Let me explain why U.S. Sen. David Vitter might hate to be publicly associated with Chip Pickering, who did not seek re-election as a Mississippi congressman last time around.Gill goes on to focus a bit on the $5,000 campaign contribution shell game played by the PACs for Vitter, Pickering, and Gov. Barbour, but the most pointed parts of the article are barbs reserved solely for Pickering:
Hold onto your hats, now. If it is possible to draw distinctions between the fornicating phonies of the GOP, Pickering must be rated creepier than Vitter.
All of this brings to mind the most important part of the Pickering scandal for Mississippi Republicans, and the C Street scandals for the national GOP.
Philanderers don't come more unctuous than Pickering, who denounced evil at every turn, received a perfect rating from Focus on the Family and urged then-President George W. Bush to declare 2008 the year of the Bible.
Even a congressman who has embraced hookers in private while embracing the Lord in public might not wish to be dragged down to Pickering's level.
The Republican Party is faced with making a decision between continuing forward as the self-proclaimed "party of moral superiority" or instead turning its focus to fiscal issues. To me, the answer is clear, and ought to be startlingly obvious to those who label themselves "Christian conservatives."
There are certainly fine, upstanding men and women in the Republican Party. For example, Gregg Harper, who took Chip Pickering's seat in Congress, is without a doubt one of the most impressive individuals I've ever met. Working for him as a law student and young lawyer, he taught me the importance of ethics in the practice of law, and how to embody our lawyer's oath every day. I have known few people who come close to him in terms of probity, honesty, and fidelity to moral principles. Gregg is exactly what Pickering falsely held himself out to be.
But here are the problems for the GOP: 1) There aren't many Gregg Harpers; 2) The Bible teaches us that we are all fallen creatures and will sin; and 3) The GOP has no exclusive claim to moral behavior.
In my view, there's no future in the "moral majority" approach to politics. Its leaders will disappoint, and in the long run, substantial damage is done to our country and the citizenry's belief in its leadership. Currently, the GOP is awaiting direction and biding its time by being angry about everything. So which tact will the GOP take, once it finds leadership?