Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Remember Chris Lee?

He was a Republican Congressman from January 2009 until February 2011. Still doesn't ring a bell? Maybe this picture will refresh your memory. Oh, yeah; that guy. According to his Wikipedia page (my emphasis):

On February 9, 2011, Lee was found to have been soliciting at least one woman on Craigslist. Claiming to be a 39-year-old divorced lobbyist but using his real name, he used a Google Gmail account to send a woman a shirtless photo taken with his BlackBerry phone. The woman searched his name, discovered he was a married Congressman and turned over her email correspondence to the New York news blog Gawker. After confirming the facts, Gawker published its exposé on February 9, 2011.

Lee resigned from office the same day.

How about Anthony Weiner? Remember him? He also made the news back in 2011. From his Wikipedia page:

On May 27, 2011, Weiner sent a link to a sexually suggestive photograph of himself via his public Twitter account to an adult woman who was following him on Twitter. After several days of denying he had posted the image, Weiner held a press conference at which he admitted he had "exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years." He apologized for his earlier denials. After an explicit photo was leaked through the Twitter account of a listener of the The Opie & Anthony Show, Weiner announced on June 16, 2011, that he would resign from Congress, and he formally resigned on June 21.

That took a little longer. According to a story in the New York Times on June 11 of that year:

The House Democratic leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, spoke to Mr. Weiner on the phone Saturday morning and, notably, released her statement calling for his resignation after he told her of his plan to get treatment and to take the leave. Mr. Weiner received a similar phone call from Representative Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, urging him to resign.

I could cite other examples of Congressmen behaving badly from just New York State alone. But my point here is that even though neither Lee nor Weiner did anything illegal (as far as I can tell) they did embarrass their respective parties and became a distraction. So, in both cases, they had to go. The sooner, the better. Which is why I find it hard to believe that a savvy politician like John Boehner hasn't done the exact same thing with Rep. Steve Scalise. Even if the Louisiana Congressman is completely blameless, he's become both an embarrassment and a major distraction to a party that's about to take control of both houses of Congress. And anything that's even remotely suggesting of racial insensitivity is absolutely toxic to a Republican Party that's trying hard to rebut that image.

I'm no political consultant, and as I said yesterday, I really don't care what the Republicans do. But the "playbook" seems pretty clear to me: this guy should have been gone yesterday.

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