"This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible," Vitter, 46, said in a statement, which his spokesman, Joel DiGrado, confirmed to the Associated Press.
"Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling," Vitter continued. "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."
As Professor Althouse says in response:
Oh, well, if God has forgiven him...
Palfrey can't say God has forgiven her and walk free. In fact, Vitter's statement hurts Palfrey because it strongly implies that Palfrey was doing what she's accused of. Vitter's confession -- intended to move us to mercy -- links him to criminal activity, but only she is facing criminal punishment.
Shouldn't the expiation of Vitter's sins wait until he has introduced a bill that would create a federal right to engage in the business of prostitution? It's not a matter to be resolved within the realm of church and family as long as Palfrey is being prosecuted.
Sing it, sister! Vitter is using that God-talk in order to avoid further embarassing revelations. "This is a private matter," he's saying, almost implying that if you don't take him at his word about God's forgiveness, well, you're some sort of heretic. All right, I will credit him with one thing -- although he used a circumlocution, he admitted that he "sinned." Unlike that pathetic weasel Randall Tobias, forced to resign from the State Department, who claimed he used the services for massages. I mean, come on! It's pretty easy to find a reputable massage therapist these days. If you get caught whoring, get caught whoring, get caught whoring. (I suppose it's barely possible that Tobias is telling the truth, but, if so, he is an idiot, paying what has to be a high rate for a substandard massage.)
I don't think that Vitter ought to be able to sweep this aside with the God-and-family bit. Presumably he supports federal laws making it a serious crime to run a prostitution business in the District of Columbia. If this is a matter of public concern -- so much so that capitalist acts between consenting adults should be legally proscribed with all the force and power the state -- then surely it is a matter of public concern that he chose to partake in such services.
If Vitter wants to be left alone, well, then the prosecution of Deborah Jeane Palfray should be ended post haste, and the laws against prostitution ought to be abolished in the District of Columbia. Heck, Palfray is probably the most honost whore in Washington.
And I cannot resist the urge to point out that this rather neatly vindicates my previously-articulated Secret Fear Theory of politics. Vitter is one of these church-and-family Republicans, so it is hardly surprising that he has patronized prostitutes.
UPDATE: Sullivan digs out this 2000 quotation from Mrs. Senator Vitter: "I'm a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary. If he does something like that, I'm walking away with one thing, and it's not alimony, trust me." Perhaps Senator Vitter has more than just the voters to fear.