U.S. Rep. DesJarlais should resign

U.S. Rep. DesJarlais should resign

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012 7:01 pm

By THE TENNESSEAN
During every election season, voters are subjected to candidates from both major parties making assertions about the issues or about their own accomplishments that do not withstand a fact check.
But there are lies, and there are lies. U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais deliberately deceived the voters of the 4th Congressional District in the closing weeks of his successful re-election campaign. And because of that, he should resign immediately.
With campaign deception of the usual sort, there is some degree of “plausible deniability,” such as a candidate leaving a loophole in his or her position about taxes, hoping for a change in public opinion. Dr. DesJarlais, however, deceived voters about his sexual relationship with a patient, and he deceived voters when he strongly advocated restricting abortion rights despite having backed two abortions for his ex-wife.
Since all of this has been confirmed by newly released transcripts of his divorce proceedings, it’s clear that DesJarlais was only interested in protecting his re-election chances. This is the opposite of concern for his constituents. For him to take the oath of office in January would be a fraud.
The Republican from Jasper still has his defenders. They speak of the numerous elected officials before him, from President Bill Clinton to Eliot Spitzer to Mark Foley, who acted inappropriately for prurient reasons, and say that his offenses pale by comparison. To those supporters, we ask these questions: Would the American Medical Association agree with you? And just how far are you willing to lower your standards in order to keep this man in Congress?
If DesJarlais will deny his own admissions from a court proceeding and expect you to believe him, what will he expect you to blindly accept about his dealings as a member of Congress? If he will violate the ethics of his medical profession, what is next?
Finally, do you really want a member of Congress who has demonstrated a clear lack of respect for women and who only pretends to value marriage and family?
Regardless of whether DesJarlais was truly trying to compel his patient to have an abortion, he slept with a patient. Not only should he resign from office, he should surrender his medical license.  Published in The WCP 11.29.12

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