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Opening Arguments

Him, too

Well, this is big if it's true. Fox News is reporting that Mark Souder will resign as 3rd District U.S. representative today "after it came to light that he was conducting an affair with a female staffer who worked in his district office."

Multiple senior House sources indicated that the extent of the affair would have landed Souder before the House Ethics Committee.

[. . .]

Souder was absent from Washington most of last week, missing multiple votes and only voting on Thursday.

Our staff is trying to chase this down and confirm it, so stay tuned. This is the kind of "Can it possibly be true?" breaking story I usually hestitate to mention here, but County GOP Chairman Steve Shine is already on TV talking about what it means for the fall election if it is true, so reluctance at this point would be meaningless.

If it is true, let me be one of the first (of thousands to come) to say: You, too, Mark? Is there no one left whose "family values" talk is sincere?

UPDATE: Souder has scheduled an announcement for 10 a.m., and Sylvia Smith of The Journal Gazette is quoting Souder already, saying he has "sinned against God, my wife and my family." Where have we heard that before?

UPDATE 2: Here is the text of Souder's prepared remarks (as far as I could tell, he deviated only once, briefly), and here's the video of his announcement at WANE-TV. On the positive side, he was straightforward in apologizing for his sins and accepting responsibility instead of dragging his wife up there for a little extra humiliation. On the negative, his whining that his "all-consuming" job left him no room for a personal life was a pretty lame excuse, and his assertion that he was quitting before the evil political monsters could make their "poisonous" use of the incident was way over the top.

Under IC 3-13-1-4, there will now be a special election to fill Souder's seat, since his resignation will be more than 30 days away from the general election. And a caucus of GOP precinct committee members in the 3rd District will choose a candidate for the regular election. Theoretically, that could be two different people. (H/T to Fort Wayne Observed). Since Bob Thomas came in second in the primary, he'll obviously be given some consideration, but don't be surprised if it's somebody else. I've already heard state Sen. Marlin Stutzman's name mentioned, because he did so well in the U.S. Senate race against Dan Coats.

UPDATE 3. TALKING POINTS MEMO is identifying the part-time staffer as Tracy Jackson and links to a video in which she plays the role of interviewer and Souder talks about the importance of -- wait for it -- "abstinence only" sex education.

Posted in: Uncategorized


tim zank
Tue, 05/18/2010 - 9:07am

Guess that solves my dilemma as to who gets my vote this fall. Not exactly the way I'd wanted to replace him, but if you're dumb enough to think you can get away with an affair in this day and age, it speaks volumes about your judgement.

See ya.

Tue, 05/18/2010 - 9:50am

Why does this surprise anyone? He was a family-values Republican. Was this woman helping him with his luggage, hiking the Appalachian Trail or does Souder have a wide stance?
Well, there was one surpise. He apparently was cheating with a woman.
At least this should make for a much more interesting election.
And I can't help but feel bad for the spouses of the people involved. We tend to forget about them when these things happen.

Lewis Allen
Tue, 05/18/2010 - 10:00am

T. Zank, good point about the poor judgement. Personally, that bothers me more than the moral aspect of the thing.

I'm more concerned with their public actions rather than their private ones. Having said that, when one takes a strong moral stance on family values, as Souder often did, or when Elliot Spitzer was discovered to have patronized hookers even as he prosecuted prostitution, then one has set one's self up for a fall.

tim zank
Tue, 05/18/2010 - 10:00am

Littlejohn, again with the glass houses and stones? It's only been a month since "tickles" Massa resigned.

There is plenty of sexual misbehavior going on in BOTH political camps.

Tue, 05/18/2010 - 2:56pm

Yeah tim, but it's the ones like Souder that are making liars of themselves by pimping their "family values."

Tue, 05/18/2010 - 5:29pm

And really, having a video on Youtube where you're interviewed *by your mistress* on the value of abstinence?



As usual, the anti-gay-drug-warrior-bible-thumper turns out to be a raging hypocrite.

Thu, 05/20/2010 - 8:57am

Tim, you're right. Look at John Edwards.
But you're oversimplifying. The overwhelming majority of public figures caught in sex scandals over the past five years have been Republicans.
More importantly, the Democrats don't claim to be the "family values" party, condemning homosexuals and pushing abstinence-only education.
It's the hypocrisy that bothers most of us.
Have you seen the video (it's on YouTube) of Souder's mistress interviewing him, with a straight face, about the value of abstinence?
It's guys like Souder and Ted Haggard that make so many of us suspicious of conservatives who lecture us about our private lives. Liberals tend not to do that, at least in regard to our sex lives.
This sort of thing is getting so commonplace Republicans might be well advised to quit talking about sexual morality. After all, we're all human on both sides of the aisle.
When a "straight" Democrat gets caught with a RentBoy, I'll reconsider my position.

tim zank
Thu, 05/20/2010 - 4:20pm

I'll grant ya Littlejohn, it seems more reprehensible when someone vocally espouses one thing and does another.

I would point out in r/e your statement " "Liberals tend not to do that, at least in regard to our sex lives." you are also right, albeit because most liberals have no moral fiber to begin with. They don't preach against immoral behavior because to them there is no immoral behavior.

