Cut Him Loose

One of the nice things about watching the Republicans crash and burn is that we can learn from their mistakes rather than repeating them. It’s a pity Tim Mahoney doesn’t seem to have taken advantage of this opportunity:

“The Democrat who replaced disgraced Florida Rep. Mark Foley — running on a pledge to restore dignity to the office — now faces a jaw-dropping election-year sex scandal of his own.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is calling for an ethics committee probe into reports that Florida Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.) made a $121,000 payment to a former constituent caseworker on his staff with whom he reportedly had an affair.

Mahoney, 52, reached a settlement with onetime campaign volunteer Patricia Allen after their relationship ended, according to a person close to the first-term congressman.

Mahoney is scheduled to address the affair at a Florida news conference Tuesday — with his wife, Terry, by his side, according to Democratic aides.

The scandal could have repercussions far beyond the Sunshine State, where Mahoney ran under the slogan “Restoring America’s values begins at home.””

It’s not the affair that bothers me. (That, I think, is none of my business.) It’s the fact that he had one with a staffer. That’s abuse of power, and it’s wrong.

It’s not too late for Nancy Pelosi, though. Calling for a probe of Mahoney is a good start. But if, on looking into it, she finds that he has done this, she should do whatever she can to get him to resign before the election.

If Democrats want to show that they are different from Republicans, they have to do it when it’s tough, not just when it’s easy. If this report is accurate, cut him loose.

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