Aaron Schock, the Republican congressman from Illinois, is leaving Congress. On Thursday Schock went to capital hill to cast a vote on a bipartisan bill that would eliminate the Medicare “doc-fix.” After the vote, he went on to address Congress and give his formal resignation. Schock made headlines earlier in the year, after he had his office redecorated to resemble the PBS drama Downton Abbey. Schock’s political career actually mirrors the PBS drama quite closely, in the fact that they both ended after about six years. He is resigning because of the spending scandal that included his decorating bills. His poor record keeping and jet setting lifestyle have hurt his image almost irreparably.
Schock refuses to label himself as “an old crusty white guy.” At 33 he is one of the youngest members of congress, and with his stylish new office he clearly sets himself apart from the usual stereotypical Republican. Although his office is quite wonderful ,Schock will still be leaving Congress. Unfortunately, not all of Schock’s constituents are quite as pleased with his choice in decorations. When confronted about the office by an ABC reporter, he replied with all the youthful vigor that only a 33-year-old Illinois Republican can. He quoted Taylor Swift saying “haters gonna hate.” It is a widely known fact that haters do indeed hate.
He has also come out and compared himself with Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln also had faced many personal trials, and had himself only served on term in Congress. Lincoln, however, was never involved in a spending scandal, and is widely acknowledged to have saved the Union and freed the slaves. Not only did the new office news get headlines, but the other facts in the case of Schock’s spending are pretty damning. He had billed taxpayers and his own campaign donors for roughly 170,000 miles on a car that only been driven about 80,000 miles as well as booking luxury hotels, private jets, and expensive cars. This has earned him a reputation of being a sloppy accountant, especially when dealing with taxpayer money. He also has said that he was not sure whether or not he had accepted and improper gifts during his campaign or if he had broken any laws.
During his exit speech, he told his former colleagues that god has a plan for him and he will not quit working for the good of the Republican party. Even though he is leaving his office at the age of 33, this does not necessarily mean that his political career is completely over.
It is entirely possible that he can use the same charisma that got him into office and made him a top fundraiser for the Republican party, to turn his life around and do some good for the country. As he left the Congress hall he did not answer any questions asked of him except when asked what he will be doing next he replied “Easter.” With Schock leaving Congress, this opens up his former seat and it will be interesting to watch who will be taking his spot in the coming days.
Opinion by James Dixson
Photo by: Randy von Liski – Flickr License