We've Got To Police Our Own
As a former resident of Bob Ney's district (before redistricting), I remember how popular he was early on. He was described as a rising star of the Republican Party, a possible gubernatorial candidate someday. The man had a very bright future ahead of him.
Later on I watched him throw that all away, selling out his constituents for golf trips and poker chips. I confess that in a way I actually felt sorry for him. It couldn't have been easy to lose so much so quickly. But the point also remained that he could no longer represent those that had put their trust in him. Sadly it took several months and a federal conviction before Ney was compelled to resign, a period of time during which Ney's party stayed virtually silent.
Ney became a part of what we Democrats took to calling the GOP's "culture of corruption". Ethics became a huge issue and a large number of Republican scandals ensured that the Democratic Party had the upper hand. Democratic candidates throughout Ohio and the rest of the nation were swept into office in the hope that they would clean things up.
Now another public official has abused the trust placed in him by those he represents, but this time it's one of those newly elected Democrats. Attorney General Marc Dann has engaged in inappropriate activity with a staffer and has hired friends completely incapable of handling the jobs they were given. Worse, Dann and his staffers have repeatedly tried to cover up the improprieties committed.
Make no mistake about it, Dann hasn't disgraced the office he holds. He has only disgraced himself, but as long as he holds that office it will be tainted by his past actions. Dann has passed on several chances to take the initiative in righting his wrongs. He seems to only be interested in doing whatever is absolutely necessary to sweep this back under a rug rather than making a serious effort to restore integrity to his office.
This isn't enough. At this point the only way to clean up this mess is to start over with a clean slate. Marc Dann must resign.
I know that if Dann can hold out until August we'll be able to appoint someone to take his place. This would remove the chance of losing the seat to a Republican, but ultimately the cost would be much higher. We would keep the seat but sacrifice the very ideal that won it in the first place, something I find completely unacceptable. The people put their trust in Democratic candidates, we have no right to refuse giving the public a chance to weigh in on who should succeed Dann.
We must not follow the path that the Republican Party has blazed. This unfortunate circumstance has given us a chance to prove that all of our talk about turning Ohio around wasn't just partisan rhetoric. I strongly suggest we use it.
Eric over at Plunderbund has started a petition calling for Dann's resignation, I urge you to sign it.