Thursday, May 20, 2010

Don't Call It a Comeback: Vito Fossella Gets Staten Island GOP Nod

Vito Fossella (NYMag)
Vito Fossella, the Staten Island rep who got caught drinking and driving in Virginia and then called his mistress to pick him up from the drunk tank, is back on the political scene. Last night the Staten Island Republican Party chose Fossella - over not one, but two other people - to run for his old seat against incumbent Democrat Michael McMahon. And it wasn't even close: the vote was 23-4. To top it off (as if the other two candidates were not insulted enough), SI GOP chairman John Friscia stated, "It is my firm belief that he is the strongest candidate we can field." Well, that's just sad.

But just because Staten Island's GOP has jumped the shark does not mean that Fossella will abandon all human decency and try to convince people he is capable of representing them in Congress. Fossella could not be reached for comment after the vote, but rumors have been swirling in the political community that Fossella was mulling a comeback. Fossella is not exactly a man of principles or shame, as the hubris involved in fostering a secret second family in DC while you have a wife and kids back in Staten Island seems to overshadow other beneficial characteristics someone can possess, so a run would not be out of the realm of possibilities. In fact, I would be surprised if Fossella didn't run.

But I'll repeat what I said when I called for Fossella's resignation two years ago:
My advice to Vito Fossella is do not pull a Larry Craig, go the way of Eliot Spitzer and resign with a shred of dignity left. By resigning you are at least admitting that you have done not only your family wrong, but your constituency wrong as well. Staying in your seat and possibly running for re-election (though I am sure that the Washington elders of your party will try to make sure you do not even fathom the idea of running again) will only keep you in the spotlight and, unfortunately, your family as well. Do the right thing and step down, if not for your sake then for those around you.
Running is only going to thrust Fossella's wife and kids back into the spotlight and constantly remind them how Fossella betrayed their trust.  If Fossella has any shred of discerning right from wrong (which is debatable) he won't run.

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