One of the things I hate about Larry Craig-like cases is that they are used to knock the ideals to which the relevant flawed human being subscribes but could not quite uphold-as if failing to live up to something means that something is wrong. Whatever you think of gay marriage, Craig’s alleged personal failure is not necessarily an expression of hypocrisy-he may hold dear ideals that elude him. Peter Wehner makes a similar point:

“Some people see hypocrisy and get upset because people are not living up to moral standards they champion. Others see hypocrisy and get angry because the people who are hypocrites are advocating moral standards. The difference is huge. One cast of mind says that so long as you’re not publicly arguing for a set of moral values, then it’s more acceptable to cross lines and do what you want.

“That’s why Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine, wants to expose only ‘pro-family values’ Republicans. His deeper purpose is destroy standards when it comes to sexual conduct; he thinks that’s a good way to achieve that end – and if exposing conservative Republicans as hypocrites will advance that end, so much the better. His goal is that revealing human failings will result in people lowering their standards – or at least make public figures more reticent to speak out on matters of conduct and character.

“Here’s an analogy that bears on this point: Thomas Jefferson wrote the most important words in American history: ‘all men are created equal.’ Jefferson was also a slave owner, which made him a hypocrite. But the fact that Jefferson was living a life that was at odds with his principles doesn’t invalidate and shouldn’t weaken the principle; it only means that we, as fallen creatures, need to strive harder to live up to what we know to be right.”

I feel sorry for Craig. Poor guy. One could argue that the GOP’s prompt action against Craig is a reaction to the GOP’s forbearing attitude towards Rep. Foley. But Craig did plead guilty and his party is trying to reestablish its bona fides as the family party.