wasn't prosecuted and tried to handle it in a manner similar to Vitter? It seems like this is a much more serious matter because, compared with prostitution, drunk driving is obviously less private or "victimless."

Ann Althouse said...

LarryK: My point is restricted to refuting his implicit claim that participating in prostitution is a private religious and family matter. If he gives up that claim, he's entitled to say prostitution should be a crime, I regret my involvement in that crime, and I acknowlege my good fortune in not facing prosecution like so many others who have participated in it.