When of­fice­hold­ers be­have badly

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters To The Editor - NEL­SON MARANS New York

Whether Vir­ginia Gov. Ralph Northam is or is not the in­di­vid­ual pic­tured in his year­book in cer­tainly what is an in­ap­pro­pri­ate pose for a pub­lic of­fi­cial, he still has the right to re­main as gov­er­nor since it was an in­dis­cre­tion from his youth. Pre­vi­ous pub­lic of­fi­cials have con­ducted much more se­ri­ous po­lit­i­cal trans­gres­sions — with two prime ex­am­ples be­ing Sen. Robert Byrd, West Vir­ginia Demo­crat, and Supreme Court Jus­tice Hugo Black, with both ac­tu­ally be­ing mem­bers of the KKK.

For Robert Byrd it was most out­ra­geous since not only had he been a mem­ber of the KKK but a leader and ac­tive re­cruiter. Less than 10 years later he be­came a mem­ber of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and shortly af­ter­ward a se­na­tor who served in that po­si­tion for over 50 years. His was not a youth­ful in­dis­cre­tion, but was tol­er­ated by the elec­torate of West Vir­ginia.

Cer­tainly the Vir­ginia gov­er­nor has ev­ery right to re­main in of­fice de­spite the urg­ing of Sen. Kirsten Gil­li­brand, New York Demo­crat, and for­mer Sen. Claire McCaskill, Mis­souri Demo­crat, call­ing for his im­me­di­ate res­ig­na­tion. For a lesser of­fense Al Franken, un­der pres­sure, re­signed from the Se­nate, an ac­tion that he now re­grets. Eval­u­a­tion of an in­di­vid­ual’s right to pub­lic of­fice should be con­sid­ered weigh­ing ac­c­tions in the present and not, as in many cases, from those of a dis­tant past.

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