Curry Todd Watch: Week Two

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In her first real test of leadership, House Speaker Beth Harwell is like a deer caught in headlights. Six days after Rep. Curry Todd's arrest, she has yet to utter a word about it publicly, except to say through her flack that she's not talking until she meets face-to-face with the accused chucklehead. Does she really need to hear his side of this story? Wonder if the old "I only had two drinks" excuse will work with her?

The army of state-paid House GOP flacks and operatives apparently are unfamiliar with the elementary rules of crisis management. All this hand-wringing over what to do with Todd is ridiculous. He can't remain as a member of the Republican leadership team. He's a national joke. From the beginning, it was obvious he had to go.

That said, what's Harwell waiting for? Maybe she hopes Todd, in a surprising display of commonsense, will come to this conclusion himself and voluntarily quit as chairman of the State and Local Government Committee. Then she won't have to upset any of his buddies in the Republican caucus. But by delaying, she's making herself look weak and indecisive and causing this drip, drip, drip of bad news. She should have stripped Todd of his chairmanship swiftly on Day One, and now we'd all be talking about something else.

Last week, House GOP leader Gerald McCormick suggested to Nooga.com that Todd would lose his leadership post and that the decision would be made by the end of last weekend. We're still waiting.

In a first for House Republicans, McCormick managed to offer a little mild criticism of Todd. "He showed very poor judgment," McCormick said, "and I think he will pay for that and that he understands that." McCormick added: "I would leave it up to him and his constituents as to if he should resign his seat. We've had some similar situations in the past … and generally the member has not stepped down from the legislature but instead relinquished some of their responsibilities."

As a side note, Todd’s ex-wife has more than a passing interest in whether he decides to resign from the House. His arrest came the same day as his divorce became final in Memphis. Katherine Todd sued for divorce on Jan. 20, claiming her husband engaged in “inappropriate marital conduct." Todd must pay his ex-wife alimony of $325 every two weeks—until he no longer holds elected office.

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