Palfrey’s Back

The DC madam with a novel defense strategy recently had the hold on her client list lifted, and she has already claimed another scalp.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) apologized last night after his telephone number appeared in the phone records of the woman dubbed the “D.C. Madam,” making him the first member of Congress to become ensnared in the high-profile case.

To be clear I don’t have that much problem with the kind of services that Palfrey offered – prosecutors say that the brokered high-end prostitution, Palfrey claims that her employees offered BDSM-style “sex play.” That said, being illegal nearly everywhere and certainly in DC, paying for sex should ding the credibility of anybody whose job it is to write laws. I think in general that it’s silly to criminalize prostitution, but as long as legislators see fit to ban it for the rest of us they have a certain responsibility to respect the ban themselves. Legal “sex play,” bondage etc., really doesn’t bother me at all.

But there’s the rub: far more than for Democrats, Republicans put themselves forward as moral avatars, righteous defenders of the sort of theocratic values that gets their evangelical base warm and flushed. If an equal number of Democrats and Republicans turned up on Palfrey’s list the GOP base would find itself in a far more punishing mood than the Democrats’. I have little doubt that GOP pols will predominate (there were more of them during Palfrey’s time, they had more power and in my experience people who wear their piety on their sleeve are usually overcompensating). But even if they don’t, the devil’s bargain that Republicans made with the evangelical community ensures that the pain will be mostly theirs.

Having no fondness for the GOP or the moral scolds in their base, that situation suits me just fine.

***

Another wrinkle to the story:

Vitter was the first senator to endorse former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani for president and serves as the campaign’s Southern regional chairman.

Sen. Vitter is far from the most embarrassing Giuliani associate in the news lately. Setting aside Giuliani’s comically criminal and incompetent sidekick Bernie Kerik, Steve Benen recently noted that Giuliani’s South Carolina campaign chair was indicted on cocaine charges and Monsignor Alan Placa, an ongoing consultant at Giuliani Partners, has a long history of alleged pedophilia and played an instrumental role in covering up for other abusive priests. It’s like the Legion of Doom in there.






53 replies
  1. 1
    jake says:

    But there’s the rub: far more than for Democrats, Republicans put themselves forward as moral avatars, righteous defenders of the sort of theocratic values that gets their evangelical base warm and flushed.

    But Tim, you have to understand. Dressing up like a school boy and getting a spanking from a woman in a nun’s habit wouldn’t be half as much fun if you didn’t first run around telling everyone else it is wrong, wrong, wrong, to dress up like school boys and get spankings from women in habits.

    A person who makes a big deal out of what consenting adults do together, that person is a bigger perv. than whoever they’re getting hot n’ bothered about.

    Legal “sex play,” bondage etc., really doesn’t bother me at all.

    Of course not, but I seriously doubt De Base will appreciate the nuances, especially after years of careful coaching by their leaders. “Sex play” probably sounds worse to them. “Gettin’ dressed up an’ tied up? Lord Almighty! Ain’t that whut them homasektyewals do?”

  2. 2
    Zifnab says:

    David Vitter Says:

    “This is a real outrage. The Hollywood left is redefining the most basic institution in human history, and our two U.S. Senators won’t do anything about it.

    We need a U.S. Senator who will stand up for Louisiana values, not Massachusetts’s values. I am the only Senate Candidate to coauthor the Federal Marriage Amendment; the only one fighting for its passage. I am the only candidate proposing changes to the senate rules to stop liberal obstructionists from preventing an up or down vote on issues like this, judges, energy, and on and on.”

    ~ hat tip, C&L

    And thus, we have one more reason why you can’t trust Republicans. I do appreciate how he managed to segue his moral family values into liberal obstruction of wingnut judges, energy, and on and on.

    If a Senator can’t keep his pants on around downtown DC, imagine how much head lobbyists are buying off him.

  3. 3
    Andrew says:

    A Giuliani man visiting hookers?

    Whoda thunk it? Was he cross-dressing during the BDSM play?

