After encouraging his mistress to have an abortion, Rep. Tim Murphy, a self-described pro-life conservative, announced on Wednesday he wouldn't seek reelection after his term expired. Apparently, that half-measure wasn't good enough.
In a Thursday statement, Speaker Paul Ryan announced that Murphy would be leaving Congress in less than three weeks. "This afternoon I received a letter of resignation from Congressman Tim Murphy, effective October 21," Ryan wrote. "It was Dr. Murphy's decision to move on to the next chapter of his life, and I support it."
While Ryan loses a much-needed ally on mental health issues, the speaker avoided a charge of institutionalized hypocrisy among Republicans. The party of personal responsibility, the conference that opposes abortion on principle, couldn't let Murphy stick around.
No doubt details of the drama will emerge in days to come. Right now, it's not clear what role Ryan played specifically. But it seems that the speaker followed the example of former Speaker John Boehner and former Indiana Rep. Mike Pence. Neither of those men tolerated moral failings in the party, and both came down hard when it occurred in the past.
By accepting Murphy's resignation, Ryan seems to have followed their example. It was the right move.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.