Scraping the bottom of the barrel

Cheat on your spouse and proclaim your drug use. That seems to be the necessary list for political success.

Now the news says that New York’s Governor David Paterson has a history of drug use. That’s in addition to his history of extra-marital hotel visits.

And it’s not just New York with this kind of politician. Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas had cocaine convictions prior to his elections. Brookfield Mayor Jeff Speaker added an extra woman while he was still married to the first.

I reject the idea that everyone does it. I don’t do it. I never did. I have a really hard time believing that I’m the only adult in the United States that has managed a healthy marriage and avoided drug use.

Why, then, are these the people that are being elected?


  1. Is it possible that the younger generation uses drugs and if sexually immoral, so they don’t find this behavior troubling? The older generation is generally uniformed and is locked into their voting habits. Everyone in my family that was around for FDR thinks the Democrat are for the workers and the Republicans are for the rich. Issues have no meaning to them. We are on a very slippery slope and I don’t see how we come back from it. Youngsters learn from their elders and the elders left traditional values and morals behind starting in the 60s. Am I too cynical? Look at the facts before you declare that of me.

  2. Technically I’m younger than any of the politicians mentioned, so I don’t know that it counts, El Gato.

    There’s got to be a link, though. Why do we vote for people like this? That’s the question.

  3. Obviously I didn’t say EVERYONE, but one has to look at things as a composite. My point is that we vote for them because there “sins” are accepted these days by voters. That’s the answer to your question. We are not shocked by anything IN GENERAL! I also think the garbage that comes into our homes via TV and the internet has made us somewhat immune to “bad news”.

    Dan, look at every negative statistic and you will see that we are worse off than we were in 1960. More crime, more abortions, more murders, more drugs, more immorality, more corruption in business and politics, etc. The very fact that you seem to “look the other way”and ignore the facts of our society just goes to prove my point.

  4. I think the influx of foreigners that no longer become “Americans” through acculturation is having a huge detrimental effect on where we are going. We are becoming “tribal” with many subcultures that have no interest in our way of life. They come here and bring their dysfunctional cultures with them. One can be an optomists or one can look at recent history to see that we are on the same road that the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, etc. were on.

  5. I may be in the minority here, but I don’t think that drug use disqualifies you from being a representative. Why don’t we add George W. Bush’s name on to that list? Remember he was an alcoholic and used cocaine heavily.

    Anyhow, I think that drug use and philandering is more widespread than we like to admit. I’m not saying it’s a good thing either.

    I think I speak for my generation when I say that we are more informed and involved in the civic process than previous generations. And I would also say that us Millenials care more about merit than a blotch on their record.

    As for this talk about how the 60’s were so much worse, numerous studies have found Americans are no more happy than they were from the 50’s onward. It SEEMS like we’re going to hell in a handbasket because we’re in the thicket, but years from now we will be saying “I wish it was as good as in 2000!”

    I like the biker analogy, it puts it into perspective for those of us with hogs (who i love and adore!)

    But I think instead of focusing on xenophobic fears of “tribes” we should focus on the most notable and detrimerntal subcultures in our society: rich vs. poor.

    Indeed, the wages, assets and life expectancy of the poor and rich are diverging.

    I don’t know if GWB learned from his alcoholism and cocaine usage, but i’d assume he has.

    Barack Obama had the courage to say he tried cocaine, and when asked if he inhaled he said, “Isn’t that the point?” But he turned his life around, graduated from Columbia and Harvard Law School. So why should drug use discredit his qualifications?

  6. Whoa. I didn’t know GWB had cocaine use. Can you source it? It makes the question why do we vote for these people even bigger and less political.

    I suppose my distinction is legal vs. illegal. While some abuse it, alcohol is legal. Cocaine and even marijuana are not.

  7. Now I’m not making excuses for anyone in saying this, but it’s important to remember the time frame in which Paterson said he used illegal drugs. We’re talking about the 1980’s, when recreational drug use was quite common. As I said, that doesn’t excuse Paterson’s behavior, but I think it’s important to put it into the correct context.

    My next point would be that while I don’t think illegal drug use should in and of itself preclude someone from being considered for elected office, the fact that someone would make the decision to engage in that kind of activity – regardless of whether it was “youthful indiscretion” or a “bad decision” – shows me a lot about the kind of person that individual is. Having said that, I think it speaks volumes about the kind of person Governor Paterson is that he disclosed his past freely and without equivocation, because he certainly could have opted not to disclose any of these things.

