Chutzpah Watch

CHUTZPAH WATCH…. It’s wrong when members of Congress commit adultery. It’s even worse when the lawmaker is a “family-values” conservative Republican. But one of the more remarkable details of Rep. Mark Souder’s (R-Ind.) sex scandal makes his story one for the books.

According to Fox News, Souder’s adultery was as a result of an affair with Tracy Jackson, a part-time aide. That wouldn’t be especially interesting, except for the video in which Tracy Jackson interviews Mark Souder in November 2009 about his years of work in support of abstinence education.

Why “The Daily Show” always seems to be on a break when these stories come to public light I’ll never know.

On a related note, Souder’s resignation announcement — which, for some reason, was issued in all caps — included a few odd nuggets. The conservative lawmaker complained, for example, that he does not “have any sort of ‘normal’ life.” I have no idea why he’s telling us this.

The statement also lamented the “poisonous environment” of D.C. politics, in which “any personal failing is seized upon, often twisted, for political gain.”

I see. Mark Souder has spent 16 years on his moral high horse, condemning those whose “values” and “lifestyles” he finds offensive. We then find out that he cheated on his wife with an aide to whom he boasted about his support for abstinence programs.

But the problem is with Washington’s “poisonous environment” that makes it tough for a guy like Souder to get away with misconduct committed by guys like Souder?

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.