An unexpected exit stage right took place this week in American politics as Michigan Congressman Thad McCotter resigned his position in the House effective immediately. It’s been something of a long, strange trip leading up to this point – though McCotter actually quoted Bob Dylan in his resignation announcement rather than The Grateful Dead – and plenty of people were left wondering.
I interviewed Congressman McCotter twice during the primary season and he always struck me as a nice guy, capable and smart. Unfortunately, he also may have been the only person who was aware that he was actually running for president. In addition, he constantly seemed to be battling for a sliver segment of the primary vote with people like Buddy Roemer. He embraced the idea of campaign fiance reform to an extreme, which is a valid topic of discussion to be sure, but not one that was going to rally the base to his flag.
So what happened?
“After nearly 26 years in elected office, this past nightmarish month and a half have, for the first time, severed the necessary harmony between the needs of my constituency and of my family,” McCotter said on his Facebook page. “As this harmony is required to serve, its absence requires I leave.”
McCotter failed to qualify for the primary ballot after most of his petition signatures were recently found to be fraudulent. State officials are investigating the matter.
McCotter initially opted to run a write-in campaign, but then announced he would not seek reelection.
His statement continued: “The recent event’s totality of calumnies, indignities and deceits have weighed most heavily upon my family. Thus, acutely aware one cannot rebuild their hearth of home amongst the ruins of their U.S. House office, for the sake of my loved ones I must ‘strike another match, go start anew’ by embracing the promotion back from public servant to sovereign citizen.”
How most of his signatures wound up being thrown out is a mystery which will have to wait for a full investigation, but I’d like to think it was just carelessness or some disreputable volunteers. His comments about “indignities and deceits” leads me to think that he believes somebody on his own team acted in bad faith. But Thad may not have had his eye entirely on the ball for a while now. He was apparently also working on a pitch for a television show.
McCotter’s bizarre period continued this week when the Detroit News reported that he had written a TV pilot with a rather odd premise — McCotter himself hosting a crude variety show that joked about flatulence and female anatomy, among other things. The script was leaked to the newspaper by a former staffer who thought it unbecoming a member of Congress.
At The Corner, John J. Miller finds McCotter’s antics far less endearing and, frankly, alarming.
If McCotter ever tries a return to public life, here’s a bumper-sticker idea for his foes: “McCotter: Not Welcome Back.”
McCotter has declared that he won’t be giving any more interviews until the investigation into the tossed signatures is concluded. And perhaps that’s for he best. But no matter the outcome, let’s just bid a fond farewell to the man, thank him for his many years of public service and wish him the best of luck in the private sector.