So, Rep. Matt Wingard has announced that he's not running for re-election. When the story first broke in late June, I called on him to "resign immediately". A week later, former Republican state rep. Derrick Kitts (hardly a paragon of ethics and morality) also called on Wingard to resign.
Now, there's another call for Wingard to resign. This time, from the editor of the Oregon Catalyst (the closest analogue to BlueOregon they've got.) Dan Lucas, whose spouse is the chair of the Washington County Republican Party, calls out Republican leaders - and wants to know why they're not insisting that Wingard resign, comparing Wingard to David Wu. Writing in the Hillsboro Argus:
Wingard's former aide, who didn't even come forward until after Willamette Week ran across the DOJ report and ran its initial article, has been the subject of much blame and criticism from Oregon Republicans. My goodness, what we would be doing to the Democrats if they had treated the young woman who left the distraught message with Congressman Wu back in May 2011 like this?
No one ever uncovered an official record of misconduct on the part of Wu. No police reports, no indictments and no convictions. Not for his alleged sexual assault reported in July 2011 and not for the 1976 alleged attempted rape. The woman in 1976 declined to file even a formal complaint with the university. Yet the Democrats called for Wu to resign, and I don't recall any blaming of the victim by Democrats last summer.
Wingard, on the other hand, has two felony indictments by a grand jury for child abuse, has pled guilty to misdemeanor criminal assault against a 7-year old (for hitting his son on the head with a screwdriver), and more recently, there are official reports with the Oregon Department of Justice, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, and a possible additional file at the Clackamas County District Attorney's office.
I think we Republicans may be holding ourselves to a different standard than we hold the Democrats.
Congressman Wu had a history of bizarre behavior. But when it came to light that he was alleged to have assaulted a young woman, Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley called on him to resign - and that very day, he did.
Lucas is right. Why haven't key GOP leaders - like state party chair Allen Alley, Congressman Greg Walden, and Speaker Bruce Hanna - called on Wingard to resign?
Let's remember this quote from Allen Alley, for one:
“The Democratic Party knew this was going on and they let the guy get elected,” Alley said. “They’re going to have to tell the electorate why they’re not responsible for it in any way, shape, or form, and I think that’s going to be hard.”
As one anonymous commenter notes on Oregon Catalyst:
I was at Dorchester 2010 and the incident was fairly common knowledge among Republican staffers the morning after it happened. There's no way Republican House and Senate leadership didn't know. Really boneheaded of them not to dump Wingard then.
Now, I don't have much patience with or trust in anonymous commenters, but if this is true, then Alley's quote applies to himself. So, Allen - and Greg and Bruce and so many others - it seems to me that you're "going to have to tell the electorate why they’re not responsible for it in any way, shape, or form, and I think that’s going to be hard."