Republicans Aren’t Hypocrites. Try “Old-Fashioned Sexists”.

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, May 9, 2013 9:21 EDT
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Hiding that wedding ring in between bouts of restricting birth control access is a straight man’s god-given right.

Via Roy, who reads National Review Online so the rest of us don’t have to, has an amusing post up about their reaction to Mark Sanford winning in South Carolina. Times like these tend to reveal the deep insecurity at the heart of modern conservatism. Stronger assholes would blow right past liberal accusations of hypocrisy aimed at those who want to pass laws controlling the sexual behavior of the rest of us while rewarding an obnoxious adulterer with a congressional seat. But no, they have to come up with a bunch of rationalizations that are rather boring in their transparency.

Or, that’s Jonah Goldberg’s role, anyway. What I thought was interesting about Roy’s post is that he found in the mix a true believer, some poor woman who actually seems to think that “family values” is a meaningful phrase and not just a dog whistle for endorsing straight male dominance. Hilary Towers writes:

Once upon a time in this country

Right off the bat you know that she’s not actually referring to the real past, but telling a fairy tale about an imagined past that never was.

Once upon a time in this country, moral integrity, emotional (and even spiritual) maturity, and a servant’s heart were considered important characteristics of public leaders. In Mark Sanford we find a case study in how far removed we’re becoming from that standard. When did abandoning one’s spouse and children for an extramarital affair become compatible with conservativism? Apologies are meaningless when they are followed by more of the same. Sanford describes himself as “one imperfect man saved by God’s grace.” But the problem with this win (and here is who South Carolina voters could have elected if they had put values first) isn’t that Sanford isn’t perfect. Marriage is hard, and every spouse has virtues and vices — defects of character with which they will struggle throughout their married lives. But marriages don’t “fall apart” as a result of falling in love with another person; they are all too often destroyed from within by a self-love that transcends marital bonds and spills over into every aspect of one’s existence. It is time for conservatives to publicly recognize the widespread phenomenon of spousal abandonment, and the system of “family law” that supports it, for what they both are — a national scandal.

She seems to actually believe this “family values” and “traditional marriage” horseshit conservatives pump out!

No, seriously, she is really concerned about this crap.

Look, I’ll give it to you straight: Republicans are absolutely, 100% hypocrites if you take their blather about marriage and family at face value. But you’re not supposed to take it at face value. We all understand, or most of us not named “Hilary Towers” do, that “marriage” and “family” are all code words the right uses to mean good, old-fashioned gay-bashing, lady-controlling, child-abusing patriarchy. Straight white men get a behavior exemption from their moralism and god-bothering, as long as they make sure to repeat the pious bullshit that is used strictly to justify stripping women of reproductive rights, stifling gay rights, and treating children like property instead of full human beings in their own right. Taking a mistress is not in violation of their actual, pro-patriarchy values. In fact, nothing says you’re a powerful man who runs things like being able to fuck whoever you want, regardless of who it hurts, while making other people’s lives miserable for their own private sexual choices. Even those that are made by us boring people who aren’t causing personal pain and suffering with our choices.

That’s why it’s hilarious to see Republicans try to pull out the various Democratic adulterers to make it “even” somehow. By and large, the Democrats aren’t trying to legally punish everyone else for fucking while reserving the right of hanky-panky for themselves. (There are always exceptions, sadly, but the overall theme of the Democratic party’s policies on sexual rights is, “You kids have fun.”) Liberals toss the word “hypocrite” around a lot regarding these cheatin’ conservatives, because it seems to be the only thing most of the media gives a shit about. But the real issue here is not that conservatives are hypocrites so much as they are trying to reinstall a system where rich straight white guys get to do whatever they want, and everyone else is fucked. Sadly, that’s a conversation people get all bunched up over discussing honestly, so I guess pointing out formal hypocrisy is what we’ve got to go with.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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