The difference between Tom DeLay's adultery and that of Newt Gingrich, Mr. DeLay told the New Yorker, "'is that I was no longer committing adultery by that time, the impeachment trial. There's a big difference.' He added, 'Also, I had returned to Christ and repented my sins by that time.'"
Reading the quote, I initially decided to move past it and refrain from comment. This was not because of any sense of moral superiority. Rather, my head was spinning so fast that I couldn't type correctly. However, after a week's respite, the pressure inside my head had built up so much I was sure it would explode.
You have to keep something in mind when reading about the Amazing Battling Adulterers. Tom DeLay was the Republican House Majority Leader before being forced to resign. Newt Gingrich was Republican Speaker of the House before being forced to resign.
It's not like these were two Yooha's, sitting on the back porch, spittin' and swapping tales about who's the biggest adulterer of the womenfolk. (Okay, it is, but that's not the point.) These two fellows were who the Republican Party itself chose to lead them. They are who Republicans wanted to be its face. And apparently another body part.
There's no moral judgment attached here. Why Tom DeLay and Newt Gingrich were both adulterers is their own business. Whether the Amazing Adulteristas were hypocritical when accusing Bill Clinton is a separate matter, as well. Yes, yes, of course, it's hypocritical, but for goodness sake, even Henry Hyde (R-IL), after blasting Clinton, later admitted his own seven-year adulterous affair.
Hypocrisy happens, adultery happens. And sure, some might think you should expect high morals from the party claiming to be the Party of Morals (™ GOP), but honestly that train left the station long ago. Expecting morals from the party whose leaders and advisors include Bill Bennett, Ted Haggard, Mark Foley, Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney, Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay and Henry Hyde is like thinking you're next in line to the British Crown because you drank the King of Beers.
What made Tom DeLay's interview about the Dueling Adultoros so maddeningly bizarre was the sheer, insulting stupidity of it. The sense of "How big an idiot do you take the American Public to be?!"
Thinking that you can make your adultery better than someone else's adultery by the mere basis of timing is like two people jumping from an airplane without parachutes, and thinking you'll be okay because the other guy went splat before you did.
Tom DeLay wasn't claiming extenuating circumstances for his adultery, he was simply saying he'd put his pen back in its holder first. Of course, Mr. Gingrich at least married the woman he was having the affair with, making her his third wife. DeLay apparently just said, "Thank you, ma'am."
Moreover, there's also his "defense" that his adultery was okay because "I had returned to Christ and repented my sins by that time."
Of course, there's no mention as to whether Mr. DeLay also repented to his wife. Perhaps he did, it just wasn't important to mention the Little Woman in his regret. But it's very important. The Lord has to accept repentance -- it's part of the job description, that's what being the Lord is about. No wife has to accept it, however. That's what alimony is about.
"There's a big difference," Tom Delay desperately whines about the Doublemint adulteries. But of course the difference is not only not "big," it's as slim as Delay's conscience.
But that's not surprising. After all, in the same interview, Delay stated that one of his "proudest moments in Congress" was the Teri Schiavo case. This roundly-ridiculed effort of Republicans to intrude into private lives and debase court rulings was an action so despised by the public it was the first step in the GOP's long downfall.
If that's one of Tom Delay's proudest moment's, no wonder he foolishly believes his adultery is okay compared to Newt Gingrich's adultery and that the public will agree.
Stepping back, this is all part of why Americans are leaving the Republican Party in droves and identifying themselves with Democrats by a margin of 15 points. Republicans seem to believe that they can take any action and hold no personal responsibility. (That George Bush ran for President on an "Era of Personal Responsibility" is an irony too massive to ponder.) When your two former-leaders are debating whose adultery is worse, you know your party has lost even the middle ground.
Republican leadership believes can go into an unprovoked war based on lies and not take any responsibility. Watch the polar ice caps melt while ignoring experts in near-unanimity and not take any responsibility. Let the devastated citizens in New Orleans and now Kansas wallow and not take any responsibility.
As long as you repent your sins, the Lord will let you off the hook. And so you can sin again.
Alas, the American Public has shown itself less forgiving. And the Delay-Gingrich Adulterers Road Show limps on.
Follow Robert J. Elisberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RobertElisberg