And you didn’t think it was possible to shame a politician into quitting. That’s OK, neither did I. Short of naked pics broadcast internet-wide. While the UK has a long tradition of ministers and MPs cutting themselves loose when caught in a compromising situation, lawmakers and administrators over here have traditionally been much more, um, resilient. Think Idaho Senator Larry Craig, he of the wide stance. Consider how much tightly focused, intense ridicule it took to dislodge Anthony Weiner. And I won’t even get into the priapic Bill Clinton. But at least at the state level, it appears that pulling a gun on a stranger is enough to prompt a resignation…
Maine Rep. Frederick Wintle seems to have decided he’d rather throw in the towel than try to hang onto his seat.
Republican Rep. Frederick Wintle’s attorney, Leonard Sharon, disclosed the resignation after a brief hearing in Kennebec County Superior Court. House Speaker Robert Nutting, R-Oakland, said later he had accepted the resignation.
Wintle of Garland is free on bail and barred from possessing dangerous weapons while he continues mental health treatment. He’s accused of pulling a gun on a photographer for the Central Maine Morning Sentinel newspaper in a doughnut shop parking lot. The photographer, Michael Seamans, wasn’t carrying his camera and said he’d never seen Wintle before.
I’m sure plenty of public figures have dreamed of drilling members of the paparazzi, but it’s generally discouraged if you have any interest in maintaining elected office. If you’re a movie star or a royal, however, it can only enhance your status and marketability. After you’ve done your time and settled the inevitable lawsuits, of course.
Wintle’s been charged with “criminal threatening and carrying a concealed weapon” for which he evidently isn’t licensed.
“Mr. Wintle will publicly apologize, and write a letter” expressing his remorse, said Sharon. “We would do whatever the victim wanted us to do.”
Pretty accommodating, all things considered. Wintle may have a profitable future consulting for Washington pols who find themselves in similar circumstances. As to whether they’d actually follow his example and just go away, is another question.