Ignoring the examples of other sex-scandalized GOP officeholders — such as United States Senator John Ensign of Nevada, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, United States Senator Larry Craig of Idaho and United States Senator David Vitter of Louisiana — Kevin Garn, the Majority Leader of the Utah State House, resigned Saturday after admitting he paid $150,000 hush money to a woman with whom he cavorted nude in a hot tub 25 years ago.
When she was 15 years old.
And worked for him.
GOP Leader Garn introduces an exciting new era of accountability for scandal among GOP officeholders. He breaks a long streak of stubborn and unaccountable clinging to office. No one expected David Vitter to survive the revelation that his name was in the DC Madame’s black book, and that New Orleans sex workers recall him as Diaper Dave — but there he is, even leading in his re-election race. No one expected Mark Sanford to stay in the Governor’s office after his Appalachian Trail and Argentina admissions. Everyone took Larry Craig at his word that he would resign his Senate seat after being caught in a men’s room sex sting in the Minneapolis airport, but instead he served out his entire term. And aren’t we all amazed that John Ensign is still hanging on to office after the incredible revelations of jobs-as-bribes-for-silence and $100,000 hush-money gifts to the family of his staffers, one of whom he canoodled with while cuckolding the other?
Kevin Garn may very well have broken whatever spell the media has put over GOP sex scandals, by resigning. Suddenly, it appears that YES! Something is expected of GOP politicians who violate the customs and norms of civilized society, who pay bribes to women for silence, who violate their marital vows while building a career on being family-friendly to only some families, and who illustrate the best of 21st century hypocrisy.
Resignation. Shunning. Exile from the public discourse.
Let’s hope Kevin Garn’s almost-unique* step, as a GOP, of actually resigning his office wakes up our media. So that when the next pervert is revealed (and you know another one will be, perhaps soon) we can encourage our wise media gatekeepers and say, “Hey, Kevin Garn resigned, shouldn’t he too?”
*UPDATE: Maybe there’s something about Utah, since their Senate Majority Leader resigned from office in January after a drunk-driving arrest, something California’s Roy Ashburn appears not to be considering.