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Peter J. Ognibene Headshot

Daisies for the GOP

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Republicans adhere passionately to their Code of Ethics: Do as I say, not as I do.

So, we need to give them a name. A label. A brand. Something that generically identifies the hypocrisy of these politicians who preach biblical fidelity to the masses, castigate those who veer from the straight-and-narrow but fail to practice in their own lives what they so sanctimoniously preach.

I suggest the acronym DAISI for Do As I Say Impostor.

In his Inferno, Dante went easy on lust. The sins of the flesh earned you a stay in Circle 2 of Hell, just inside the Limbo of Circle 1, the dwelling place of virtuous heathens and unbaptized babies.

The modern equivalent might be riding for eternity in a middle seat in coach. Or imagine spending your end of days amid the multicolored plastic balls, high-pitched screams and cardboard pizza in the House of Chuck E. Cheese.

But hypocrites were something else. Dante placed them across the nether shore of the River of Blood in Circle 8 with seducers, pimps, and political schemers who betray the trust of others. Winged demons with razor-like talons and insatiable bloodlust pursued them for eternity.

The Harpies of Dante's imagination would find happy hunting among the GOP's current bunch of Daisies:

Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana), the lovelorn star of Madam Knows Best

Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), he of the wide stance in a narrow stall

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nevada), an equal opportunity employer of his neighbor's wife

And our latest DAISI, Gov. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), ardent advocate of the immigrant

But these Daisies could not exist without enablers.

Take Tom Coburn, a Republican senator from Oklahoma, a budget-slashing conservative and holier-than-thou sort who shares a house with Ensign a short walk from the Capitol. Coburn knew for more than a year that Ensign was cheating on his wife, but the day after Ensign admitted the affair, Coburn brushed off its importance, calling his 51-year-old colleague "a bright young man" who "fessed up and resolved the problem with his family."

Though he was speaking of Sanford, Jon Stewart of The Daily Show perfectly summed up what it means to be a DAISI -- "just another politician with a conservative mind and a liberal penis."