U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s fondness for prostitutes hasn’t stopped him from winning a 100 percent approval rating from a leading “pro-family” Religious Right group.
The Louisiana Republican was one of 29 U.S. senators designated “True Blue” by the Family Research Council (FRC) recently. The designation is given to senators who vote consistently in accordance with the views of the influential Religious Right group.
FRC rated senators based on seven votes. Most of the votes dealt with abortion and related issues, although one focused on gay rights and another was about the ability of advocacy groups to lobby.
FRC President Tony Perkins reported in late January that he had presented the 29 senators and 125 House members who scored 100 percent with “True Blue” Awards. Perkins praised the lawmakers for representing “the best that both parties have to offer in Congress by consistently voting in a pro-family manner.” (Only two Democrats, House members Heath Shuler and Mike McIntyre, both of North Carolina, got the awards.)
Not surprisingly, Perkins never mentioned Vitter’s involvement in a sex scandal. In July, it was reported that Vitter’s phone number had turned up in the records of a Washington, D.C., woman who provided prostitutes, indicating that Vitter had used prostitutes from the service from 1999 to 2001.
Not long after that, a New Orleans brothel owner asserted that Vitter had patronized her facility in the 1990s. The allegations were never confirmed, although a prostitute who was allegedly patronized by Vitter passed a lie-detector test.
Vitter admitted indiscretions and apologized to his Senate colleagues.
In a written statement, he said, “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.”
Since Vitter is a Religious Right ally, the FRC’s Tony Perkins offered a remarkably mild rebuke.
“I can’t and won’t defend David’s behavior, even though he is a friend and a former colleague in the Louisiana legislature,” observed Perkins in his July 11 Washington Update. “I will, however, say that it is refreshing to see someone actually take responsibility for their ‘sin,’ a word we don’t hear used anymore in this city.”
Another senator who has had sex problems recently fell short of getting a 100 percent rating – but only because he missed two votes.
U.S. Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested June 11 at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on suspicion of lewd conduct as part of a police sting to crack down on men soliciting sex in a restroom. Craig originally pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct and paid a fine but has since moved to withdraw that plea.
Craig scored a 71 percent on the FRC scorecard. He would have had a 100 percent rating, but he is listed as missing two votes that took place in early September of 2007. At that time, Craig was in Boise meeting with the governor of Idaho about his legal problems.