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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Senator Vitter

Where to begin, where to begin.

Are you familiar with the name Vitter? If not, Vitter is a Louisiana senator who recently admitted that his phone number was found in the so-called black book of the D.C. madam because several years ago he apparently paid for sex with one of the madam's "escorts."

Everyone makes mistakes. But Vitter shot himself in the foot by crying from the mountain tops over the years that the sanctity of marriage and the strength of traditional family "operations" were crucial to the strength and development and character and moral fiber of the United States. He made those positions an integral part of his political personality. And then he went out and hired at least one hooker.

Here's the thing. I don't care what political party Vitter belongs to. It really doesn't matter to me that he's a Republican. Plenty of Democrats have had affairs over the years.

You're going to think I'm being frivolous, but what I'm more curious about is why Vitter paid for it. It.

I know that in theory we all pay for it. Women, as your romantic relationship with a new guy develops from caution to passion, you pay by patiently spending countless hours either listening to him talk about guy things and his job, watching him ignore you (and pretend not to) while you talk, or watching (and pretending not to see) his primate-like qualities, like butt-scratching, "other" scratching, belching, etc. And guys, you pay by patiently spending countless hours listening to her talk about girl things and her job, watching her obsess over "the little stuff" like a hair being out of place or an outfit not being quite right. You both pay by buying him or her gifts, meant to please them, and if you think about it, meant to ingratiate yourself to them.

So I get it. We pay.

But literally paying cash for it? That's a different story. Vitter's not a bad looking guy. Does he really have to pay cash? I notice on old reruns of Cops or in the occasional - lately sort of freqent - news reports about prominent figures getting caught in prostitution stings it's always a decent-looking guy who seems like he'd have game who gets busted.

Why? Seriously, getting a prostitute is not easy. I've heard/seen those guys explain after the fact that they did it because it was easy to arrange - a simple exchange of money for a service.

That's a crock. I don't know that because I've tried to hire a hooker. I haven't. I wouldn't. Aside from that whole loving my wife thing, I'm much too cheap to offer cash for it.

But having covered crime as a reporter, and having met my share of Johns and hookers while lurking in the shadows of cops on the street, I'm telling you hiring such an "employee" ain't that easy. Unless you're in Vegas or something where the prostitutes get all dressed up and trawl the casino floors looking for suckers, you have to go and find them. You have to go to a crappy neighborhood and look for them the same way you might go looking for illegal drugs. You can put your life in jeopardy looking in the wrong place, all for a few dollars and few minutes worth of intimacy. The danger exception might be what Vitter did - hiring a temporary sack friend from an escort service. Even then, you don't know the background of the person coming to meet you at your hotel room, or your office, or wherever. She/he could be a serial killer, who chops up Johns.

Sorry, the jokes about it being easy can't be right. I've seen too much to the contrary.

In the mean time, I hope Vitter gets it together. Whether in the Senate or not, I don't care. He doesn't represent my district. And if the good folks of Louisiana want him to rep their set, more power to 'em. I hope his kids aren't too traumatized. And I hope his wife learns a valuable lesson about the looooooooooooooooong "memory" of videotape - she was caught on tape several years back joking about Bill and Hillary Clinton RE Monica Lewinski that if her husband, Vitter, cheated on her she wouldn't forgive/embrace him, she'd turn into Lorena Bobbitt (the woman who chopped off her allegedly abusive husband's penis) on him - and from here on out takes a "there but for the grace of God" attitude about other people's human shortcomings.

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  • I saw Vitter's press conference. His wife is beautiful!

    Anyway, I don't care that he cheated, or even that he's a hypocrite about it. What bugs me is that he said Clinton wasn't fit to serve cause he cheated. If that's so, then Vitter isn't fit to serve.

    But, what I think gets me most is the fact that this is just being presented as "cheating". Last time I looked it IS a crime to patronize a prostitute. So, why isn't anybody demanded that he resign because he's an admitted criminal??

    Why isn't he being investigate for his illegal activities? He set up the meetings using his private line in his Senate office. He conspired to commit a crime using that phone line. Nobody seems to care about that part. It's just sex, sex, sex.

    By Blogger Jay, at 5:44 PM  

  • I haven't really read or heard all that much about this guy -other than the jokes on Jay Leno, etc - but why did he come forward now and confess at this point in time? If he was so concerned about not embarrassing his wife, why go TOTALLY public then about it? Unless some other politician was trying to do a bit of political blackmail on him or some such like that. I don't tend to get all that radical about the sexual goings-on of people, particularly politicians, unless they are trying to play the "holier than thou" route with people. Otherwise, if folks - male or female - want to dally around with someone besides their spouse, and if that spouse can live with the person, then to me, it should be a private issue between them, not between me and the person messing around. Unless of course, there is some other exchange going on - like state secrets being shared, special gifts paid for by the govt., not the individual, etc.
    Frankly, I think a lot of the shenanigans, especially with Bill and Monica and his needing a legal definition of what constituted sex. An attorney, needing another attorney to define whether or not oral sex was considered to be having sexual relations. Come on now -isn't that question a tad beyond ridiculous?

    By Blogger Jeni, at 5:50 PM  

  • She talked the talk, time to chop the...

    We'll you get the idea.

    By Blogger Wavemancali, at 6:00 PM  

  • I think the excitement and danger is the main draw. It seems the holiest of rollers have the most skeletons in their closet.

    By Blogger Hammer, at 8:59 PM  

  • This is a prime example of why we all need to be more humble in our dealings with others. But for the grace of God go all of us.

