By now you’ve probably heard that New York Representative Chris Lee has resigned after Gawker broke the story this afternoon that he was trolling the Women Seeking Men Craig’s List. Rep. Lee is what you would expect him to be given that he was caught doing something so unseemly, a Christian, Family Values, Anti-Gay Congressman. Not much to say about the level of hypocrisy that is involved in having those positions and then acting the way he did.
Rep. Lee used his own name, though he did change some of the details. Instead of being the married, father of one who happens to be a Member of Congress, he said he was a divorced lobbyist. Oh, and in a sad little bit of vanity he shaved 7 years off his age, saying he was 39 instead of 47. Frankly if I was a buff as Rep. Lee, I’d use my own age but vanity is a strange thing.
All of this might be fodder for mocking, and I have no doubts that the late night talk show guys will be all over this like a cheap suit (hey, kind of like this suit, I gotta get a new tailor!) but I actually want to give some credit to Rep. Lee. It is entirely possible that he could have gotten past this. After all Republicans don’t seem to have the same level of damage from these things, even criminal behavior associated with adultery has not brought Sen. Ensign down (yet), so he might have toughed it out.
Instead, after a few hours of floating a lame story about a hacker, he did the right thing and resigned from the Congress. Rep. Lee and I will never ever see eye to eye on policy, but I can respect that he decided to leave. Now it may be that there is a lot more of this kind of thing, with perhaps racier pictures than his Vladimir Putin imitation photo from Craig’s List yet to surface, maybe not. The point is that instead of deny, deny, deny he made the choice not to further dishonor his office.
It might be really old fashion of me, but I think that if you are an elected official and you get caught with your, um, err, pants down (or shirt off in this case) then you should not stay in office. I am not so naive to think that elected officials are not people with the same faults that we all have. Anyone can stray, anyone can get on the slipper slope of corruption and rationalize themselves into real criminal activity, and none is immune. It is just that when you are finally exposed or caught, then your public service should be over.
One of the things that is so infuriating to those of us on the Left about the Right is they are more than willing to try to tell us what types of lives to lead, who we can love, what penalties we should pay if we are careless and get pregnant or even which religion is better than others, yet they seem to be involved in all of the activities that they claim the regular people must abjure. When they are caught out they just brush it off like it is nothing.
If they are really serious about these things, then they need to be ready to step down when it becomes clear that they are saying “do as I say, not as I do”. Tonight I can give a little grudging respect to a single Representative, while at the same time asking why Senators Vitter and Ensign still haunt the halls of the Senate.
What’s on your mind tonight Firedogs? The floor is yours.