The Scandalous Fall of the Modern Conservative Movement

June 2009: South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who called for the ousters of Bill Clinton and Rep. Bob Livingston (R-LA) over their extramarital affairs, admits to a year-long affair with a woman in Buenos Aires after disappearing for a week. No word yet on whether he’ll resign.


June 2009: Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), who called on Clinton to resign and has spoken about the “sanctity of marriage,” admits to an affair with Cynthia Hampton, a staffer and the wife of another Ensign staffer, whom Ensign helped to secure new employment after the affair was discovered.

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THE (SECOND) FAMILY GUYMay 2008: Family values champ Rep. Vito Fossella (R-NY) ends his re-election bid after a drunk driving arrest leads to the revelation that he has had both an affair and a child with another woman.

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July 2007: Double feature! Florida State Rep. Bob Allen, the co-chair of McCain’s 2008 Florida campaign, is arrested for offering an undercover cop $20 for the privilege of performing oral sex on him. He later says he was afraid of becoming a “statistic,” as he thought the black cop was a mugger. Allen previously advocated keeping gay couples from adopting children and applying stiffer penalties for lewd acts. The same month, Glenn Murphy Jr., president of the Young Republican National Federation who advised GOP-ers to use gay marriage as a wedge issue, is accused of trying to perform oral sex on a sleeping 22-year-old man. In 1998, a young man had filed an uncannily similar report against Murphy.


THE HONORABLE FOOT-TAPPER FROM IDAHOAugust 2007: Sen. Larry “Wide Stance” Craig (R-ID) pleads guilty in August 2007 to disorderly conduct for soliciting sex from an undercover cop in a Minneapolis airport bathroom. He refuses to resign, but does not run for re-election.


July 2007: Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), an abstinence-only sex ed advocate, is linked to the D.C. Madam’s high-end escort service. He has not resigned, and plans to seek re-election next year.


April 2007: Randall Tobias, Bush’s Global AIDS Coordinator who spoke out against prostitution (and condom use, for that matter), resigns from the State Department after he is linked to an escort service. He maintained that there was no sex, just massages.

Newscom/Evan F. Sisley/Sipa Press

November 2006: Let’s take a break from the politicians. Ted Haggard, the evangelical pastor who condemned homosexuality regularly, resigns as president of the National Association of Evangelicals after allegations that he took meth and patronized a male prostitute. While he admits to buying meth, he claims he threw it out, and only received a massage from the prostitute. He maintains he is “completely heterosexual”.


October 2006: Current Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons is accused of assaulting a woman in a parking garage by throwing her against a wall and threatening to rape her. She drops criminal charges, citing intimidation by his campaign. She does, however, file a civil suit. In June 2009, Gibbons asks a judge to seal his phone records against her lawyers, something that may also have to do with his ongoing divorce proceedings, in which he’s accused of more affairs.


SEXTING BEFORE SEXTING WAS COOLSeptember 2006: Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), a fierce opponent of child pornography, resigns after it surfaces that he has sent illicit emails to teenage pages.