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For Redemption, Tiger Woods Should Become a Republican

January 7, 2010

Fox News anchor Brit Hume is rightly being mocked for suggesting that the road to redemption for a philandering Tiger Woods begins with his conversion to Christianity. But Hume's on-air evangelical fervor doesn't merely show his religious bigotry in general or ignorance towards Buddhists in particular. It also won't work, at least not with his viewers. As Gary Hart and Jim McGreevey among other Democrats learned, being a Christian isn't enough to resurrect a reputation and return to the public stage. For that, as Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Mark Sanford, John Ensign and David Vitter would attest, you need to be a Republican.
For his part, Hume offered the disgraced golfer the necessary but not sufficient condition to be redeemed in the eyes of conservative America. "Tiger," Hume implored, "turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world." He reiterated the formula to his colleague Bill O'Reilly a day later:

"I think that Jesus Christ offers Tiger Woods something that Tiger Woods badly needs."

But as the Party's recent history shows, Tiger Woods needs GOP even more than G-O-D.
Take, for example, Newt Gingrich. Now considered a potential frontrunner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, the thrice-married former Speaker of the House was an adulterer of legendary proportions. Newt informed his first wife that he wanted a divorce as she lay in a hospital bed battling cancer. Gingrich's second wife swap came after a long affair with Congressional staffer Calista Bisek. Having confessed his sins to and an apparent blessing from James Dobson in 2007, Gingrich this spring converted to Catholicism just in time to criticize Barack Obama's speech at Notre Dame. By then, Republicans and Meet the Press had long ago accepted his repentance:

"There are times that I have fallen short of my own standards. There's certainly times when I've fallen short of God's standards."

Of course, when it comes to the three-peat among Republican Catholics, Rudy Giuliani is the poster child. Giuliani split from wife number two while mayor of New York City, living for a time with gay friends. Despite that and his "Tryst Fund" scandal with dog dissector mistress turned wife Judith Nathan, Rudy can still be seen on your TV screen bashing President Obama. And thanks to his high-profile campaign to prevent his friends and former roommates from marrying, Giuliani continues to thrive in Republican circles despite his past admission:

"I pray like a lawyer. I try to make a deal - get me out of this jam, and I'll start going back to church."

Meanwhile in South Carolina, Governor Mark Sanford is hoping to hike the Appalachian Trail from GOP family values icon to Argentina and back. Despite acknowledging that his "soul mate" isn't Jesus but his mistress in Buenos Aires, Sanford survived an impeachment inquiry into his misuse of state funds. Just days after comparing himself to King David, Sanford revealed that remaining in office was all part of God's plan:

"It's in the spirit of making good from bad that I am committing to you and the larger family of South Carolinians to use this experience to both trust God in his larger work of changing me, and from my end, to work to becoming a better and more effective leader."

Nevada Senator and fellow C Streeter John Ensign has also survived against all odds, at least for now. Thanks to the machinations of Oklahoma Senator turned C Street marriage counselor Tom Coburn, Ensign has continued in office despite cheating on his wife with a close family friend who also happened to be the spouse of an employee. Only time will tell if Ensign's "I commented all I was going to comment on that" line will hold up in the face of an ethics inquiry.
Then there's Louisiana's David Vitter. While the Jewish Democratic governor of New York Eliot Spitzer resigned in disgrace after his prostitution scandal, the Christian Republican Vitter still walks the halls of the Senate. The Clinton inquisitor and same-sex marriage opponent ("the most basic institution in human history") apparently has already made amends with the Almighty for "a very serious sin in my past" involving hookers and diapers:

"Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there - with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way."

Whether that's enough for the voters of Louisiana remains to be seen.
This is not to say that a Democratic Tigers Woods could not find forgiveness among Americans. John F. Kennedy's indiscretions were the stuff of legend, but that was in the pre-Gary Hart era of today's Monkey Business media. Bill Clinton has prospered despite the Lewinsky affair. But surviving impeachment may have had as much to do with the hypocrisy of the adulterers like Newt Gingrich, Henry Hyde and Bob Livingston as Clinton's own popularity. As for New Jersey's McGreevey, he was too late to benefit from Larry Craig's wide stance manual.
So Brit Hume needs to amend his scandal survival guidance to Tiger Woods. The key? Kneel both before God and Ronald Reagan.

One comment on “For Redemption, Tiger Woods Should Become a Republican”

  1. "The key? Kneel both before God and Ronald Reagan."
    That would be the divorced draft-dodger Rhonnie Rheagan?


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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