  4. 4

    So along with Giuliani living with his girlfriend at Gracie Mansion, does this mean Rudy is running for the sexual hypocrite vote?

  5. 5
    Dreggas says:

    Tim F. Says:
    Palfrey claims that her employees offered BDSM-style “sex play.” Being illegal nearly everywhere and certainly in DC, paying for sex should ding the credibility of anybody whose job it is to write laws.

    Actually that’s not entirely true Tim. Now having sex while tied up is illegal, however BDSM “srvices” are not illegal per se. Here in California we have many “Dungeons” and the same goes for several other parts of this country even in such places as Kentucky and elsewhere (I know I attend and DJ one of their conventions). Yes I do believe dungeons are illegal in DC but they are definitely not everywhere else :).

  6. 6
    Chad N. Freude says:

    Dreggas –
    I think you should distinguish between the dungeons you speak of in the post above, which are illegal in DC (and elsewhere I suppose) and the dungeons in which we keep Global War on Etc. detainees, which are legal in DC and Guantánamo.

    Did anyone else catch

    apologized last night after his telephone number appeared in the phone records

    Apparently he’s sorry that his name appeared and had no reason to apologize for anything before that.

  7. 7
    John Cole says:

    Dreggas- Unless you work in law enforcement, you sure seem to know an awful lot about this stuff.

    Not that there is anything wrong with it.

  8. 8
    Chad N. Freude says:

    John, you should read your own blog more often.

  9. 9
    Tim F. says:

    Dreggas, I certainly made the distinction in this post between “sex play” and paid sex.

  10. 10
    tBone says:

    Dreggas – I think you should distinguish between the dungeons you speak of in the post above, which are illegal in DC (and elsewhere I suppose) and the dungeons in which we keep Global War on Etc. detainees, which are legal in DC and Guantánamo.

    Shhhh. We don’t want any terraists to find out the safe word.

  11. 11
    Decided FenceSitter says:

    Dreggas and I form the shall we call it morally liberal commentary.

    Dungeons, per se, are not illegal in DC; heck there’s a very nice club in DC proper (spitting distance to the new stadium which amuses the hell out of me). Openly advertised as well; plus there are generally 3-4 major events a year held inside the borders of DC.

  12. 12
    ThymeZone says:

    The silly, stupid people (the GOP base) are not going to get any of this.

    As for the rest of us … does it behoove us to cackle over the antics and tribulations of the Sex Police?

    The world would be better off if nobody paid any attention, at all to the phone lists of madams. Key word there is “nobody.”

    Eh?

  13. 13
    Zifnab says:

    Dreggas and I form the shall we call it morally liberal commentary.

    So, when you say you’re a Fencesitter, is that your political affiliation or just what you do for fun in your free time?

  14. 14
    RSA says:

    Apparently he’s sorry that his name appeared and had no reason to apologize for anything before that.

    Standard operating procedure. Further, it was de rigeur for Vitter to say that he was simply sparing his wife and family the pain and embarrassment of public disclosure, rather than trying to preserve his political career. I’m sure there’s something in the Bible about that.

    I think that Vitter will take a hit from this, from his base. With the possible help of his political opponents (Democratic as well as Republican): for example, post cards mailed throughout his district, containing only his picture, his affiliation, and the question, “How far can we trust a lying fornicator?”

  15. 15
    jrg says:

    The man already received God’s forgiveness. Do you want him to go on trial or something?

    Face it: the liberal media will not be satisfied until it has an endless loop of his testimony running, and at least $90 million in taxpayer dollars are spent getting to the “bottom” of this.

    We should be focusing on real criminals, like the whore that may or may not have aborted this brave Christian warrior’s love child.

  16. 16
    Comrade Mattski says:

    everybody knows the safe word is “Fluggen-kliggin-kien?”

  17. 17
    don surber says:

    Still want to lecture me on how sex is private?

