Should this senator's personal life be a campaign issue?

Sen Tim Hutchinson of Arkansas, Bob Jones U graduate and ordained Baptist minister, first ran for the Senate in 1996 and won in part due to his “family values” platform. However, he ended up divorcing his wife and marrying a woman more than a decade his junior (not as bad as some though, coughStromThurmond). Now, because he campaigned as a family values candidate, should this be made part of his reelection bid? Even though it is his personal life, he originally won because he promised he’d uphold the family, which he didn’t do in his own case. So is it a legitimate issue that attacks his credibility, or a personal affair?

In this case, I would say yes - because he effectively made an issue of it himself.

While I’m a big believer in the don’t-ask-don’t-tell philosophy to a person’s private life, if someone goes around saying things like “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” and then we find out they did, well, they’ve gone and screwed, err, themselves. Effectively they’ve turned their personal life into a measure of their public integrity.

If on the other hand, a politician says “my private life is my business and not for the likes of you to giggle over” and then we find out he’s been getting “personal service” from the office staff, my response is “Doood. You the man!”

He divorced his wife of 29 years and married a cutie-pie from the office named “Randi”, with an “i”?

And you want to know if it’s an “issue”?

I say losing his primary’s too good for him. Shoot the S.O.B.


To some extent the guy is in the same position as Gary Heart on the “Monkey Business.” Hearts told the press, in essence, see if you can catch me. They did.

This guy from south of the Ozarks held himself out as some sort of more-moral-than-thou guy. To mix my illusions, he told us about his wonderful new suit of cloths, that we should wear the same ones, that his were the only cloths to wear and then entered the parade stark, buck naked with his privates flopping in the breeze. We’re supposed to ignore that?

On the other hand, my Congressman, who is sort of an idiot, pulled the same stunt, but he had never held himself out as the very model of a perfect Christian gentleman. In his case the issue was a non-starter.

It’s just fun to point and giggle when the sapper is blown up by his own satchel charge.

He’s a hypocrite. Of course, anyone using it as an issue against him better keep their own personal lives in 100% perfect working order.

I love this bit: *Another headache for Hutchinson is Jim Bob :rolleyes: Duggar, a 36-year-old Republican Baptist gospel singer with 13 children and another on the way. *

13 (+1) kids at 36?? :eek:

Any candidate for public office anywhere, whether he/she makes an issue of it or not is going to have the more embarrassing parts of their private life made public. A divorce and remarriage while in office is not a big deal in my opinion. Unless he/she really left himself/herself wide open in a debate for a great zinger (without rebuttal opportunity), I’d leave it alone.

I believe that “PardonGate” shows us that a leader’s personal life can lead to making wrong decisions in his political life. How a candidate’s personal problems might affect him as a leader in the future is up to the individual voter.

In this particular case, I would imagine that the values of someone who voted for Sen. Hutchinson would cause them to feel negatively toward him after the stated events. Unfortunately, our de facto 2-party system may force him to stay with the incumbent as the lesser of two evils.

Equally unfortunately, I’m lacking a citation for a recent dead campaign winner. If the personal problem of deadness doesn’t interfere, what would?

I guess that I am confused over the definition of “family values”. Are we going by some sort of fundalmentalist religious definition, or by a right-wing conservative definition? Some people may not see a distinction between the two, but I do.

The religious defintion would be: 1 man and 1 woman married in a religious ceremony ‘before God’. It is a marriage where you don’t just stay together for the kids, if something goes wrong, but because you’ll be damned to hell if you divorce. Re-marriage isn’t really an option.

The conservative definition would be: 1 man and 1 woman married in a civil or religious ceremony. Divorce is okay, and so is re-marriage.

I’m keeping gay marriage out of this since it has nothing to do with the OP. Of course if the Senator had gotten re-married to Randy with a “y” than that would have been fair game.

I don’t think it’s necessary for his opponent to make it into an issue. The people who voted for him based on “family values” probably won’t vote for him again. I’d only bring it up if Tim tries to run on family values again.

For the record, Duggar has no shot at winning. He’s just proof that any idiot can get elected to a state rep post.

It should absolutely be used against him. If you are going to use protreptic rhetoric, it is based partly on your strength of character and moral authority.

Aristotle’s Rhetoric, Ch.2 1356a, trans. W. Rhys Roberts.

Hutchinson lacks the moral authority to “uphold the family,” and since this appears to be the linchpin in his rhetoric, it should and must be exploited.


LOL. Unless it wasn’t a joke. In which case, huh?

Sure, it should be used against him All’s fair in love and war.

However, in this post Bill Clinton era, I don’t think the issue will be decisive. Divorce and re-marriage is small potatoes now.

:shrug: It’s not a matter of divorce and remarriage, December. Hell, that was small potatoes before Reagan. It’s a question of whether or not he is a hypocrite, and if so whether his hypocrisy should be considered in his forthcoming campaign.

Blatant hypocrisy is not small potatoes. It’s not the divorce and the second wife that matter, it’s the implicit acknowledgment that he didn’t ever believe his family values message.

minty green and andros, I suppose you would not have supported this conservative pubbie regardless. The question is how many of those who would have voted for him will change their minds. We shall see.

ISTM that this charge of hypocrisy is sometimes a sneaky way to hold Republicans to higher standards than Democrats. Every candidate claims to believe in family values. Even Bill Clinton went on Sixty Minutes with Hillary, where they told the country that they had a good marriage, which they believed in.

I can recall Bubba portraying himself as deeply religious, ostentatiously attending church toting his own personal bible. I do not recall too many Democrats blasting him for hypocrisy.

I take it back. Barney Frank did not claim to support family values. :wink:

I hardly think Clinton made “family values” a central tenet of his campaign. He merely did those defense in light of unnecessary attacks on his character. Sen. Hutchinson made it part of his platform.

A lot of Republicans claim superiority in the “family values” arena, so they themselves are responsible for setting any bar to an unreachable (for some of them) height. If you’re going to set your values up on a pedestal, be careful not to be the one to knock them down.

While it’s purely anecdotal, I do seem to sense a decrease in the number of candidates that campaign primarily on values, so maybe the country is making some progress.

And much to your everlasting chagrin, no doubt, Bill and Hillary Clinton are still married, perhaps due to the personal application of the commitment that Hutchinson apparently thinks only applies to people other than himself. Senator Hutchinson apparently thinks trashing his marriage and his family for the sake of a fetching young aide is perfectly acceptable behavior, despite his public pronouncements to the contrary.

And he did vote to impeach, right?

Oh yeah.