Former GOP California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's terse, apologetic statement that he fathered a child out of wed lock a decade ago is quite a contrast to what's been a standard operating procedure for the GOP's family values -- bible thumping moralists that literally get caught with their pants down. He did not try to duck, dodge, deny, ignore or finger point Democrats, or unnamed political opponents, for his illicit sexual secret. In nearly all cases when the sexual deviancy, profligacy, philandering, abhorrent fetishes, and pedophilia of GOP notables is exposed the word that instantly, and should, come to mind is hypocrisy, with a capital H.
The names of GOP politicians, big and little, who have been caught in illicit sexual trysts fill paragraph after paragraph on Wikipedia. In some cases, the GOP offenders resigned from political office in disgrace (Nevada Senator John Ensign being the latest). In a handful of other cases they were prosecuted for serious sex crimes. But the news of their misdeeds quickly blew over. They were not endlessly pounded by Democrats for their acts. This stands in stark contrast to the virtual crucifixion of Former North Carolina Democratic Senator John Edwards, and for a time top Democratic presidential contender, after the revelation that he had an affair and fathered a child out of it. With Edwards there was even some talk of a criminal prosecution, as a spin-off from the infidelity and out-of-wedlock child fathering.
That kind of finger-pointing won't happen with Schwarzenegger. In fact, he gets a partial pass for his act, because he was exposed during his run for governor as a groper of many women, and he apologized for it. There was also the charge that he allegedly had sex with a 16-year-old when he was 28. The aside on this is that this is yet another case of legal hypocrisy, namely, an example of how a celebrity or celebrated figure with means and connections avoid prison time when they blatantly break the law. If the charge of having sex with a minor is true that would have been statutory rape.
But the pass Schwarzenegger gets on the love child rap is only partial. He was an established figure in the GOP, and at least for a time, eagerly embraced by GOP leaders as a potential national party standard-bearer. Even though his sexual predilections are well-known, Schwarzenegger, it should be remembered, as California governor was every bit the take no prisoner, hard liner, on crime, and punishment, and tried mightily to give the impression that he was a straight up, family guy, who had forsworn his earlier wild and wooly sexual lusts.
This normally could simply be chalked up to the perversity or sleaze of the individual GOP offender, if the GOP had not crafted an entire political morality play out of the party's supposed virtuosity on moral values. The party has repeatedly whipsawed Democrat's for being the loose, anything goes, undermining of family values by touting gay marriage, abortion, and Planned Parenthood. These have become in the GOP hit lexicon code words for the "permissiveness" that then GOP presidential candidate Richard Nixon lambasted Democrats with in 1968. He parlayed that attack into a White House win.
In the years since then, GOP presidents, presidential candidates, and nearly every GOP officer holder, or would be officeholder, used Nixon's morals script to win and hold office, and tar and slander Democrats as apologists for immorality. Despite the bad behavior of legions of GOP officials, the GOP has firmly imprinted family values defenders as its exclusive preserve. It will not give up the morality preserve without a fight.
Schwarzenegger's sexual revelation won't do anything to change or threaten that. He's a private citizen now, and his GOP credentials, always wobbly in the best of times, with the GOP orthodox, is even more tainted with his recent globe-trotting as a green advocate, and his thirst to get back onto the screen, that types him again as an unreconstructed Hollywood player, and Hollywood has always been the GOP's favorite whipping boy as the epitome of decadency and immorality.
Whichever GOP candidate that eventually emerges from the pact in the 2012 presidential scramble to oppose President Obama will still try to rev up Christian fundamentalists, and supposed Tea Party moralists with the standard knock against abortion, gay marriage, and its tout of traditional family values. There will be nothing said about the GOP's warehouse full of sexual skeletons that continue to spill out the doors.
The Schwarzenegger episode will be quickly shunted aside, or if mentioned at all, simply shrugged off as the case of a one-time GOP notable that went sexually awry, and then written off as Schwarzenegger nimbly did as a "private matter." That does not call into question the dubious character of the GOP. That's only called into question, says the GOP, when the sexual miscreant is a Democrat.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour on KTYM Radio Los Angeles streamed on ktym.com podcast on blogtalkradio.com and internet TV broadcast on thehutchinsonreportnews.com
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