  18. 18
    Decided FenceSitter says:

    Zifnab Says:

    So, when you say you’re a Fencesitter, is that your political affiliation or just what you do for fun in your free time?

    Please remit one billing address so that I can charge you for the new keyboard that I now need.

    And alas no, I’ve a giver, not a taker. :)

  19. 19
    Chad N. Freude says:

    Still want to lecture me on how sex is private?

    I thought this was about moral judgments by hypocrites who castigate others for what they themselves do. I didn’t realize it was about public sex. Silly me.

  20. 20
    Tim F. says:

    Still want to lecture me on how sex is private?

    I’m not the one calling for hearings or a prosecutor, mister Starr. In fact I am not suggesting that government should do anything at all, other than legalize prostitution so that we can tax it and have OSHA improve their health standards. Just laughing from the sidelines at hypocrisy exposed, and now at your misfiring analogy.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    Dreggas says:

    Decided FenceSitter Says:

    Dungeons, per se, are not illegal in DC; heck there’s a very nice club in DC proper (spitting distance to the new stadium which amuses the hell out of me). Openly advertised as well; plus there are generally 3-4 major events a year held inside the borders of DC.

    I was speaking more of the pro-domme facilities. It’s my understanding from a Pro who used to work in DC that they are pretty uptight in DC and even more so in, of all places, Vegas.

  23. 23
    Dreggas says:

    Chad N. Freude Says:

    Dreggas – I think you should distinguish between the dungeons you speak of in the post above, which are illegal in DC (and elsewhere I suppose) and the dungeons in which we keep Global War on Etc. detainees, which are legal in DC and Guantánamo.

    Ok dungeon in my context means, well, picture a medieval dungeon with modern equipment. X-Frames, crosses, floggers, cuffs, chains. CIA dungeon means something more akin to what one saw in Hostel.

  24. 24
    ThymeZone says:

    Still want to lecture me on how sex is private?

    Yes, we’d prefer it if you’d keep yours private.

  25. 25
    Dreggas says:

    John Cole Says:

    Dreggas- Unless you work in law enforcement, you sure seem to know an awful lot about this stuff.

    Not that there is anything wrong with it.

    Well if your in the alternative lifestyles like the BDSM community you may as well work in law enforcement because you need to know the laws. Especially when it comes to clubs and even pro dungeons/facilities. For example in most states sodomy is still illegal and they include the use of other “implements” so one has to watch out for that.

    It’s also, regardless of consent, against the law to have sex while tied up (it’s considered assault). If you attend a club where people “play” there’s always a risk of getting raided (especially in an election year, go figure) and it pays to know your rights etc.

    Personally I have been in the “scene” for 10+ years, pretty much ever since I got out of High School and came to Cali. I also volunteer to DJ for one of the larger pro/lifestyle conventions that happens here in L.A. as well as in Atlanta and get to talk to people from around the country, especially those who run facilities.

    Over the years I picked up on the laws and am majorly outspoken especially on 2257. Yet another reason I follow politics and the religious reich so closely.

  26. 26
    Dreggas says:

    Decided FenceSitter Says:

    Dreggas and I form the shall we call it morally liberal commentary.

    What do you mean? I have morals…somewhere I think.

  27. 27
    Tsulagi says:

    Steve Benen recently noted that Giuliani’s South Carolina campaign chair was indicted on cocaine charges and Monsignor Alan Placa, an ongoing consultant at Giuliani Partners, has a long history of alleged pedophilia.

    Just imagine the cabinet officers and agency staffing in a cross-dressin Rudy administration. Whoa! Could really be interesting. No doubt some of it you could get a laugh at.

    Some of it you wouldn’t. Like the new co-chair for Rudy’s SC campaign. So Rudy, or rather the law, gets rid of his cocaine snorting spoiled brat SC campaign chair. The new co-decider for his campaign in that state has referred to the NAACP as the National Association of Retarded People. When called on it, in the standard Bush Republican sense of responsibility and accountability he spins it to where he’s the victim. They’re out to lynch him. His words. Real upgrade there, Rudy.

