PEEK

Are Sanford's Deeds Worse Because He's a Republican?

Shouldn't the GOP get hit harder when one of its ranks (yet again) fails to live up to the moral standard it espouses?

Patrick Ruffini, a Republican strategist and blogger, had an interesting item Thursday on the GOP and adultery, and the apparent double-standard when it comes to the major political parties and infidelity.

At the core of the Sanford and Ensign episodes is the cloud of "hypocrisy" that hangs over any Republican who strays from the bonds of their marriage. (Quickly forgetting that all who commit adultery are hypocrites, having taken a solemn vow of marriage.) Because Democrats are perceived as more socially libertine, they get off easier.

This is a structural disadvantage that, on the margins, hurts Republican officeholders, forcing them into resignation or disgrace more easily than their equally adulterous Democratic counterparts.

Simply put, it is a strategic error to sanctify the idea that it's worse when Republicans cheat.

Steve Benen is "blogger in chief" of the popular Washington Monthly online blog, Political Animal. His background includes publishing The Carpetbagger Report, and writing for a variety of publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, and The Guardian. He has also appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," Air America Radio's "Sam Seder Show," and XM Radio's "POTUS '08."
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