Tuli Can't Stop Talking

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A citizen who cares deeply about the United States Constitution and the Rule of Law.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Republican Sexcapades.

Thanks to Cliff Schecter for the concept. His regular feature on The Young Turks every Thursday is just too easy for him.

May 10, 2008

Op-Ed Columnist

Mother’s Day Scandal


By now we voters are well-versed in how to respond when, say, your law-and-order governor turns out to be a primo patron of the Emperor’s Club V.I.P. Escort Service. But the bar moves ever upward, and this week, New Yorkers are trying to figure out the proper reaction to news that a veteran local congressman, Vito Fossella, is the proud paterfamilias of both a household in Staten Island (wife, three children) and a love nest with mistress and child in Virginia.

Looking back, I think we might have begun to wonder why it was that although Fossella has been in Congress for more than 10 years, he did not seem to have a Washington address. Really, that’s a little long to crash with friends.

Fossella has embarked on a series of mea culpas, beginning with a drunken driving incident that set the whole crisis in motion. “As a parent, I know that taking even one drink of alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a car is wrong,” he said. This was actually one of those nonapology apologies, since “taking even one drink” does not have much relationship to attaining a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit.

His adventures began last week with a White House party to celebrate the New York Giants’ Super Bowl victory. (Although that triumph feels as if it occurred six years ago, the Bush administration was a little slow in taking note.) The congressman continued partying. He was arrested in Alexandria, Va., around midnight after going through a red light and failing the recite-the-alphabet test. (Fossella appeared to have trouble deciding exactly where “H” goes.)

He told the police officer that he was on his way to take his daughter to the hospital, which did not seem like a good plan from the daughter’s perspective. Then he summoned a friend, in the form of Laura Fay, a retired Air Force officer who plunked down $2,500 to spring the man who, we would discover, was the father of her child and a familiar sight to the neighbors of her nearby home.

The people of Staten Island seemed prepared to forgive Fossella for the drunken driving, but the second family threw them for a loop. This is interesting given the fact that the D.U.I. is the only illegal part of the story. Also, while it’s hard to imagine that a love child or two poses any actual threat to a congressman’s constituents, the same cannot be said about having a local lawmaker who is prepared to get behind the wheel of a car when he’s too drunk to remember the rule about not mentioning the daughter in Alexandria to authority figures brandishing pencil and pad.

Although Fossella has never been exactly a legislative lion, his political fate takes on additional interest because he is the only Republican among New York City’s Congressional delegation and the seat, as we like to say, is now in play. “Mr. Fossella is going to have some decisions to make over the weekend,” said the House minority leader, John Boehner.

As The Washington Post noted, this was on the same day that House Republicans moved to reconsider a unanimous vote commemorating Mother’s Day. It all had something to do with a procedural rebellion, but I think we can file that under the extremely large category of Unfortunate Republican Ideas.

Fossella is not the first modern-era congressman to have been caught in this particular pickle. In the 1976, Robert Leggett, a Democrat from California, confessed that he had been supporting a girlfriend and two children in Washington along with his hometown family. Leggett also admitted that he had forged his California wife’s name on the deed to a house he bought for Family 2, and that he had also been conducting an affair with an aide to Speaker Carl Albert. Said aide had just been granted immunity in a corruption investigation, and The Post reported the whole story under the headline: “Life of Immense Complications.”

Leggett was re-elected that November, proving once again that if you are going to go in for this sort of thing, your first step should really be to vote liberal. Unfortunately for Fossella, he is a social conservative who has been very supportive of attempts to post the Ten Commandments in public places. [emphasis mine]

Fossella is not even the only New York politician ever to develop a love child problem. The State Capitol in Albany, in fact, sometimes seems to be awash in them. And, of course, back in 1884, Grover Cleveland almost lost his election for president when Buffalo newspapers came up with an alcoholic sales clerk with an illegitimate son and placed the baby on Cleveland’s doorstep.

In reality, said child was very possibly the offspring of Cleveland’s late law partner, Oscar Folsom. Cleveland, a middle-aged bachelor, kept quiet because he wanted to shield Folsom’s daughter, a beautiful college student who he would marry after he became president. I always felt this would make a great movie were it not for the fact that Cleveland was a rather large balding 51-year-old with a walrus moustache and teeny eyes.

Fossella is much more attractive. Somebody at Lifetime must be working on the script.

Republican Sexcapades isn’t so much about the deed, but it is always about the hypocrisy. In fact all Sexcapades are about hypocrisy and of course with varying degrees of hubris.


Blogger Andros said...

Despite all this, good mothers are great to have and should be appreciated.


11:03 AM  

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