Congressman Mike Pence, outspoken Republican critic of health care reform, and media darling-come-lately for the tea partying right, has talked a lot of talk.
To his credit, he seems also to be walking the conservative walk.
As reported today by conservative Washington Post blogger David Weigel, Pence apparently approached Rep. Mark Souder about rumors of Souder's now widely known infidelities, after having been asked about them by a journalist last Wednesday, May 12.
Instead of a wink-and-a-nudge, Pence followed up with Souder directly, encouraged him to resign, then promptly reported him to the House Ethics Committee just in case:
“In response to a general media inquiry, Mr. Pence confronted Mr. Souder on Thursday. Mr. Souder confessed to an affair, but did not mention that it was with a part-time staff member. It was not until Sunday evening that Mr. Souder called Mr. Pence to inform him that the affair was with a part-time staff member. Mr. Pence encouraged Mr. Souder to resign immediately and notified ethics on Monday.”
So Pence reported the scandal as soon as he got the full details; Souder resigned the next day.
Give credit where it's due: Even if I don't agree with most of Pence's policy positions — on issues like health care reform, for example — I respect his actions. It's nice to see a politician act according to his principles.
Conservatives like Pence have valid ideas. And the foundation of a strong democracy is the compromise that arises from opposition. For my part, I'm much more interested in engaging someone who speaks and acts from conviction, not from cold, political cynicism.
Would that we saw a little more of this from other Republicans today, so many of whom are too terrified of Limbaugh-led, tea party backlash to participate constructively in the people's governance.