Ruth Marcus is right about David Vitter, and E.J. Dionne and David Ignatius are flat wrong: Making use of a prostitution ring isn't a private matter, and Vitter should not be sitting in the United States Senate while the "D.C. Madam" is facing up to 55 years in prison for selling what he was apparently interested in buying. I hope Deborah Jeane Palfrey does call him as a witness, so that he can explain how his phone number ended up on her call list, and whether the "very serious sin" he admits to committing includes, you know, breaking the law. Sure, maybe he only got a massage - you know, just like Ted Haggard - but at the very least his constituents have a right to hear him explain himself.

"What about the thousands of other people whose phone numbers are on the D.C. Madam's call list?" Ignatius asks. "Are they fair game?" Um, well, insofar as being on her call list suggests that they solicited sex for money, then the answer seems to me to be yes. If a politician were caught with his name on the "call list" of a prominent drug dealer, he wouldn't be able to wriggle out of it by admitting to a "serious sin" and leaving it at that. And unless prominent Republicans are prepared to join Matt in supporting the repeal of laws banning prostitution - which I certainly hope they aren't - then they shouldn't be backing Vitter's "it's a private matter" line. It isn't. It's a crime.

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