POLITICS
08/14/2008 12:43 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Glenn Beck Watch: Spitzer Sex Scandal On Sliding Scale

Eliot Spitzer made it with some whores and CNN's Glenn Beck is incensed -- incensed, I tell you!

BECK: I think it's about time we start making examples out of people like Eliot Spitzer. Scum like him, you know, they think they can get away with this crap, because they do get away with this crap over and over and over again. The last thing we need is now an attorney who we know is dirty, knowing he can break the law and manipulate the system to get what he wants.

If this guy was found guilty, Spitzer should go to jail. He should be stripped of his license to practice law in New York and every place else.

Tonight, here is what you need to know. Unfortunately, we live in today's America. Spitzer is probably going to keep his license. His wife will stay with him for some unknown reason. He'll write a book. He'll make the talk show rounds. He'll get richer. Everybody will forget and everybody will say, "Oh, but he was abused as a kid" or whatever it is.

It's tragic, because Eliot Spitzer didn't just betray his wife and family and put their lives at stake. He betrayed the public trust and put our lives at stake. And for that he deserves no mercy.

Got that? No mercy. This is a pretty firm stand Beck is taking with Spitzer, one that you'd imagine was based on well-founded, core beliefs. The funny thing, though, is with Beck, outrage is measured on a sliding scale. For Spitzer, Democrat, it's time to get a rope. But what happens when the scumbag is a Republican? As it turns out, whatever outrage exists in Beck comes leavened with equivocation, and, ultimately forgiveness. Or so we can divine from the case of Senator David Vitter.

If you recall, back in July of 2007, Senator Vitter became embroiled in the "DC Madam" Scandal, leading to the reveal of a whole colorful career in the whoring arts. Vitter marched himself before the kliegs, shamed wife in tow (dressed in a shame-enhancing leopard print frock, no less), and took some Spitzer-esque shots from the press. And, then, he...didn't resign. And the GOP basically let the matter drop, because there was too much fear that a Democrat might take over Vitter's seat.

Given an opportunity to address the matter on July 17, Beck was already blazing a wishy-washy path to equivocation: "Coming up, one week after admitting to relations with the DC madam's escort service, Senator David Vitter is now denying accusations that he was also escorted in New Orleans. I kind of believe him, and I'll tell you why in just a bit." Beck did cover his bases, adding portentously, "it's hard to see a hooker lover like Vitter as a victim...I'm not without compassion...but you do have to reap what you have sewn." As he progressed into discussion, however, the outrage Beck wielded at Spitzer didn't reveal itself:

BECK: I don't want to be somebody who is throwing rocks at somebody's house here. I believe in forgiveness, and when Bill Clinton got on with Hillary, and he said, you know, we've all made mistakes on that "60 Minutes" interview, I actually had compassion for the guy after he answered the question. It was like, OK, everybody knows what he's saying, just leave him alone.

Months passed, but Beck only grew more mealy-mouthed on the subject of Vitter. On September 5, Beck had a roundtable going with Peter Fenn and Cheri Jacobus. Jacobus was busy writing off the GOP's electoral woes on the backs of sex scandals from Vitter and Mark Foley. Beck had a hard time deciding where he stood, at one point suggesting, "Let's get the dirt bags out of the GOP" only to reverse himself with his next thought: "But -- why -- why the rush to get these guys out?"

As their exchange continued, Beck couldn't bring himself to muster any outrage over Vitter, let alone suggest that an example be made of him, preferring to argue that the GOP's failings arose because they weren't sufficiently conservative:

FENN: Let me ask you a question. You said get rid of him. Would you call for David Vitter to be out?

JACOBUS: If he was arrested and pled guilty to a crime, and then hid it from his leadership, yes, I would.

Here's the thing. Last fall, Republicans learned our lesson. And that's why we don't want -- we want to learn from the mistakes. The voters did. Polling shows that the voters did reject us because of these various ethic scandals.

BECK: Cheri, I've got to tell you, that's -- that's bull crap. I've got to tell you, I want to vote for the Republicans. I'm a conservative. I would just like the Republican Party to join me in conservative land.

Of course, this isn't to say Beck doesn't have a decent argument - he's hardly the first to suggest that the GOP's troubles have arisen out of a betrayal of traditional conservative principles. But given the opportunity to lower the same boom on Vitter as he did on Spitzer, Beck passed, again and again.

Of course, by October 24, any idea of Beck registering even a modicum of ire at Vitter's indiscretions was scotched permanently, as Vitter won Beck's fealty over his vote on the Law Of the Sea Treaty:

BECK: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, led by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, thought it would be fun to rubber-stamp passage of LOST. This is the Law of the Sea Treaty that you're not hearing an awful lot about in the mainstream media. Fortunately, Republican Senator David Vitter exercised his right to have the committee defer consideration. And you fall to your knees and thank God for this guy today.

And so, Beck becomes the first person in America to suggest that falling on one's knees in front of David Vitter was a good idea. Go figure.