I was one of those voters who didn't really care who Bill Clinton was shtupping in the 90s. When he got caught with his cigar in Monica Lewinsky (possibly the best non-euphemism ever), I was nearly 21 and was really curious why, as a feminist, I was supposed to be all freaked about a woman my age having consensual sexual relations with an older man. I don't care terribly much about the personal lives of my elected representatives except when the (conservative) positions they take are in stark conflict with their private behavior — and even then, I am voting based on the positions and not whether they, for instance, get blow jobs in the Union Station's men's rooms. There is one exception to this rule for me, and that exception is my Congressman, Jim Moran.Jim Moran votes exactly the way I would want my Congressperson to vote — he's pro-choice, he votes the right way on women's issues, he's decent on economic issues (from my perspective — he's fairly conservative), he's anti-war. But, today, for the 4th time, I cast my ballot for Jim Moran's Republican opponent (who, for once, isn't a rabid anti-abortion freak, thanks NoVa Republicans). Why? Because of his personal life. In June 1999, Mary Moran (née Craig) called Alexandria Police claiming that her husband had hit her. Her husband was, of course, Congressman and former mayor of Alexandria (1985-1990) Jim Moran. Notably, Moran ran for mayor after 2 years as Vice Mayor — a position he was forced to resign as part of a plea deal on bribery charges which, due to his many friends and relationships in the Democratic party, had no effect on his political aspirations or friendships. Mary Moran later refused to testify and divorce papers were filed the next morning instead. Three weeks later, he filed a cross-complaint in their divorce claiming that the marriage broke up over financial problems for which she was supposedly responsible. Yes, when his former wife filed divorce papers because he smacked her around one night, he turned around and blamed the dissolution of the marriage (and, by extension, the argument that precipitated the domestic abuse) on her. It's not the first or the only time Jim Moran's laid his hands on someone in anger. In 1995, he shoved Randy Cunningham in the House cloakroom (granted, Cunningham is an asshole, but still) and in 2000, he manhandled an 8-year-old African-American boy that was looking at his car. And let's not talk about the time he got caught with a $25,000 interest-free loan from a pharmaceutical company lobbyist, or said "the Jews" were the reason we went into Iraq. He is, quite frankly, an embarrassment to the Democrat establishment, which nonetheless clutches him to their bosom because he's their guy, a member of their party and, thus, not subject to the standards to which we, as Democrats, would certainly hold a Republican challenger. Jim Moran is a wife-smacking, bribe-taking, black child-shaking anti-Semite that has earned the protection of the local Democratic party as well as many prominent, national Democratic women like Donna Brazile and Patricia Ireland in exchange for voting the "right" way. He gets to be the antithesis of a feminist and to live his personal life in opposition to every supposed ideal of the Democratic party because he'd never vote for a ban on partial-birth abortion or a Constitutional amendment on same sex marriage. Well, great. This "my guy because he's my party" bullshit that I decried yesterday when it came wrapped in the form of National Review Online editor Katherine Jean Lopez is equally abhorrent when practiced by people that I agree with politically and even admire. And if this year, with the Democrats poised to strengthen their majority in the House isn't the year that the feminists — let alone the women — of the Democratic Party are going to be willing to dump this guy (and the other guys like him) or support a primary opponent, then when will it be the year? Why does he get a pass for wife beating — because of Roe v. Wade? Fuck that. Roe isn't getting overturned by a House member, and I'm not voting for a guy that gets away with domestic violence just because he votes for laws to send other men to prison for it. I might find it disturbing that Mark Ellmore's site features a picture of him campaigning with Fred Thompson, but I'm way less disturbed by that then anything Jim Moran's done to women while voting for legislation for us. Related: Moranic Record [National Review] James P. Moran [Fox News] Lawmaker Under Fire For Saying Jews Support Iraq War [CNN] Mark Ellmore for Congress Earlier: Peggy Noonan Has A Battle Of Wits With National Review Wingnut
Although I think this is a valid perspective (and of course every person has to vote according to her conscience and that will entail a different balancing of issues), I have to disagree. I try to vote in a way that I think will maximize the good, and although this guy personally doesn't deserve to have power, prestige, and financial backing, the votes he casts accomplish good things and protect things I care about. Maybe it's cynical or maybe it's just realistic, but I'd rather have someone I personally detest who protects things I think are important than someone who is a "good" person (insofar as that can be separated from the harm they would do voting against things i find valuable) but who will vote in ways that go against my values.