Here's another way of looking at the issue of how social conservatives ought to view McCain's 1970s marital misconduct in the year 2008. Last July, I argued that Louisiana's David Vitter ought to resign his office after he more or less admitted to having frequented prostitutes. I stand by that position. However, if David Vitter - having conspicuously failed to resign - were to face off in a Presidential race against Barack Obama, I would be inclined to hold my nose and vote for Vitter. I don't think there's necessarily a contradiction here, any more than I think there would be a contradiction for a culturally-conservative Democrat to simultaneously believe that Bill Clinton ought to have resigned over the Lewinsky affair while declining to regret having voted for Clinton over Bob Dole in '96. Regretting the passing of a particular moral standard does not require one to always vote as if that standard were still in place.

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