Speed Reads

Playing politics

'Kissing Congressman' Vance McAllister won't resign (at least, not yet)


During an interview with the Monroe News Star Monday night, Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.) said he "doesn't intend to resign" despite the release of a video showing him kissing a woman who isn't his wife.

McAllister, who ran as a sort of "family values" candidate, has apologized. But beneath the obvious observations about hypocrisy and betrayal, etc., the incident — and his stated intention to remain in office — raise some interesting thoughts and questions.

First, I'm reminded of how important local newspapers are when it comes to holding politicians accountable. In this instance, it was the Ouachita Citizen that first published the incriminating video. A few months ago, it was the Bergen Record that broke the Chris Christie "Bridgegate" story. What happens when these papers go away?

Second, what should we make of McAllister's decision not to resign? Without knowing much about his re-election prospects — and without making any sort of value judgments — it occurs to me that politicians who stubbornly fight (think Bill Clinton) probably have a better chance of rehabilitating their image than those who "do the honorable thing" and resign in disgrace.

Winston Churchill once famously observed that "nations that go down fighting, rise up again; those that surrender tamely are finished." For better or worse, I sometimes think the same is true of politicians.