Resignation The Right Move For Lee
Political credibility severely damaged
On Wednesday, Western New York was shocked to find out that Rep. Chris Lee, a Republican who represented New York's 26th district, had sent revealing pictures of himself to a woman that he met on the popular website Craigslist.
Lee, who is 46 and married, described himself as 39 and divorced, while sending flirty messages to a potential female companion. He also awkwardly referred to himself as a "lobbyist."
Naturally, this was a huge embarrassment for Lee. As he had previously run on a platform of family values, this incident exposed him as a major hypocrite who could not live up to his own high standards.
Shortly after the pictures were released, Lee resigned, and The Spectrum believes this was the best possible route he could've taken. Quite simply, his credibility had taken too much of a hit for him to be effective in Congress.
Considering that he was a proponent of "traditional values" and was opposed to things such as the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," it would've been difficult to take him seriously had he stayed in office. Democrats would've called him out for his hypocrisy, and frankly, they would've had a point.
Admittedly, Lee's escapades are far from the worst things that politicians have done while in office. After all, we once had a sitting president receive oral sex from an intern, which is a far bigger breach of conduct than Lee's actions.
President Clinton's actions are far from the only example of this, as many Senators and Representatives have had similar scandals like this in recent years. As much as we want our politicians to have flawless personal lives, that is the rarely the case. Transgressions like this are, if anything, all too common.
While Lee's district, which comprises the northeastern suburbs of Buffalo and the western suburbs of Rochester, has historically been Republican, Democratic challengers have made very strong runs at the district in recent years. If he had run in 2012, he likely would've been defeated, and his party would've lost a seat.
Beyond the strategic perspective, it is good to see a politician take responsibility after making a mistake like this. Consider Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana), who was caught having sex with a prostitute, but chose to stay in office, where he remains today.
Another social conservative, Vitter was just as much of a hypocrite as Lee, but he did not have the courage to admit this and step down.
While The Spectrum condemns Lee's actions, we support his choice to step down, and believe it was the best decision he could've made. If nothing else, it was nice to see a politician demonstrate some accountability for once.