NY Rep. Chris Lee Resigns? - Put your shirt back on, man up and get back to work!
by Bob Price on February 16, 2011 at 8:17 AM
Last Wednesday, Feb. 9, a juicy scandal broke in Washington DC. By Wednesday evening Republican rising star and now former U.S. Representative of New York's 26th Congressional District, Chris Lee, had resigned. He vacated his office, leaving his upstate New York district unrepresented, though office staffers remain on the House payroll to "serve and assist constituents." Lee resigned without explanation and without a fight. What a wimp!
Yes, that's right. What a wimpy thing to do to the people who twice elected him to serve this district in New York, which includes northeastern suburbs of Buffalo, western suburbs of Rochester and the cities of Albion, Batavia, Lockport and North Tonawanda. Should we turn on Republicans who exhibit distinctly human behavior? We don't elect saints to represent us. We don't elect robots to represent us. We elect human beings and we should expect human beings to make human mistakes.
According to one source, Lee's father Patrick Lee pushed for immediate resignation "to curtail any extended embarrassment for the family" and to "end it quick." On Thursday, Chris Lee and his wife Michele holed up inside the gates of Key Largo's exclusive Ocean Reef Club where Lee's dad, Patrick, owns a $4M home.
Rep. Lee has serious questions to answer. But they are questions he has to answer to his wife, not to us. This is a private matter between a man and his family. With that said, should we allow the representation process be subject to the attack sharks of the scandal driven tabloids? We move political power changes by elections not scandals. And this is, by political scandal scales, a very minor offense. The man sent a picture of himself without a shirt on to an adult woman who was looking for a friend. Nothing pornographic. No laws were broken. No money was stolen. No minors or employees were involved. No person, outside of Lee's family, was harmed. According to Dr. James Campbell, chair of the Department of Political Science, University at Buffalo (State University of New York), "In terms of the politics, it would have been a rough year or so, but I think he could have survived, if this was all that was to the scandal. The photograph made this rougher than it might have been otherwise. This made the sleazy aspect of this all too blatant for the public and the media."
Now the people of New York's CD-26 are without representation at a critical time in our nation where the people need protection from an over-reaching federal government. By all accounts, Representative Lee was doing a great job in this regard. The state of New York must now spend a great deal of money they don't have to hold a special election. That is, of course, if Governor Cuomo chooses to hold an election. The Democrat Governor could choose to leave the Republican seat vacant.
Should we expect our political representatives to be perfect human beings? Should we demand their resignations at the first hint of a scandal that is really a private matter? Perhaps, rather, we should leave a scandal that is purely a family matter to the family to deal with.
At the same time, our elected representives must continue to do their job in our country's time of critical need. We elect these representatives to serve the people for two years. If you mess up, then step up, admit your mistake, learn from your mistake and the get back to work for the people you represent. Your family will forgive you, or they will not. That is between you and them. Your voters will judge you on the work you do for them and choose to re-elect you or fire you.
Let's stop demanding perfection from human beings. Put 435 members of a Congresssman's district in a room. How many people in that room will have made mistakes in their life they wish they hadn't? I bet nearly 435 of them would have. Watch those 435 people through microscopes for two years and I bet many of them will make some more.
Let's stay out of the private lives of our politicians and let otherwise good people do the work we elect them to do. What about the politicians? Remember why you were elected. Put your shirt on, man up and get to work.