Stumble of the Week

An occasional regular Friday feature.

This one’s too easy, as we watch the resolutely anti-abortion, family-values Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) stumble toward the Rotunda steps and out the Capitol door following revelations that he had urged his mistress to get an abortion. It turns out she wasn’t pregnant. But you can’t be too careful, especially if you have a 100% anti-abortion voting record from the Family Research Council and don’t believe in sex education in our schools.

The mistress was miffed, texting Murphy that “you have zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week.” She should have known better. Since Hester Prynne first sewed on her scarlet letter – or Julius Caesar divorced his irreproachable wife, Pompeia, because “she ought not even to be under suspicion” – these are decisions for men to make. And particularly, pompous political prigs who preach abstinence for women and indulgence for themselves.

Why are we not surprised by the hypocrisy? Remember when the House was busy impeaching Bill Clinton, and Newt Gingrich’s squalid romantic history (“partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country”) came to light? Then Bob Livingston, Gingrich’s designated successor as House Speaker, resigned when his affair came to light. A few years later, his successor, David Vitter, asked forgiveness for patronizing a prostitution ring. Ah, forgiveness. Gingrich is now in Rome where his wife is ambassador to the Vatican. Livingston is a member of the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame. Vitter is a U.S. Senator.

Remember when we believed that character mattered in our political leaders?

James G. Blaine

About James G. Blaine

Most of us undervalue what seem our tiny contributions to our communities and the world. As a result, we feel powerless, even victimized. But, like the butterfly effect in science, the lives we lead with our families, in our communities, and at work – all the so-called little things we do – collectively change the world. As I grow older, my ambition grows more modest but not less important: to participate fully and to contribute what I can. That’s my goal with this blog.