Sunday, November 13, 2005

Time to Go, Duke!

Earlier this week North County Times columnist, John Van Doorn, suggested that it was time for the North County's (CA-50) representative in congress, the Honorable (what a joke) Randy "Duke" Cunningham, to resign.

Van Doorn's message was simple. Cunningham's case has been pushed out of the time limelight by a litany of other Republicans (DeLay, Libby, the list goes on) and now would be a great time for him to slip out of public office and concentrate on defending himself against a array of charges that are sure to come when the Federal grand jury hands down indictments in his case.

"Last June and then through the summer it was the biggest news going, not merely in this newspaper but in outlets across the nation. Cunningham announced that he would not run again. He hasn't said much else, apart from an unconvincing sort of half-denial of all accusations.

Amazingly, the pressure is now off. Not because charges have been dropped, or investigations pulled back, or a leavening of general attitudes into that cynical American conviction that "they all do it."

No, the Dukester is out of the spotlight because many of the president's men are apparently in deeper than he, and on matters of far greater gravity. Such as national security."

Van Doorn recognizes that Cunningham has ceased to be the representative of the 50th District and that he is simply passing his time waiting to head to court and possibly jail.

"His office insists he is "focusing" on the 50th District. But he doesn't seem to come around the district very often ---- who can forget his affable touch at countless charitable events in North County over the years of his eight terms? ---- and publicity offerings from his office have dwindled to a trickle. His name is attached to no important legislation.

The man has been out-corrupted.

This fact, however, in no way diminishes the seriousness of the crimes that Cunningham was apparently up to in his acquisitive years. Those same ethics-in-Congress groups called many times for his immediate resignation, and that call made sense then and makes sense now.

Curiously, it makes more sense now than ever for him to resign. His being shoved into the background by more grievous corruption than his own affords him a trapdoor not previously open.

Where before, in the center of the only large-scale corruption scandal involving a member of Congress, Cunningham's leave-taking would have been humiliatingly public and he'd have been perceived as hounded from office in disgrace, now it's all different.

Now he can quietly resign his office and slip away into a well-deserved obscurity and hardly anyone will notice. Maybe a few days' taut headlines and that's it.

The greater corruption that gave him some relief will pretty well cover his escape. Duke Cunningham should take the opportunity. His district deserves better than corruption, better than a fraction of a legislator, better than a man who will be tied up in court for years over his smarmy record. He should get out while the getting's good."

It's the best for which most of the Republican crooks can hope. Slip away quietly. Fight the court case somewhere in the back pages of the local paper and then head off to jail or, more likely, a highly paid position as a lobbyist or an expert position at one of the right wings "think tanks" and help corrupt a new generation of Republicans.

Cunningham may be wanted, but not by the people he was elected to serve.