    By Blogger GrizzBabe, at 9:43 PM  

  • I disagree that in theory we all pay for it. If one considers doing all those things that come part and parcel with a relationship as "paying for it" they are probably with the wrong person.

    Sex for hire is not difficult to find in virtually any city in the world. Cabbies and bellmen have long been the go to guy when you're in a strange city.

    The shame of the whole Vitter affair, and others like it, isn't that he had sex for pay or that he cheated on his wife. That is between him, his wife, and whatever deity in holds sacred. The shame of it is that he broke public trust. He represented himself to be a defender of family, marriage, and morality. He wasn't that person.

    Should elected officials be measured by a different yardstick? I think so. They should conduct their lives exactly the way they represent themselves to their constituents. If they claim to be a "holy joe, then they should damn well walk the walk.

    By Blogger Buffalo, at 11:27 PM  

  • I don't get it. I don't get the paying for it part and I don't get the santimonious holier-than-thou attitude of the hooker loving senator. Ugh.

    I agree with buffalo on the "walk the walk" bit. If you preach it then you should act it. Being part of government is not part of the "those who can do and those who can't teach" game.

    By Blogger Melissa, at 12:17 AM  

  • Well, having grown up in Vegas, I feel the need to defend my hometown.

    Technically(if I could I would put this in italics), prostitution is illegal in Vegas proper, if you head up to the North side you can probably pick up a hooker, but never, and I emphasize, NEVER, will you see one on a Casio floor, or anywhere on the strip really.
    There reason for this, and its the same reason you're unlikely to see gang activity near the strip. The Casinos quite literally OWN Vegas, and they can do whatever the hell they want to on their turf.
    So if you try any illegal activity in a Casino, you're probably going to end up in one of the famous "holding cells" where security will ensure that you "fall down" a few times to learn your lesson.

    After all, we can't have the tourists thinking we're a bunch of criminals, aye?

    Oh, and on a side note, if you drive about forty minutes out of Vegas, you'll come to a small town named Purump(could be off on the spelling).
    There prostitution is legal, and you may pick and chose which whore house you wish to frequent. They usually hand you a menu, and serve you a free drink while you decide what to order.
    They even give frequent customers a discount!

    Err, um, I mean, so I was told...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:10 AM  

  • I'm not necessarily advocating prostitution, but I could care less if people pay for sex. But if its illegal, and you're going to be hypocrite about it in your public life and how you vote, than you should reap what you sow.

    Picking up someone at a bar inherently does have the same risk. I've never solicited a prostitute, but I think the parallels are theoretically there.

    By Blogger Evil Spock, at 9:51 AM  

  • The problem here is not what he did; it’s the fact that he yaps so much about “family” values. From my observation he is just another sycophant of "evangelical right", basically afraid to deal with their own "self governance". It is apparent that they miss the overall concept that Jesus was trying to communicate, that being spiritual rebirth and repentance, all directed towards "self". I have found in my observations, that those who focus on governing everyone else's lives, lack self governance and are afraid to deal with the own wretchedness. This Senator is a case in point.

    By Anonymous DJ Black Adam, at 10:46 AM  

  • Hmmm...the only explanation I can come up with is that if Vitter had chosen someone he knew, there would always be the possibility of "kiss and tell" getting his ass later. Then again, I suppose he had that happen anyway.

    Anonymity is the benefit to paying for the service, I suppose - and not having a "Fatal Attraction" situation pop up. At least it decreases the chances of it...

    By Blogger Tiggerlane, at 1:52 PM  

  • Or maybe his wife isn't as freaky deaky as he'd like.

    By Blogger Kevin, at 3:41 PM  

  • He should have just gone to Las Vegas like you said... Maybe you should write him a letter suggesting this. Because what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. :)

    By Blogger Erica AP, at 4:12 PM  

  • Wow, James. Two posts in a row about whether to pay or not.

    By Blogger The Sarcasticynic, at 9:07 PM  

  • There always seems to be a lot of paid sex in politics, for reasons I can't explain. I used to think it was the lobbyists, but it's not just them. You tell me. It seems to go with the Power.

    By Blogger The CEO, at 1:50 AM  

  • I wish we could be politicians, then all the people who deserve to get great rewards coming to them would truly be looked after.
    It seems that people in power, even sports people, keep getting themselves in hot waters..why do they do it? I think it is to "be noticed"..sadly.

    By Blogger Cazzie!!!, at 4:58 AM  

  • Some men like protitutes because they can pay them to do things thier wives won't/can't do - and sometimes it's easier to just pay up front and get it over with. No dating and movies....just straight "It". : )

    By Blogger Angie, at 11:25 AM  

  • I hadn't heard about the clip of Wendy Vitter promising to emulate Lorena Bobbitt, but when I saw her standing next to him in a recent news conference, looking utterly disgusted, I wondered how long it would take her to bail.

    I think the hypocrisy is even more distasteful than the crime.

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, at 2:23 PM  

  • "I don't pay them for sex; I pay them to leave."

    - Charlie Sheen

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:49 PM  

  • I'm sure this was covered: he was paying for something most won't give for free. Or at least his wife wouldn't.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:15 PM  

  • Sometimes, I think they do it just because they can. It has nothing to do with their spouse being ugly, pretty, stunning, whatever. They just do it because they can.

    By Blogger Claudia, at 11:04 PM  

  • clearly, you don't understand the mind of a sex addict. no worries, since you really don't want to know what going on in there... unless you'd like to report about it. then you'd need to learn about what makes 'em tick.

    and i like to think that love rules over the whole "pay for it" notion. i can be a hopeless romantic when it fits my needs.

    By Blogger minijonb, at 11:56 AM  

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