This argument has erupted in the wake of the release of the audio of the supposed confrontation between Republican Dede Scozzafava in the NY-23 special election and John McCormack, reporter for the Weekly Standard. Jim Geraghty argues that the audio proves that Scozzafava filed a false report with the police, which is a crime, and that should disqualify her from seeking office:
When a candidate commits a crime, the usual bonds of loyalty that a party requires are severed. When Sen. Larry Craig got caught in the airport restroom, Mitt Romney threw him off his campaign team. When Rod Blagojevich was arrested, every Democrat who had endorsed him and re-endorsed him ceased any sense of support.
You can call this throwing someone under the bus, but there’s a difference between severing a tie over political inconvenience and severing it over criminal behavior. If your friend committed a serious crime, you might end the friendship; even if you didn’t, you would probably express some disapproval.
Jim isn’t alone in demanding her withdrawal, or at least the withdrawal of the GOP endorsement for Scozzafava. As he notes, this demand has erupted more or less simultaneously in conservative circles: RedState, RedCounty, the Washington Examiner, the Washington Times, Ace of Spades, BigGovernment.com have all made the same demand.
Complicating this is the fact that Dede Scozzafava didn’t make the call to the police or file the report. Her husband was the complainant, which means that if a crime was committed, it was committed by someone other than the candidate. Should candidates whose spouses commit misdemeanors be held responsible for their behavior? This seems like an unfair precedent to set, and that assumes that the Scozzafavas actually had the intent to file a false report. If they unreasonably but honestly thought that John McCormack was a threat to themselves, then that goes to a very poor sense of judgment — certainly a fair argument for an election — but not a crime.
Had this happened to any other Republican, would we insist on the same remedy? Somehow, I think not. That doesn’t mean she shouldn’t withdraw for other reasons, such as the aforementioned lack of judgment, which was also on display yesterday. She’s a terrible candidate, and the GOP never should have endorsed her in the first place, but that’s not quite the same as setting a precedent based on at least an arguable action by her spouse.
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