Democratic politicians believe that resigning after a scandal is more damning to their reputations than clinging to power and tarnishing their offices.
Based on the reaction of their voting base, apparently they’re right.
On Monday, New York Representative Anthony Weiner held a tearful press conference in which he admitted to having sent lewd photos of himself to half a dozen women and falsely claiming his Twitter account had been hacked. In the same speech, he declared that he nonetheless had no intention of resigning. His defenders in the press have been positively huffy at the mere suggestion.
Last year New York Representative Charles Rangel was found guilty of 11 ethics violations, including failure to pay taxes and non-disclosure of income. The former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman remains proudly in office, after having abused reporters with multiple rounds of curse-laden scolding for daring to inquire about his wrongdoing.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and Senators Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Roland Burris were all under investigation, reprimanded, or indicted in connection with the pay-for-play scandal involving President-elect Obama’s Senate seat in 2008, yet all refused to give up their seats. Blagojevich was forced to step down by the Illinois legislature.
New York Governor Elliot Spitzer was compelled to resign after a prostitution scandal in 2008, but shamelessly accepted an offer to host a highly-touted, prime time political talk show on CNN two years later.
Louisiana Representative William Jefferson was found guilty of 11 bribery and corruption charges in 2007 and sentenced to 13 years in jail, but did not resign. He won reelection in 2006, a year after the FBI recovered $90,000 hidden in his freezer, but was voted out next election. read more »