This past week has seen members of Congress come together once again i something that has more to do with someone's personal life than anything they've done for or against the country. The clamor has come from almost everywhere in saying that Representative Andrew Weiner of New York should resign because of apparently nude or indecent pictures of himself that he's put out over the internet.

I've been writing this blog for around 7 years now, and I realize that I've never called for anyone's resignation in all that time, and I've seen or read about a lot of bad behavior. I did call for someone to be fired once for truly inept leadership (actually a recommendation), but ended by saying that it probably wouldn't happen, and it didn't.

I think it's interesting how people will look at someone else, not know all the circumstances behind something, and start calling for someone to resign. It's different when you start speculating on what you might do if you were in a similar situation to a degree, but most of the time what's going on is so outrageous that it's hard to imagine being in that situation to even have to make such a decision.

I was thinking the other day that there have been a number of people I've talked about that have resigned. And I've talked about people that resigned when it wasn't really their choice, such as Rod Blagojevich, former governor of Illinois. But I've never advocated that anyone specific should resign; how interesting is that?

As someone who talks about leadership all the time, I think there are times when a true leader will recognize when it's time to think about stepping away. If you can't be effective in what it is you're doing because all anyone can talk about is something you've done, and you actually did it, then it's probably time to leave. If your leadership is in question because of multiple instances of bad things happening on your watch, it's probably time to leave.

But people who have done criminal things have already crossed the threshold of unacceptable behavior. Taking money that you weren't legally entitled to and getting caught should probably be a cause of both dismissal or resignation. However, those folks have already crossed the ethical line; expecting them to be able to think logically and do what you might consider as the right thing makes little sense.

For instance, think about Senator John Ensign of Nevada. He had already crossed the ethical line in having an affair with a staffer that worked for him that was married to another staffer working for him. If things had ended there all there would have been was an ethical breach. But once he crossed that line he stopped thinking clearly, and his further actions suddenly became criminal. In a way he was forced to resign because he was going to be thrown out anyway, but things had to get really bad to get him to leave.

And we have President Richard Nixon as a perfect example of someone who, at least initially, hadn't done anything that anyone could have really called criminal, yet then allowed paranoia and the lack of being able to think straight once he'd crossed ethical bounds to make him think that he, as president, could get away with pretty much anything, and thus crossed lines no other president has ever done. Sometimes, once bad behavior begins, it's hard to pull back from.

Why don't people resign? I think there are many reasons. One is income; unless you're already rich you immediately kill your income stream. Then it's hard to find your next job because you have that "stain" on you. Two, power. If you're in a position of power it's hard to give that up for anything. Three, previous respect. Why do professional athletes stay around too long, or professional boxers almost always return to the ring? It's hard giving up the hoopla; it's hard being just an ordinary person again. And four, "this will pass", which sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't.

The last one worked for President Bill Clinton. He's still loved by a lot of people, regardless of the Monica Lewinsky event. Rudy Guiliani, former mayor of New York, got a major boost in popularity after 9/11/01, but he was really under the gun before that with some of the things going on in his personal life. And Newt Gingrich, whose personal life has been chronicled in so many other places, is actually being seen once again as a potential presidential candidate.

Should so-and-so resign? Probably. Is it my call to tell them they should? Not unless they specifically ask me. Would I resign in their position? I wouldn't put myself into a situation where I'd be in their position so it's hard to say. I'll say this, though; I'll be glad when this news goes away so we can move onto the next bit of salaciousness that we all know is coming.

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