A couple of news stories this past week reminds us of the refrain from the old country classic, "The Gambler" - "You gotta know when to hold, know when to fold up, know when to walk away, know when to run..."
These are lessons some politicians never learn.
Take Missouri U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, who became infamous last week for his comment on "legitimate rapes" rarely resulting in pregnancy because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." His insuation that some rapes aren't "legitimate" and his woeful ignorance of basic reproductive biology has infuriated women and men of all political persuasions. His own party urged him to end his attempt to unseat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, but Akin is sticking with it. He doesn't know when to fold up.
In Minnesota, State Rep. Kerry Gauthier, (D-Duluth) originally said he was staying in his race for re-election despite being caught by police having sex behind a state rest stop with a 17-year-old boy he recruited on Craigslist. He was not charged because the boy was of age, and no money changed hands. Republicans demanded he resign immediately, and DFL leaders called for him to end his re-election campaign. Gauthier at first said he was staying in the race, but pulled out late Wednesday after DFL leaders that he will have no support from them. Gauthier knew when to run (or when to stop running, in this case).
Akin irreperably shot himself in the foot for this year, but he has a chance to come back in a couple of years when his strange utterance fades in memory.
Gauthier went beyond "making a mistake." He violated the most basic code of honorable conduct expected of elected officials and was right to bow out.