So much for the so-called party of family values

President Bush’s budget-busting, spendthrift tactics have already robbed the GOP of its claim to the title, "Party of Fiscal Conservancy."

Now the perverse antics of some high-level Bush appointees and his party’s power elite are lifting the cloak of "family values" from the GOP, too.

The "D.C. Madam" scandal is only the latest in a string of stories revealed during the president’s second term showing that the private lives of some of his most powerful appointees bear little resemblance to the Ozzie-and-Harriet-like ideal the party tries to mimic.

Deborah Jeane Palfrey is in court battling charges of running a high-class prostitution ring from her California home. She maintained a 46-pound Rolodex that has already caused the resignation of one State Department potentate and reportedly contains the names of more elite Bush administration officials and Republican Party donors. The first resignation was that of Randall Tobias, who last week fled a top State Department perch. While there, he not only managed foreign-assistance programs but also, according to The New York Times, "ran agencies that required foreign recipients of AIDS assistance to explicitly condemn prostitution, a policy that drew protests from some nations and relief organizations."

As "AIDS czar," Tobias alienated many AIDS-plagued, developing nations by requiring recipients of U.S. foreign aid to sign a pledge against prostitution. Donee nations complained the pledge effectively prevented organizations from befriending sex workers so as to teach them HIV/AIDS prevention. Tobias also promoted faithfulness and abstinence over condom use to prevent AIDS transmission.

Now the joke’s on Tobias, who has the gall to claim his patronage of the D.C. Madam’s women involved "no sex" and that he paid a reported $300 per session for "the gals" (as he put it) to give him massages. Yeah, right: Even in pricy Washington, in my humble opinion, $300 seems like an awful lot for a garden-variety massage. And President Bush is a uniter, not a divider.

Would that the D.C. Madam scandal were the only example of family-unfriendly behavior by powerful GOP Washingtonians. Let’s ignore, for the moment, the congressional page scandal in which disgraced former Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., traded lewd e-mails with young male pages. Let’s ignore, too, the resignation of former Food and Drug Administration appointee — and evangelical Christian gynecologist (whatever that is) — Dr. W. David Hager.

Hager, among many other bizarre acts, urged his female patients to pray for relief from medical conditions. Worse yet, the Nation Magazine reported that Hager’s ex-wife said that while he publicly sermonized and moralized on sexual matters, he repeatedly sodomized her without her consent over a seven-year period.

Let’s focus, instead, on the post-resignation antics of the man Bush appointed to lead the Office of Population Affairs. This office is in charge of doling out almost $300 million worth of contraceptives to low-income women. Yet appointee Eric Keroack once described contraceptives as "demeaning to women." And he came to the Bush administration’s attention due to his management of an affiliation with a string of crisis-pregnancy centers. These are the "centers" that lure pregnant women in by masquerading as women’s health service providers. Instead, they proselytize and show women ultrasound images of fetuses to dissuade them from having abortions.

Keroack resigned abruptly about a month ago, after less than five months in the job, because (as the Boston Globe reported) he was "notified that the state’s Medicaid office had launched an investigation into his private practice."

Turns out, as the Globe reported last month, "Two months before he resigned … Keroack received two formal warnings from the Massachusetts board of medicine ordering him to refrain from prescribing drugs to people who are not his patients and from providing mental health counseling without proper training." Keroack provides yet another example of stellar professionalism and family-friendly behavior.

Don’t get me wrong. Democrats have their famous foibles, too. I still say former President Bill Clinton should have resigned for having oral sex with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office, rather than drag the nation through the trauma of impeachment proceedings. But the lesson of Bush’s GOP and its strange agglomeration of perverse appointed and elected officials is that neither party should ever lay claim to that mantle again.


(Bonnie Erbe is a TV host and columnist. E-mail bonnieerbe(at)


  1. Rob Kezelis

    If they tried to pick people to do a good job, that would be one thing. But it seems as though that the Bush admin aimed for failure. in that, they succeeded.

    It also makes the Dems look even more foolish and powerless.

  2. anthny

    He Tobias might be able to claim the it was not sex, in a Clinton type explaination….
    Since Sex is the most improtant thing for these right-wingnuts to fight, this might be just what WE THE PEOPLE NEED TO GET THESE CROOKS OFF OUR BACKS.

  3. Razor

    Politicians of any flavor seem to possess a common trait that they make the rules so therefore they can break the rules. In short, above the law. The laws of God or of Man. Oaths to office or to Spouses mean nothing to these self serving hipocrits.

