Time’s up for Fossella

The Brooklyn Paper
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Since meeting reporters on May 2 — one day after police in Virginia arrested him for driving with more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his bloodstream — Rep. Vito Fossella has been in hiding.

He has much from which to hide.

Not only could the drunk-driving charge put him in jail for five days, but his subsequent admission of adultery led to an investigation of whether Fossella took advantage of a taxpayer-financed “fact-finding” mission to France to kindle the romance.

It’s no wonder that more and more people are clamoring for the Bay Ridge–Staten Island representative Fossella to resign. Even members of his own Republican party are saying he needs to make a decision soon, if only to allow the GOP to pick a candidate who might be able to hold onto the only Republican congressional toehold in New York City.

Yet Fossella has gone into hiding — and indeed is giving some indication that he actually intends to run for re-election.

If the congressman wants to run for re-election, that is certainly his right. Some people might relish the spectacle of a campaign featuring a self-professed “law and order,” “family values,” “fiscal conservative” candidate who was arrested for driving drunk and then had to admit that he sired a child with his mistress whom he romanced on a taxpayer-financed junket.

But we prefer a campaign on the issues.

If Fossella runs for re-election, the campaign is likely to revolve around his failure as a husband and his drunk-driving arrest — hardly the much-needed debate about the important issues facing our nation.

GOP officials have said that if Fossella runs, they won’t put up a challenger to force him into a primary — thus depriving that party’s voters of a chance to select a stronger candidate.

Last week, this newspaper called on Fossella to resign at once because his office has been consumed by the scandal and is not serving its constituents. A Fossella resignation before July 1 would empower Gov. Paterson to call a special election to choose a representative to serve out Fossella’s term.

That’s certainly better than the alternative: Fossella clinging to power, avoiding any discussion of his legal and moral failings and his long support for the disastrous Iraq War and other questionable White House policies.

Everyone, Democrats and Republicans, would be better served if he’d just get out of the way.

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