September 3, 2007
The Foes of ‘Family
Values’ Celebrate Larry Craig’s Fall
These are exciting
times for those who despise “family values.”
The resignation of
men’s room sex-seeker Larry Craig from the U.S. Senate doesn’t really
promise the strategic political advantages for Democrats that the media
would like to think it does. Idaho is a solid red state, and Craig’s
replacement – who will be appointed by Republican Gov. Butch Otter –
will quickly become a solid favorite for re-election in 2008.
But if you check
around on left-wing blogs, you’ll find the true celebration concerns the
achievement of having “nailed another Republican hypocrite” on the
question of family values. And this so soon after Louisiana Sen. David
Vitter, another supposed family values Republican, was founded to have
availed himself of some sort of bizarre escort service.
Let’s do a reality
check. What exactly are “family values”? And why do so many on the left
have a problem with them? The left-wing site DemocraticUnderground.com
offers evidence that Craig was a family values guy by way of a list of
positions that show he opposed abortion, gay marriage and health
benefits for gay couples.
This is the sum
total of the family values agenda?
Craig’s page on
OnTheIssues.com reveals him to have been in favor of school vouchers,
school prayer, church-provided social programs and traditional marriage.
And he opposed the use of illegal drugs.
Is this the
family values agenda? Whatever earns you a solid rating from the
Christian Coalition? And if you like to go into public restrooms looking
for sex, does ideological consistency compel you to take the opposite
positions on all of the above?
If we can go back
about 15 years, when someone named Dan Quayle was still on the scene, we
will recall that the term “family values” arose in the nation’s
vocabulary as an alternative to “government values,” and was used at the
time to argue against bureaucrats making decisions about the welfare of
kids that were better made by parents.
Choosing your child’s school was one of the primary examples at the
time. Another was the notion that a social worker, abortionist or judge
should not be deciding on the appropriateness of a 15-year-old’s
abortion instead of the girl’s mother and father, and that government
policies should put the values of the parents ahead of the values of any
The idea was called
“family values” because it stood for the notion that the values of a
family would result in better choices than the values of the government,
and at any rate, the government in all but the most extreme cases had no
business usurping the rights of families to make decisions in accordance
with their own values.
In the years since,
“family values” has become a catch phrase – usually used derisively by
the left – to refer to any and all conservative social positions. Thus,
any time a social conservative gets caught engaging in immoral behavior,
it’s high times for his or her liberal tormenters. Whether it’s William
Bennett’s gambling, Rush Limbaugh’s drug use, David Vitter’s escort girl
or Larry Craig’s men’s room shenanigans, nothing beats a promoter of
“family values” who is caught engaging in anything but.
Each time one of
these conservative figures takes a fall, the left reveals something
about itself in the course of its celebration. It’s much easier, of
course, to call someone a hypocrite than to actually attack the values
the hypocrite was espousing. If a man stands up for good things, but
does bad things, does that prove that the good things he espoused really
weren’t so good? Or does it merely prove that most people fall short of
the high standards to which we would like to aspire? And if that’s the
case, isn’t it better still to aspire to high standards, even if you
fall short of them?
Larry Craig stood
for the right things and did the wrong things. Those who take pleasure
in having “nailed” him for his hypocrisy are most likely relieved
because they don’t want to live according to high moral standards – and
if there’s one less qualified person to tell them they should, then life
without a moral compass becomes that much easier.
This is why
hypocrisy is one of the left’s favorite charges. It’s one they never
have to deal with. You can’t be a hypocrite if you don’t espouse any
moral standards to begin with.
© 2007 North Star Writers
Group. May not be republished without permission.
Click here to talk to our writers and
editors about this column and others in our discussion forum.
To e-mail feedback about this column,
click here. If you enjoy this writer's
work, please contact your local newspapers editors and ask them to carry
This is Column # DC106.
Request permission to publish here.