Reader B. J. sends an email in response to my last post:
I had (and in the past, have had) precisely the same initial reaction and the same second thought.
Maybe the way to look at it is this: When you quit your elected job early, you generally deserve to be criticized. One may be unreasonable in his criticism (you quit early to tend to your ailing wife) and you may be unreasonable in your defense (you quit to take a dime-a-dozen higher-paying job at a time when your replacement could be appointed by a Governor you like rather than chosen by the voters).
Or it’s a mixed-bag: You quit because you’ve been elected President, appointed to the Cabinet or chosen to lead the Salvation Army.
So you live with and respond to the criticism, but there’s no rule. And that’s where the issue remains.
PS: Lots of things in life are like that. There’s no rule against A, but you can justifiably be criticized for doing A and you have to live with the pain.