Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, is picking the wrong time to burnish his bipartisan credentials. Steineke wants Republicans to stop criticizing state Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, the likely replacement for state Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, as the Assembly Minority Leader.

One, let’s point out how the Gospel story ends:

10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

“Go, and sin no more.” Not, we would note, continue in politics and become the Democratic leader in the state Assembly, or even the leader of the People’s Front of Judea.

Hintz has a history that invites criticism. He was once cited in a prostitution sting at a massage parlor at the Heavenly Touch Massage Parlor in 2011. Shortly after that, as the vote for Act 10 concluded Hintz walked over to then-state Rep. Michelle Litjens and yelled, “You are f—–g dead!”

These are not simple policy disputes, or just overheated rhetoric. Both incidents show poor personal judgment, both incidents show a disrespect towards women. Despite the character flaws of both major party candidates for president in 2016, character should matter when a political party chooses a leader. By choosing Hintz, the Assembly Democrats are also choosing to ignore their own stated principles as well as expected standards of conduct of elected officials.

If the Democratic Party will not hold its own accountable, then that responsibility falls to the Republican Party. It is not a failure of the two-party system to hold the Democrats accountable for the bad choices in leadership they make, but a responsibility of serious elected representatives to hold the leadership of both parties to a higher standard.

If Hintz’s constituents lack the judgment to choose good representation, that does not excuse the Democrats from their obligation to choose good leaders, nor does it excuse Republicans like Steineke from holding the Democrats accountable for their choices.

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