Spank Me, Then Let's Do Lunch

How many hypocritical Republicans can dance on the head of a sex scandal?

In my more subdued moments of delighting in the pathos and adulterous whinings of incalculable greasy right-wing politicians, I oft wonder at the threshold, the limit, if there is some sort of karmic boundary that will eventually snap and recoil and strike them all down on the spot, some sort of grand tsunami of wayward justice that will sweep them all to the great Thai brothel in the sky after one too many gay lovers, meth addictions, adulterous affairs, teen boy fetishes comes to light and the world says, you know what? Enough of you. Back to the primordial slop you go.

It's a fantasy, I know, and an unrealistic one at that, given how there appears to be no mechanism in the reptilian political mind to allow for nuance, no space for notions of responsibility and consequence. It simply doesn't exist.

Really, half the GOP congressman in Washington could admit to a gay affair and the other half to snorting blow off the tailbone of a needy lobbyist/hooker/intern in front of a church on Sunday, and still the party leadership would say, gosh, that's too bad, what a shame, let us now respect the privacy of the families involved at this difficult time and leave them alone and hey by the way, Obama is a socialist tyrant who wants to indoctrinate your babies. Fear him!

So it is we observe the end of the puny political career of California state assemblyman Mike Duvall, R-Riverside County (AKA the dystopian wasteland of Orange County, to you and me), the classic chubby, glad-handing political slug if ever, boasting to a colleague of his rather gross sexual exploits with not one, but two different mistresses -- one allegedly a lobbyist with whom Duvall did regular state business -- on a live microphone he thought was turned off. Ah, technology, will you ever cease to bless us with your copious gifts?

The reaction to Duvall's recorded slop? Pretty much one giant shrug. Sure, he resigned immediately for causing a "distraction." Sure, everyone expressed their pseudo-shock and said the right things about investigations and repercussions and tsk tsk tsk. But even his colleagues stopped short of outright condemnation. And no one anywhere was really the slightest bit surprised by any of it. The truly astonishing thing is how such revelations don't ooze to the surface every single day.

Who by now doesn't see the massive hypocrisy in so many of GOP positions? Who by now hasn't seen the miles-long list of "ethics-based" Republicans who have gladly stuck their fingers into the socket of any power skirt who walks by? Another day, another "family values" Republican praised for his ethical fortitude but who's really about as moral as a cobra at a Mouseketeers reunion.

Of course, in your more cynical and wary heart, you know it's not just the Republicans. Such 'scandal' is merely SOP for Washington, sex and sleaze and hooking up pretty much the name of the game no matter your gender or party affiliation; politicos nailing lobbyists, senators nailing interns, aides nailing publicists, the corridors of power from the mayor's office all the way up to the Big House simply reeking with used condoms and grainy hidden videos and a thousand tubby Mike Duvalls spanking a thousand gold-digging lobbyists who have, it must be said, rather repulsive taste in men.

To imagine Washington as somehow slightly more pure or principled than, say, your average Midwestern frat house during Beer Bong Week is not merely naive, it's downright ignorant. Maybe the real question is why we insist on believing our elected officials are somehow more immune, more upright and just. Is it simply that we like to imagine we're being led by people slightly more thoughtful and wise than ourselves? Willful ignorance, thy name is America.

Of course, it's not merely our doing. The GOP squeezes its own thick layer of hypocrisy over the entire political landscape, making the stink that much more rancid and profound. You don't find many Dems wailing about the need to lock up the homosexuals out of one side of their mouth, while delivering blowjobs to their gay lover with the other. To many keeping score, it ain't really about the deeds themselves; it's all about the hypocrisy.

As the AP reported, Duvall "had received a 100 percent rating from Capitol Resource Institute, a conservative advocacy group, for his votes on legislation considered pro-family during the 2007-08 legislative session." How sweet. And also, you know, repulsive.

It doth bring forth the question, once again and for the millionth time: What does it take? How many politicos must openly mock and betray and spit all over their BS family values shtick before anyone learns anything, before a shift transpires, before a majority of the GOP wakes up and says, "Oh my God, you know what? We've been going about this all wrong."

You already know the answer. The number is infinite. There is no threshold, there is no boundary, because that's simply not how it works. To the GOP, Duvall and his ilk are just more sinners in need of correction and forgiveness, not actually another slimy example of a failed and unfeasible ideology.

It's directly akin to any sort of religious fundamentalist or Bible literalists: There are no failed platforms, only failed followers. There is nothing wrong with the core idea, no matter how childish or untenable it may be. There are only flawed humans, unable to keep their pants on, their desires in check, their ids sealed in concrete. Guilt and shame forever and ever, amen.

So we merely pause for a hiccup of time, and bid farewell to another minor Republican whose name you will forget roughly 36 hours from now, whose lecherous, archetypal deeds will hereby be added the Great Book of Conservative/Religious Hypocrisy and Pitiable Obviousness, a tome far more reliable than any political platform, far larger and more timeless than any Bible.

Duvall's trifling tale will be entered in as yet another of those entirely forgettable, slightly nauseating footnotes, full of spank and sleaze, signifying nothing.

© 2023 San Franciso Chronicle