    Yes, vote Republican. Next to national security, their recent record on family values is second to none. Literally.

  28. 28
    RSA says:

    Still want to lecture me on how sex is private?

    I’ll wait for Vitter makes this argument in his own defense.

  29. 29
    Psycheout says:

    Vitter already received forgiveness from his wife and G-d. That should be good enough for anyone.

    It’s amazing how hypocritical liberals are. They say that anything goes and is nobody’s business and then cackle and obsess about it when a politician’s sexual transgressions become public.

    Unless his name is Bill Clinton.

    And I bet the ‘reality-based’ community doesn’t see the hypocrisy. Typical.

  30. 30
    Teak111 says:

    The beauty of xtain thinking is that if you admit sexual trangresion as sin, they forgive you. IOWs, you are saying the Devil made me do it. Clinton took this tact and it looks like the gentleman from Louisiana is doing the same. All is forgiven because we all have the devil in us sometimes that force us to do stupid things. I predict he holds his seat and builds a stronger base as a “former sinner” candidate.

  31. 31
    Andrew says:

    Still want to lecture me on how sex is private?

    Don “Sexiest Man on the Internets” Surber once again confuses sex with prostitution. No wonder he’s a Republican.

  32. 32
    Dreggas says:

    Psycheout Says:

    Vitter already received forgiveness from his wife and G-d. That should be good enough for anyone.

    It’s amazing how hypocritical liberals are. They say that anything goes and is nobody’s business and then cackle and obsess about it when a politician’s sexual transgressions become public.

    Unless his name is Bill Clinton.

    And I bet the ‘reality-based’ community doesn’t see the hypocrisy. Typical.

    No hypocrisy to be had save for the big helping on the right, after all it was the right attacking Clinton but no one on the left is attacking Vitter for getting his freak on, they’re attacking him because he has the nerve to criticize where others put their penises when, from the looks of things, he was dipping his own in a few places.

  33. 33
    Dreggas says:

    Comrade Mattski Says:

    everybody knows the safe word is “Fluggen-kliggin-kien?”

    I knew someone who used “Yo Mistress Mother Fucker WEEEE!”

  34. 34
    Dreggas says:

    Tim F. Says:

    Dreggas, I certainly made the distinction in this post between “sex play” and paid sex.

    I recognize the distinction but in a lot of places even the “play” is illegal especially WRT BDSM. LOL.

  35. 35
    Tsulagi says:

    Vitter already received forgiveness from his wife and G-d.

    Hmm, God now has a hyphenated name? Or was that Vitter received forgiveness from God and his little-d devil appendage?

    Anyway, would be interested in Mrs. T. D.’s Baptists4Brownback’s take on the harlot seeking ways of men she pulls a lever for.

  36. 36
    Jake says:

    For example in most states sodomy is still illegal and they include the use of other “implements” so one has to watch out for that.

    Really? I thought Lawrence v. Texas buggered all the sodomy laws. I’m not saying it’s not still on the books but if cops are busting people for it ya’ll might need to call the ACLU.

  37. 37
    Dreggas says:

    Jake Says:
    Really? I thought Lawrence v. Texas buggered all the sodomy laws. I’m not saying it’s not still on the books but if cops are busting people for it ya’ll might need to call the ACLU.

    They still find ways around it. Sodomy is very broadly defined and even includes, in some places, oral sex.

  38. 38
    Decided FenceSitter says:

    Plus most of what happens in play still falls under assualt, if not battery. Plus Lawrence v. Texas may have tossed it all out; however, who wants to be the one to go to the USSC (especially as it stands now) and be the one to prove that out? Plus, what I carry into DC is at least 3-4 misdeamnors, Class D, the lowest, but still misdeamnors.

    And Dreggas, I’m sure your morals are right there beside mine. Shiny, happy, firm in their convinctions, and totally out of place beside 75-90% of those around us.

  39. 39
    Chad N. Freude says:

    They say that anything goes and is nobody’s business and then cackle and obsess about it when a politician’s sexual transgressions become public.

