By MARC McDONALD
Remember Republican Sen. David "Diaper Dave" Vitter? You know, the hypocritical politician who endured a public scandal in 2007 after being outed for visiting prostitutes?
Well, Vitter is still a sitting senator. And he's running for re-election in November. What's more, he could very well win. A Rasmussen poll currently shows Vitter holding an 18-point lead over his likeliest Democratic opponent, Congressman Charlie Melancon, in Louisiana's race for the U.S. Senate.
And guess what? Vitter is still touting "family values." Indeed, he still sees himself as a paragon of virtue.
While other hypocritical GOP politicians (from Larry Craig to Mark Foley) have been forced from office, Vitter continues to hold his Senate seat. As far as he and his followers are concerned, the past is the past.
As Vitter said in a 2007 statement:
"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 from my wife in confession and marriage counseling."
It's a shame, though, that GOP hypocrites like Vitter were never willing to forgive the sins of other people, like Bill Clinton. (Oh, and the last time I checked, having a mistress isn't illegal, but prostitution is).
Recall that in 1998, Vitter called on Clinton to resign for having an extramarital affair.
You see, "family values" is real important to Vitter. On his official Web site, he claims he is "dedicated to making life better for his young family and all Louisiana families."
I looked real carefully over his site, though, and I didn't see anything that would actually help America's struggling families in any way. All I saw was Vitter's ramblings against abortion and same-sex marriage.
Vitter has no problem presenting himself as a big champion of "family values" (at least as the GOP defines the term).
For example, Vitter has long backed abstinence-only sex education. It's a shame he didn't follow his own advice on this issue.
In 2007, Vitter wrote:
"Abstinence education is a public health strategy focused on risk avoidance that aims to help young people avoid exposure to harm...by teaching teenagers that saving sex until marriage and remaining faithful afterwards is the best choice for health and happiness."
You've gotta love the Republicans. They have no sense of irony. Or shame.
Vitter was also one of the top backers of a failed constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage.
"This is a real outrage," Vitter said in 2004. "The Hollywood left is redefining the most basic institution in human history...We need a U.S. Senator who will stand up for Louisiana values, not Massachusetts's values."
The far-right "Christian" group, the Family Research Council, founded by James Dobson, agrees that Vitter is a family values kind of guy. In 2008, the FRC gave Vitter a 100 percent approval rating, a fact that Vitter loves to tout on his Web site.
However, when it comes to anything remotely resembling actual "family values," Vitter has come up short over the years. Take, for example, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides health care to low-income kids. In 2007, Vitter opposed an increase in funding for the program.
Come November, I hope the voters of Louisiana have the good sense to vote this hypocrite out of office. If you'd like to contribute to the campaign of Vitter's Democratic opponent, Charlie Melancon, go here.