Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Should Mark Souder's Inappropriate Conduct Come As A Shock? It Should But Why Doesn't It?
The thirst for change and entertainment got a morsel with the recent resignation of Rep. Mark Souder, R-Indiana. Souder unexpectedly announced his resignation Tuesday, after admitting that he “sinned against God” by having a relationship with a staff member. Souder, 59, just recently won his primary. Now he will leave his office this week. While Democrats may see this as a cause for celebration, the 59-year-old Republican is a married father of three and such public disclosures are never easy on the family. He will submit his resignation to Speaker Pelosi on Friday. Those wanting change welcome the resignation of the social conservative while supports proclaim their shock at such out of character conduct.
Souder's choice of words should cause concern for the future of this mans family and the poisonous environment we know as Congress: "I sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff." So where did Souder learn such inappropriate behavior? Certainly not in the heartlands of the midwest. Souder has been in Congress since 1994. He and his wife Diane have been married since 1974. The couple has three grown children. While Hoosiers debate what caused their representative to abandoned his family values, Governor Mitch Daniels must contemplate when to hold a special election for Souder's vacant seat. In the mean time folks want more details about Souder's romantic relationship with Tracy Meadows Jackson. Jackson apparently has worked in "various capacities" in Souder's district office.
Sen. Arlen Specter is also a victim of change. Fortunately his ticket out of office was orchestrated by good old democracy in action. Specter was punished for trying to be a chameleon. (In April of 2009 Specter shifted his allegiance from the GOP to the Democratic party.) After 30 years on Capitol Hill, Specter lost Tuesday in the Democratic primary for his Senate seat to Rep. Joe Sestak. Pennsylvania may never be the same. But public polling shows that Sestak surged as Specter fell.
Missteps have not been limited to the Republican party. Two months ago, Rep. Eric Massa, D-New York, resigned after admitting to groping male staff members. Nor is bad judgment limited to politicians. For example, Mary Richardson Kennedy, the wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., was arrested for drunk driving after a police officer saw her run over a curb outside a school in Bedford, New York. Kennedy's blood alcohol level was 0.11. Think she is not a perfect fit for the always political Kennedy family?
The real question is why people express such shock and dismay when they read the headlines concerning such missteps. Politicians have become victims to the same "entitlement syndrome" as athletes. Once elected, the world owes them special treatment. Staff members become looked at as personal property. Money that previously may be seen as a bribe is now just compensation. Change is good. But change needs to be for the right reason. Athletes, Politicians and ordinary citizens all need to be held to the same standards and expectation both in and out of the public eye. Only with such real change in expectations can we truly lay the "entitlement syndrome" properly to rest.