It’s common wisdom among Democrats that all these Republican scandals are going to really, really hurt them not on the facts, but because of the inherent hypocrisy they represent.
First, let’s put aside the fact that Democrats can be just as hypocritical. There are plenty of Dems who voted for the Defense of Marriage Act while simultaneously cheating on their wives. Every modern politician does a fair amount of values speak.
But it is fair to say that Republicans have built their brand around these values. It is their story and they are sticking to it. They are the party that preaches, quite literally, family values, abstinence education, traditional marriage and so on. So when these guys get caught with their pants around their ankles, won’t voters see them for the hypocrites that they are?
Maybe. Or maybe not.
Charles Blow in todays’ Times certainly reaches the conclusion that this is a problem for them. That they should worry less about what others are doing in their bedrooms. But the graphic in his column actually reveals something very interesting. It shows that rates of divorce, teen pregnancy and purchases of adult online entertainment are higher, on average, in red states than in blue states. To put it simply, the red staters talk conservative and act liberal and the blue staters talk liberal and act conservative.
But does this mean Republican scandals will present a bigger problem for them than they do for Democrats? Maybe, in fact, the real hypocrites are all those red state voters who preach (and vote for) conservative values but are busy cheating on their wives and downloading porn. One conclusion to draw is that the very fact that they are hypocritical is what makes them so judgemental and that they will condemn the politicians who screw up even as they do the same things. Or perhaps they will just think “There but for the grace of God, at least I don’t have to stand in front of new cameras when my wife catches me cheating.”