The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
The Morning Mendacity
Wednesday, April 27th, 2005
The Nossiter Net is cast  to snare some of  the riper rascalities of the day.  Comments?  editor@nossiter.net
The respected and admired Henry Hyde, Republican of Illinois, is retiring.  The former Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Hyde has long been a stern defender of family values.  A man who by his own confession “strayed from his marriage”, his affair with one Cherie Snodgrass (1) led to the breakup of the family that at least Mr. Snodrass valued. Mr. Hyde was praised for his management of  the House impeachment proceedings against President Clinton.  Mr. Clinton’s crime, it will be recalled, was an affair, though Chairman Hyde actually brought him to book on the technicality of not being strictly truthful with a grand jury.  Of course the grand jury was investigating President Clinton’s affair, but Mr. Hyde has never been one to allow sanctimonious cant, especially his own, to get in the way of duty.

Mr. Hyde’s colleague, the respected and admired House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a stern defender of family values, may soon have to follow his lead.  Mr. DeLay’s many abuses have resulted so far in four admonishments by the House Ethics Committee.
(2) Mr. DeLay’s artful response in changing the membership and rules of the Ethics Committee notwithstanding, his money laundering, illegal campaign contributions, attempted bribery and intimidation of his House colleagues, and other activities of a similar nature will likely lead to his resignation as Leader.  And this is a shame.  In an era of moral decline, a man of faith like Tom DeLay, whose belief in family values is so strong that he funneled $500,000 of campaign contributions to his own wife and daughter, will be sorely missed.

Mr. DeLay’s associate and friend, the respected and admired Ralph Reed, former Christian Coalition leader and a stern defender of family values, may someday take his place.  Now running for Lieutenant Governor in Georgia, Mr. Reed and his association of politicized church-goers helped put George W. Bush in office.  According to Mr. Reed, gambling is a "cancer on the body politic, destroying families, stealing food from the mouths of children, turning wives into widows."
(3) How then did he come to accept $4 million from a tribe of Indian casino operators to mobilize opposition to the putative casinos of a tribe of would-be competitors?(4) Family values begin at home, and now that Mr. Reed’s lucrative former client, Enron, is no more...

Which brings us to the respected and admired Justice Antonin Scalia, a stern defender of family values.  His fulminations against the judicial activism and constitutional hermeneutics of others never prevent him from engaging in judicial activism and constitutional hermeneutics of his own, as Adam Cohen has written.
(5) His super-fine ability to discriminate between subtle shades of right and wrong was proven when he went duck hunting in Louisiana with Vice President Cheney, Mr. Cheney’s treat.  That the Vice President’s executive privilege case was pending before the Supreme Court merely meant, as the Justice averred, that the two talked little on their outing.  Besides, much as he values his own large family, who would begrudge the Justice a little time away on his own?

Hypocrisy, La Rochefoucauld tells us, is the homage that vice pays to virtue.  As perpetrators and abettors of vice, that puts these four stern defenders of family values in a class utterly by themselves.

(1)http://archive.salon.com/news/1998/09/cov_16newsb.html
(2)http://www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=476747
(3)http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,135706,00.html
(4)http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30D15FE345A0C7B8DDDAD0
894DD404482&incamp=archive:search
(5) http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/19/opinion/19tue3.html?

©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2005
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