American Conservatism is its own shadow. While we are all cognizant of the underbelly of politics and political parties, the dark side of the GOP isn’t just corruption and deceit, it is itself.
The Republican Party has come to represent everything it stands against.
Evangelical Conservatives vote against same-sex benefits and rights but every year one of them is outed as LGBT in a sex scandal. Even the Republicans who are now openly LGBT have voting histories of discrimination. When they aren’t paying underage boys for sex (Mark Foley, Robert Bauman), they are spending taxpayer dollars to travel to Argentina to spend time with their mistress (Mark Sanford).
For a party so obsessed with family values, it seems unusual that such high rankings officials are having extramarital affairs. Republican racists have impregnated their black maids (Strom Thurmond), ‘traditional marriage’ champions have had multiple marriages (Rush Limbaugh) and anti-gay rights ‘paragons’ have been caught soliciting gay sex (Ed Schrock).
The recent Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie scandals are the perfect example of how the Republican Party is becoming increasingly unable to handle its own excess. In Virginia’s former Governor’s case, the indictments and evidence are excellent proof in how the rhetoric of fiscal discipline is often a façade. McDonnell argued extensively for people to ‘spend within their limits’ and the irresponsibility of handouts. However, his wife sent emails asking for loans, gifts, and payments for private benefit because they were ‘broke.’ The real kicker is that when pressured, McDonnell threw his wife under the bus. Those family values, am I right?
Chris Christie, a big man with a supposed big commitment to the people of New Jersey, revealed just how flimsy his commitment is. In what might be the most petty act of political revenge in history, Christie caused an unprecedented traffic congestion of Fort Lee simply out of spite, which had massive ramifications for the city. Once allegations were raised, he threw his staff under the bus and insisted on being oblivious to the ploy, even as new evidence seems to indict him directly.
Everyone has scandals, including Democrats. However, the nature of the Republican Party’s scandals are unique in the sense that they are antithetical to the Party’s supposed values themselves. Now the GOP’s two golden boys, commonly considered to be future presidential candidates, have turned politically radioactive, with half lifes so short their scandals get worse by the week. It seems that the Republican Party has become a fantasy unable to contain the realities of its members. This isn’t the 50’s anymore; advancements in information and communication have made it impossible to maintain the illusion of some commitment to an older, glorified image of the perfect Nuclear Family.