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Wednesday, July 18, 2007
posted by Kyle Hampton | 11:48 AM | permalink
Tom Bevan over at the RCP blog keens in on a portion of Cal Thomas’ piece about Sen. Vitter’s sexual encounters. Thomas makes several points about America’s reaction to sex scandals these days. He also includes this about legislators:
Some in Congress stand up for family values, while they lie down with prostitutes. Their rhetoric may add to the cultural debate, but their behavior nullifies any credibility they might expect to enjoy. Anyone who can't impose morality on himself is unlikely to be successful in legislating it for others.
Thomas is surely correct, and is one of the reasons that I believe that Mitt is the ideal candidate. His personal life is impeccable and his family life matches his rhetoric. As I’ve argued before, the personal behavior of our legislators was one of the reasons that Republicans lost in 2006. Romney represents change on this front and credibility in our elected officials. Bevan, however, takes Thomas’ statement and argues:
Which is precisely why, given that we're all flawed and imperfect human beings, the vast majority of Americans don't want politicians trying to "legislate morality" from Washington DC. - even if such a thing was possible, which it isn't.
Bevan’s argument that legislators are imperfect and so we shouldn’t have our laws reflect morality is just plain wrong. This argument could be used to strike down laws against theft, murder, rape, etc. That our lawmakers are imperfect has little to do with whether the principle is right or wrong. Perhaps immorality among our lawmakers urges us to not re-elect them (although Bill Clinton supporters would disagree with that), but says little about the propriety of the laws they propose. Yet Bevan’s answer is to end legislation dealing with morality. This is plainly wrong.

Bevan goes on to criticize Mitt’s new ad “Oceans” for…uh…well, I’m not sure what for. First, he says that the ad implies that Romney would take legislative action, which Bevan had already denounced. He then criticizes it for not offering a specific proposal, citing John Hinderaker over at Powerline. He finally ends, seemingly confused, by asking what exactly it is that Romney proposes. Criticism that the ad does not offer a specific proposal is fair (although I find it premature). It doesn’t offer any specifics. However, to make the transition from personal morality to legislating morals to Romney’s ad is a devious association. Indeed, trying to associate Romney with Vitter’s personal transgressions is not only insidious, but is clearly wrong when there is another candidate with direct ties.

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Well said. Many of the things Bevan says are reasonable standing alone, but his conclusions have almost no connection to his substance.

Of course, this is the normal approach used in attacks against Romney. They state 2-3 solid facts and then jump to a conclusion that is 15 steps away from the facts they've given. Example: Some Marriott Hotels have in-room porn. Mitt was once on Marriott's board of directors. Therefore, Mitt must not have a problem w/porn.

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