You know the warning: The cover-up is worse than the crime.
As ingrained as that truth has become, itâs amazing people with such
high profiles seem to pay it so little heed. But it was true for Richard
Nixon, and it's becoming true for you.
Your fiancÃ©e, Cylvia Hayes, took unconscionable advantage of the
status you bestowed on her as trusted adviser, Oregonâs First Lady and,
indeed, even as life partner. And thanks to a concerted effort to
contain the damage, what began as a drip of bad press has turned into a
torrent of scandalous exposÃ©s.
You have ardently resisted coming straight and, frankly, that no
longer surprises us. While you have enjoyed many successes, your
once-admirable legacy has become soiled by your refusal to recognize and
rectify wrong turns.
Now, you are entangled in a web of ethics violations that could
easily turn criminal. You have abetted Hayes in reckless misuse of favor
and influence, and quite possibly income tax evasion â a crime that has
brought down many of the mighty. That constitutes willful ignorance at
best and outright collusion at worst.
The press conference last Friday was telling. You looked like a man
stranded on a desert island, his cowboy boots sinking ever deeper in the
sand as he awaits rescuers who arenât coming.
Youâve been either unable or unwilling to get out in front of this
cascade of ethical lapses, and now itâs too late. Your friends are
slinking off and your enemies edging in.
You tried humor and pop culture references to distract the press and
public when you took the stage Friday. But no one in either group is
taking this lightly any longer. You are in much too deep for that.
In some parts of the country, trading on the trappings of high office
is just part of politics. In some parts of the world, it is so
interwoven in the process we would be shocked at its absence.
But Oregonians demand higher ethical standards. They will forgive
misdealings and whiffed opportunities when they are convinced the heart
was in the right place. But divided as they might be â Democrat vs.
Republican, liberal vs. conservative, urban vs. rural â they are united
in displaying little tolerance for the politics of personal gain.
The Oregonian got it right. Itâs time for you to step down.
The editorial crew in McMinnville