    I thought this was about moral judgments by hypocrites who castigate others for what they themselves do. I didn’t realize it was about public sex. Silly me.

    But I repeat myself.

  40. 40
    Dreggas says:

    Decided FenceSitter Says:

    Plus most of what happens in play still falls under assualt, if not battery. Plus Lawrence v. Texas may have tossed it all out; however, who wants to be the one to go to the USSC (especially as it stands now) and be the one to prove that out? Plus, what I carry into DC is at least 3-4 misdeamnors, Class D, the lowest, but still misdeamnors.

    It was funny, at the pride festival here in L.A. I was working what they called “Erotic City” which was the “adult” part of pride (IE ID checks etc) and was hanging out with a crew from my local haunt (the dungeon I party at every weekend) and the L.A. Sheriffs were wandering by and saw some guy getting flogged while he was on a cross. One said to the other “Isn’t there some crimse in this?” the other looked at him and said “yeah but is there a victim?” they laughed and wandered off.

    Then again this is So Cal and is, for the most part open.

    And Dreggas, I’m sure your morals are right there beside mine. Shiny, happy, firm in their convinctions, and totally out of place beside 75-90% of those around us.

    Yeah I just joke that I don’t have many, well, I don’t have many left but the few I do have are hard and fast.

  41. 41

    […] to married, upstanding, Xian GOP, men. Surely you see how that follows? Posted by Mona @ 1:40 pm, Filed under: Main « « The Good News You’re Not Hearing About | Main| […]

  42. 42
    Jake says:

    Plus Lawrence v. Texas may have tossed it all out; however, who wants to be the one to go to the USSC (especially as it stands now) and be the one to prove that out?

    I can’t see it getting anywhere near the USSC. Imagine if a state still had a miscenegation law on the books and someone was stupid enough to try to enforce it: “Your honour, Loving v. Virginia. Thanks, ‘bye.”

    Oh well. I’m too busy trying to imagine what gear you have that would get you busted in Decadent City to form a coherent argument, but if I’m wrong that might be something the folks who make the Rand road atlases should add. They’ve got state by state info on gun laws, helmet laws, etc. A break down of places you could get arrested for non-Vanilla sex would be helpful.

    To someone other than myself of course.

    the few I do have are hard and fast.

    Hur.

  43. 43
    The Other Steve says:

    Still want to lecture me on how sex is private?

    It’s interesting. I don’t see any calls for Vitter to resign on Surber’s website.

    What’s up with that? Is he holding a double standard?

  44. 44
    The Other Steve says:

    Wow, I just checked Surber’s blog. My god that guy is a condescending elitist know it all hack.

    In checking his reaction to Scooter, he thinks it’s ok that Bush commuted his sentence.

    His reaction to Vitter. Well, Clinton was worse, and he thinks people who lie under oath should go to jail.

    Oh except for scooter, because, well that’s different. And vitter shouldn’t resign, because, well that’s different.

    and the Democrats are worse.

    He’s twisted his logic so much he can’t even make a pretzel.

  45. 45
    Dreggas says:

    Oh well. I’m too busy trying to imagine what gear you have that would get you busted in Decadent City to form a coherent argument, but if I’m wrong that might be something the folks who make the Rand road atlases should add. They’ve got state by state info on gun laws, helmet laws, etc. A break down of places you could get arrested for non-Vanilla sex would be helpful.

    To someone other than myself of course.

    LOL, actually there are several websites and for a while I ran an online search engine called “KinkFriendly” that provided that info as well as listings for kink friendly/aware professionals.

  46. 46
    ThymeZone says:

    Wow, I just checked Surber’s blog. My god that guy is a condescending elitist know it all hack.

    Don’t you remember when he was one of the Good Old Boys here at BJ? What a fucking ass he was. He gives the expression “full of shit” a whole new meaning.

  47. 47
    Dreggas says:

    Oh and it appears he was going to be outed by Larry Flynt.