  8. I think full disclosure makes the difference for me, Zach.

    GWB hasn’t admitted to illegal drug use…after 1974.

  9. I find it odd that the young who are so much different than they were in the 1950s are the ones making all the excuses for current societal problems and won’t consider the facts. Instead, attack the messenger who is just stating the obvious. Funny that the liberals always find a way to bring Bush into it! We’re talking about the BIG picture here boys! For example, I would guess that there were less than ten murders a year in Milwaukee prior to 1960 and look at it now. I would guess that scenario is repeated all across the country.

    Dan, the biker tribe doesn’t like smart aleck comments made about it, so I’d be careful of that. My remarks were not intended to insult anyone, but yours might be construed that way. I was just stating the obvious and I’m biting my tongue and holding back what I want to say to you for your wiseguy remarks. Cindy doesn’t like fights on her blog you know!

    Shawn said “It SEEMS like we’re going to hell in a handbasket because we’re in the thicket, but years from now we will be saying ‘I wish it was as good as in 2000!’” and that was my point exactly.
    We WILL be saying that since we are on the decline.

    Gov. Patterson disclosed his adultery and drug use AFTER he was sworn in. Actually after he was elected. How noble of him!

  10. Maybe Columbia Univerity says it better.

  11. We’ve all had indiscretions and it’s not my job or anyone else’s to damn someone for it. That’s my view–and as long as someone says, “yea you got me i did wrong.” I cannot hold it against them.

    And here we go again with the “liberal” drivel. GWB is even more big picture than Dan Vrakas it would seem. I am just pointing out it’s not only state and local politicians. Shall I remark on Bill Clinton and JFK, too? I know how touchy some are with protecting the cronies and their cajones so I will bash either side equally.

    Sadly, some people have to make everything partisan. This issue has nothing to do with what party you come from, but the “liberal” talking point is used over and over. I never said only right-wingers are bad guys.

    People don’t decide to do drugs based on their politics, and I would guess that sleeping with someone isn’t based on it either so can we drop the partisan banter now and try to get some hypotheses out there?

  12. Yes, please do remark on JFK and Bill! You brought GWB into a conversation that had nothing to do with him, but it did have to do with Democrats. What could anyone conclude? You only prove me right!

  13. And the best part is that El Gato is right. Our culture is declining. And why?

    Some might say it’s because values and religion play an even smaller role than they ever have. But haven’t we seen the evangelical movement explode and seen a rise in faith-based initiatives, etc?

    I would surmise that it’s all part of the corporate stranglehold on Americans. Let me explain.

    Credit Card companies keep us in a cycle of debt to milk more money out of us. Our children need health care, so corporations use it as leverage to blackmail us into keeping lousy jobs. The poor can’t afford to buy fresh foods and healthy foods–they are expensive! So they go to McDonald’s and get cheap fattening food.

    It’s our fault for not taking responsibility, yes. But it’s also our fault for not limiting collusion and a corporate stranglehold on power and our lives.

  14. El Gato, you silly dude, the point was GWB abused substances just like the others that were brought up. Your point is moot because it’s based in partisan banter.

  15. Shawn, I take it all back about you being a liberal…you’re a darn socialist! Al least you don’t seem to be a Commie yet! LOL!

  16. Well, I see Shawn and El Gato were at it again. You two need to get a room or something.

  17. Don’t worry, when he has really slanderous or threatening things to say, he e-mails me.

  18. Oh, I’m not actually worried. I kind of even remember your saying once that you considered yourself a socialist. (Please correct me if I’m wrong.) I still think it’s funny that you choose this site to have a go at each other occasionally.

  19. It’s all in good taste. I consider myself a libertarian socialist. It sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s legit.

  20. The last time I got in a lather over remarks like Gato’s, someone rightly pointed out that Americans have always picked at the latest batch of immigrants. The Irish were once a popular target…

    That doesn’t make it ok. Your remarks are offensive, Gato. Someday, when you need an angioplasty or some such, let’s hope Dan is not too busy to take care of you–and that he can do it without the fancy tribal equipment built by all those foreigners here in Milwaukee, and without the tribe at the hospital and without computer equipment and communication devices.