  4. kiki

    I was right in tune with this writer until she said Bill Clinton should have resigned rather than drag the nation through impeachment hearings.

    Oh, PULEEZE !!!

    There would have been no proceedings if it weren’t for the holier than thou Newt, Ken Starr and the rest of those GOP jackanapes who wanted to make a name for themselves. Clinton was guilty of letting the little head rule the big head, poor taste, bad timing and poor impulse control. Those who howled for his head on a platter were guilty of far worse offenses.

    I’d take Clinton with all of his foibles in a jumpin’ Jack flash over the madman we have now. I hope the DC Madam spills her guts. Maybe the deluded fools that voted for the “party of family values” will wake up and vote for a Democrat in 2008!

  5. Carl Nemo

    kiki I must say your negative response to Bonnie Erbe’s comment that Clinton should have resigned is “on-the-mark”…!
    As I’ve said in many of my commentaries we see America’s “tabloid brain” at work. Mention wars started on “cooked” intelligence and the general reader goes…zzzzzuh…zzzzzzuh…..zzzzzz I-)

    Just mention SEX in an article and their eyelids pop open and they act as if they’ve just gotten a “hotshot” of adrenalin… :))

    I care not what their sexual proclivites might be just as long as they aren’t using our tax dollars to acquire such favors. If they ran a tight ship with fiscal disclipline; i.e., a U.S. budget that was in the black, a positive trade deficit, and jobs being created in the U.S. without a continual mass exodus, and did not engage this nation in foreign wars based adventurism and opportunistic aggression, then
    what they do “after dark” is their business not mine nor anyone elses as long as it’s not of a criminal nature. If faith-based fundies et. al. are obsessed with their sexual activities and not the serious business of government then all I can say is; you will end up with the government you deserve…! paraphrasing Jefferson

  6. kiki

    Now, THAT would be sweet !!! From your lips to God’s ears !! Anyone who makes it their stated mission to get something named for Ronald Reagan in all 50 states seriously needs to get a life ! ( or a “massage”~Ha! )

    It just FROSTED me Norquist got an airport named for the son-of-a-buck that decertified the Air Traffic Controllers Union !!!

    And to think that “Ronnie” was once president of the Screen Actors Guild…

  7. JoshuasGrandma

    The most deplorable aspect of all this is the hypocrisy. It’s so ironic for all the spouting of Christian faith and values that – if you’ve read your bible – hypocrisy and greed were the only two sins that Jesus himself actually condemned and didn’t forgive- the Pharisees and the moneychangers in the Temple. Everyone else he forgave, even the the adultress he saved from stoning and murderer and thief on the cross. So which two sins most characterize this ‘Christian administration’? And did you see the GOP debate tonight? That was the scariest bunch of pompous corporate red-tied white guys I’ve ever seen. Ready to impose those faith-based beliefs on everybody and raring go to war in the name of the culture of ‘life’

  8. SEAL

    Sex was made a sin by the religious demogods and their prelates as a means to control the masses. In some cultures it was also expanded as a means to enslave women. The tradition is so ingrained in sociaties today it would take generations to change, if it ever can be.

    I was fortunate to be raised in a society free from European religious influence where sex was not a sin but a natural part of nature. Consequently, I view the idea as monumental stupidity.

  9. Cashel Boylo

    Lost In Sex In D.C.
    To the tune of Lost In Rain In Juarez, as recorded by Bob Dylan

    I’m Kindasleazy’s AIDS Ambassador
    In our monumental effort on AIDS in Africa
    The president wished me and my family well
    So ABC News can just go to hell

    Kindasleazy told me to spend fifteen billion bucks
    Surely I’m entitled to cop a few free – lunches
    I’m Deputy Secretary of State for Foreign Aid
    Are you trying to tell me I can’t get laid?

    It’s not sex, it’s transformational diplomacy
    My monumental effort on AIDS in Africy
    Gals came to the condo to give me massage
    No sex involved just a rite of passage

    The president loves me, Condi absolutely loves me
    The gals love me, everybody loves me – for pay
    I’m the first Global AIDS coordinator
    I’m practicing to be the distributator

    I’m returning to private life for a privates reason
    For us Republicans this is getting to be one bad season
    I liked it better when we owned all the game
    A Democrat Congress is an awful pain

    Cashel Boylo

  10. kiki

    Lost in Sex in DC is a total hoot !!! Thanks for the laughs…those lyrics are brilliant!