Souder: Batting .500 in Hypocrisy

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Credit Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) for not being a total hypocrite.

On Tuesday morning, he announced he is resigning from the House because he had “a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff.” He noted that he had “sinned against God, my wife, and my family.” Souder has been a fierce opponent of gay marriage. On his website, he notes,

I believe that Congress must fight to uphold the traditional values that undergird the strength of our nation. The family plays a fundamental role in our society. Studies consistently demonstrate that it is best for a child to have a mother and father, and I am committed to preserving traditional marriage, the union of one man and one woman.

And he refers to gay marriage as an “assault on American values.” Here was a fellow who was committed to preventing gay and lesbian Americans from enjoying the rights and protections of marriage, while he was disregarding his own. Could it be that the gay “assault” on marriage weakened his own marital bonds? Anyone on the right want to argue Souder is a victim?

This is a classic example of GOP hypocrisy: professing love of “traditional” family values, while screwing around. Nothing unusual here, move along—though Souder may deserve extra credit for having taped with his staffer/lover a video praising his advocacy of abstinence education. (In the video, she tells him, “You’ve been a longtime advocate for abstinence education and in 2006 you had your staff conduct a report entitled ‘Abstinence and its Critics’ which discredits many claims purveyed by those who oppose abstinence education.”)

But there is a slight twist in the Souder tale. As soon as news of his affair broke, some Twitterers were tweeting that Souder must have voted for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. But Souder, who was elected to the House in 1994, didn’t. In fact, in November 1998, he argued against impeaching Clinton. He said that his fellow House Republicans should not proceed with impeachment unless they could assemble a case involving more than sex-and-perjury allegations. And then Souder stuck to his guns and was one of five House Republicans to vote against the three articles of impeachment, saying that he believed that Clinton had perjured himself during the Monica Lewinsky investigation but that this did not merit impeachment.

So when Souder says in his resignation announcement, “In the poisonous environment of Washington, D.C., any personal failing is seized upon, often twisted, for political gain,” he’s not being a Johnny-Come-Lately in decrying the politics of petty personal destruction. He was against it during the Clinton days (when a Democratic president was the target), and now he’s against it (when he would be the target). 

Souder only scores one out of two on the hypocrisy scale. For a Republican caught in a sex scandal, that’s pretty good.

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate