published Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

DesJarlais doesn't get it

Congressman Scott DesJarlais, the self-declared pro-life/family-values Republican who is seeking re-election in District 4, doesn't deny the tape-recorded revelation that he pressured a lover to get an abortion, ostensibly to help him save his marriage. Still, he seems to have a hard time accepting the fact that he should resign his seat and quit his campaign because of his hypocrisy. That's not unusual for a stereotypical Washington charlatan. The Capitol has seen a long bipartisan string of playboys who tried, and ultimately failed, to stay in office amid scandal.

Two concurrent events growing out of the recently revealed tape recording, however, should help DesJarlais leave office. One is the medical ethics complaint filed against him Monday to the Tennessee Health Department over the affair with his patient. The complainant is the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, D.C. The second is the movement, also announced on Monday, by the Tennessee Conservative Union to unite Republican-leaning groups in a demand to DesJarlais to resign from Congress.

Both should propel grass-roots opposition in his congressional district to oust DesJarlais from office. His dithering refusal to resign his seat and withdraw from his campaign for re-election will only extend his embarrassing dilemma.

It is quite possible, for example, that the complaint by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics will prompt additional complaints against him over ethics. Anyone with information pertaining to DesJarlais' admitted relationship with a patient could file an independent complaint.

"Tennessee law is crystal clear. Doctors are prohibited from engaging in sexual relationships with patients," the executive director of the organization asserted this week, and there is no statute of limitations. "The only question remaining is, now that Tennessee authorities are aware of Rep. DesJarlais' blatantly unethical and scurrilous conduct, what are they going to do about it."

Indeed, at least five Tennessee physicians have been disciplined since 2005 for consensual sexual relationships with patients, according to state records. Investigations are particularly required in such incidents, because physicians hold positions of unique trust with their patients, and patients, in turn, are often particularly vulnerable to exploitation by authority figures.

Thus the state Health Department is obliged to move forward with an investigation. Discipline for a finding of unethical conduct, in an array of circumstances, can result in a suspension of a physician's license to practice. And if that, or any other disciplinary action, were to be imposed against DesJarlais was in Congress, it would be hard to keep secret, and it also would be doubly embarrassing for him and his constituents.

DesJarlais, however, has said that he doesn't see his doctor-patient relationship "as a disqualifying issue" for a post-congressional career in medicine. Voters may well see it as a disqualifying issue for his seat in Congress, however, and with good reason. It contradicts the values he professes to respect and promote.

The Tennessee Conservative Union's effort to build a coalition to demand DesJarlais' resignation reflects that sentiment. Lloyd Daugherty, the union's chairman, says his group is "very upset that he's broken his medical creed and the trust of the citizens of his district." If DesJarlais doesn't get it, voters should show him the door.

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Hunter_Bluff said...

He's been hypocritical to his faith. He's not followed the example of Jesus. He's not followed the creed of his profession. And we want him representing us in Congress? I say no.

October 17, 2012 at 5:27 a.m.
una61 said...

After DesJarlais easily wins reelection, will Austin, Bennett, and Cook shut up about his personal life?

October 17, 2012 at 9:45 a.m.
moon4kat said...

una61, IF desjarlais is re-elected, that would indicate there are some very disturbed people voting for a hypocrite.

October 17, 2012 at 12:06 p.m.
JustOneWoman said...

una61 said... After DesJarlais easily wins reelection, will Austin, Bennett, and Cook shut up about his personal life?

No, I don't think they will. After all, Obama was elected and you guys haven't shut up yet! And what private life should he have when he is getting my and your money as income? The guy set himself up, then thought the rules didn't apply to him. I hope they never take the spotlight off his wicked womanizing ways. Karma is one female dog that Desjarlias is getting to know.

October 17, 2012 at 2:11 p.m.
una61 said...

The problem with commenting on an editorial is that you attract Trolls.

October 17, 2012 at 2:19 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Regardless of the official compaints filed against DesJarlais by the two groups, if the Republican voters have their way, he will still get re-elected, because most of them have no more morals or decency than the sleazy, slimy, hypocritical slob himslelf. My apologies to those Republicans who actually do have a conscience and care about the integrity of your representatives (and I know there are some of you who do), but reading and hearing so many of the comments from Republicans, it seems that they're more concerned with being assured of having someone in office who will take a hard-line stand against Democrats and liberalism than with having a decent, upstanding person in office. They hate Democrats that much. DesJarlais could have killed his grandmother with an axe and served her up in a stew for Sunday dinner and they still would rather see someone like him in office than any Democrat. Such are the "family values" and integrity of most Republicans these days.

October 17, 2012 at 3:07 p.m.
dao1980 said...

I think we've got a "he who smelt it dealt it" situation, with una crying "troll".

Yes indeed, those that back this hypocrite, whilst being fervent patrons of the "party of values" can't seem to smell the stink they create with every slinky slimy, holier than thou "movement".

October 17, 2012 at 3:14 p.m.
JustOneWoman said...

una61 said... The problem with commenting on an editorial is that you attract Trolls.

And by definition of a troll, una61 just proved to be one. LMAO

a troll is someone who posts inflammatory,[3] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[4] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[5] The noun troll may refer to the provocative message itself, as in: "That was an excellent troll you posted."

UNI61, what was it you were saying about DeJarlias?

October 19, 2012 at 11:10 a.m.
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