It's an entirely different set of values.

Fri, 05/21/2010 - 9:59am

Oh, come on. A blanket statement like "liberals have no moral fiber" is unsupported and patently false.
Liberals were the driving force behind the civil rights movement and the anti-Vietnam War movement, among other things. Those both clearly sprung from moral "fiber."
Let's say liberals and conservatives are engaged, in equal numbers, in unseemly sexual behavior. Who is more moral, the conservatives who denounce the very behavior they're engaging in, or the liberals who espouse tolerence?
If hypocrisy is not a moral issue, then what is?
You seem incapable of argumentation beyond schoolyard-level name-calling, in many cases ("socialist" and "Nazi") that have nothing to do with the issue at hand.
If you simply hate liberals, for whatever personal reason, why don't you just say so, instead to accusing them of preposterous motives ("Obama wants the terrorists to win")?
To be able to look at an issue from more than one side requires a certain level of cognitive functioning that you and other knee-jerkers on both sides seem to lack. I'd like to think you're better than that.

tim zank
Fri, 05/21/2010 - 2:58pm

LJ sez: "Who is more moral, the conservatives who denounce the very behavior they

Fri, 05/21/2010 - 4:42pm

Clinton's personal life was (and reportedly still is) reprehensible. But he's no hypocrite and neither am I. He never claimed moral authority regarding anyone's sex life.
Of course he hurt his wife; so did Souder. We can agree that's bad.
But the impeachment of Clinton, led by men later exposed as adulterers themselves, was morally repugnant. Clinton's actions endangered his marriage, not his country. The impeachment was pure politics.
But you are plainly saying that adultery plus hypocrisy is better that adultery without hypocrisy. One can only take that as an endorsement of hypocrisy.
I think it's your moral compass that needs a little fine-turing.
And no, neither Clinton nor his defenders - including me - have encouraged anyone to cheat on his wife.
Why can't you admit that your opinions of people are driven entirely by what political party they belong to?
I respect honesty far more than ad hoc, poorly constructed arguments.

tim zank
Fri, 05/21/2010 - 6:48pm

It's quite simple, I condemn "f&%king around on your wife" and find it immoral. You think it's ok.

Pretty simple disagreement.

I'll go out on a limb here also and guess you don't have children, at least you don't soud as though you do.

Sat, 05/22/2010 - 7:10pm

He guessed I didn't have children either in an earlier thread when I wasn't so bent out of shape about Clinton and Bjs and the bad message the man sent our children. He was wrong; have a wonderful daughter, a lawyer no less.
Seems his perception is that only parents are the moral types; God forbid if you don't have children then you are advocating Sodom and Gomorrah.

Sun, 05/23/2010 - 7:41am

Don't you dare tell me what I think.
Nowhere did I write that it's OK to cheat on your wife. You simply made that up.
You're right I don't have children. My wife is infertile. Are you going to make fun of my wife's medical problems?
You are an ignoramous, and will cheerfully say it to your face. I'm going to guess you have no formal education.

tim zank
Sun, 05/23/2010 - 10:14am

LJ, you never actually write "it's ok to cheat on your wife" but your comments are such one can only surmise you think it's no big deal. See "espouse tolerance/acceptance above".

I would never make fun of your wife's medical problems as family members and their illnesses are way out of bounds in my book, unlike liberals of course, who had a real heyday poking fun at a child with downs syndrome on a national level for 2 years running. (see that moral fiber thing I spoke of earlier)

I only pointed out that I felt it's obvious you have no children because of the way you look at a lot "moral" issues (as most liberals do) as "no big deal". Nothing draws clearer lines between "right and wrong" than a "mini" you that you are responsible for 24-7 for life.

And again with the education thing? Why are you so obsessed with "formal" education? You realize of course less than 30% of the American population has a college degree, right? According to you, over 70% of your friends, neihbors, relatives, and colleagues are in fact "ignoramus's then, right?

Sun, 05/23/2010 - 2:38pm

No, I chose my friends from among educated people. None of my friends is an ignoramus.
But don't worry, I'm sure you got a thorough grounding in political philosophy and ethics at Snider High School. I hear their debate team has some real animals.
Logic has certain rules. You can't just keep saying that liberals are less moral than conservatives unless you are prepared to offer some evidence to back that up.
If you define morality as denouncing homosexuals and practitioners of the "wrong" religion, then of course you're right. But that's called an ad hoc argument. It's not how I define morality.
You know how to use Google. Look for studies comparing liberals and conservatives with respect to lack of bigotry, willingness to help the less fortunate and reluctance to unnecessarily harm others. Several studies have been performed; you'll have no trouble finding them.
Unless you're in favor of bigotry, violence and selfishness, then you simply have it backwards.
Well, I guess we've beaten this horse to death several times. I really do hope the housing market is picking up for you. I assume these have been some lean times.
I've reluctantly concluded print newspapers will never come back. You'll soon be stuck with only the JG. I guess you'll always have Fox News (although I'm not so sure - their older demographic isn't popular with advertisers).
Oh well, It was fun having the first really sunny day of the year. After that long, nasty winter it was welcome.