  48. 48
    tBone says:

    I’m sure your morals are right there beside mine. Shiny, happy, firm

    the few I do have are hard and fast.

    You have times when your morals are limp and slightly moist, so get off your high horses and just admit it.

  49. 49
    HyperIon says:

    Vitter already received forgiveness from his wife and G-d.

    Hmm, God now has a hyphenated name?

    the appearance of G-d AND Don Surber in the same thread reminds me of my first visits to B-J around Terry Shiavo time. i recall DS chiming in frequently and making little sense then also. i also recall someone of the female persuasion (Krista?) advising him to lose the pic at his website, which was nerdy in the extreme. (he currently has no pic available.)

    and some fellow always typed G-d instead of God. he gave some lame explanation when pressed (see below). then he went away.

    Lame Explanation:
    Any Hebrew name of God is forbidden to erase. From the Torah’s exhortation to destroy idolatry, we learn out the prohibition not to destroy the name of God. (see Deuteronomy 12:3-4)

  50. 50

    […] Vitter is a strong supporter of Rudolph Giuliani, who also knows about the havoc that gay marriage, and just being around gay people, can have on real marriages. Giuliani’s problems with his marriage were probably the result of his association with the gay couple he lived with after he was thrown out of Gracie Mansion by his wife because he was having an affair with another woman. When Vitter was appointed as Giuliani’s Southern Regional Chairman, he said, “It’s very clear to me that he’s not running for president to advance some liberal social agenda” and the contact that he has had with good family men like Vitter already seems to have changed Giuliani’s position on gays. […]

  51. 51

    […] There’s more on Vitter’s little indescretions here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. And as always Memeorandum has all the buzz here. […]

  52. 52
    Jon H says:

    Giuliani’s supporters are like the Republican version of the 7 deadly sins.

    We’ve seen these so far:
    Drugs, Adultery, Sex with kids (of the same sex!)

    What are the other four? I wonder what skeletons will be found in NormPod’s closet?

  53. 53
    The Other Steve says:

    Don’t you remember when he was one of the Good Old Boys here at BJ? What a fucking ass he was. He gives the expression “full of shit” a whole new meaning.

    It’s interesting watching people like that. It’s difficult to understand if they’re just drinking the kool-aid, unwilling to be honest with themselves or what.

    Claiming the Vitter thing doesn’t matter, while at the same time saying Clinton impeachment does matter is more hypocritical than the opposite. The only reason any Democrats are saying Vitter is funny, is because Vitter spent so much time claiming Clinton mattered. If he had said “leave it alone”, Democrats would basically say ‘Well, this is up to his family.’ But clearly back in ’98 when Vitter was making his moral opinion known, it was because of politics rather than any deeply held convictions.

    Although there is still a signifigant difference between going to a prostitute, and having an affair. Namely prostitution is illegal. I don’t know that I believe prostitution should be illegal, but as long as it is the rules should be enforced.

    But it’s possible, Surber is just being a huffing blowhard because he thinks it is good politics, and secretly he’s tearing himself apart trying to maintain 12 conflicting positions at once. Or not.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] There’s more on Vitter’s little indescretions here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. And as always Memeorandum has all the buzz here. […]

  2. […] Vitter is a strong supporter of Rudolph Giuliani, who also knows about the havoc that gay marriage, and just being around gay people, can have on real marriages. Giuliani’s problems with his marriage were probably the result of his association with the gay couple he lived with after he was thrown out of Gracie Mansion by his wife because he was having an affair with another woman. When Vitter was appointed as Giuliani’s Southern Regional Chairman, he said, “It’s very clear to me that he’s not running for president to advance some liberal social agenda” and the contact that he has had with good family men like Vitter already seems to have changed Giuliani’s position on gays. […]

  3. […] to married, upstanding, Xian GOP, men. Surely you see how that follows? Posted by Mona @ 1:40 pm, Filed under: Main « « The Good News You’re Not Hearing About | Main| […]

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