Friday, January 26, 2007

Dissing Charlie Crist

A number of newspapers (and more newspapers) and bloggers (and more bloggers), are all a-twitter over gossip that Florida governor Charlie Crist is the biological father of a teenaged girl born in Crist's home town 17 years ago. The girl was adopted long ago by a loving couple.

Now, Crist is refusing to cooperate with a DNA paternity test. The girl herself is willing, but neither she nor her parents are formally asking Crist to contribute his DNA. They just want to be left alone by the media.

Fat chance.

We're on the side -- if one can be found -- that says it's no one's business except the parents, the child, and the governor. If Crist fathered a child nearly two decades ago, it's hard to see what relevance that has to the discharge of his public duties. No more, we think, than whether Crist is a homosexual -- yet another rumor that has dogged the man for years.

In fact, it's even less relevant than the gay gossip. At least when it comes to a politician's sexual orientation, given the "social agenda" of so many political demagogues these days, there is some cause for concern about rank hypocrisy if he (or she) votes one way and privately couples another. No similar connection is apparent when it comes to a private affair that everyone involved wants to keep private.

The whole thing reminds us of a remark an uncle of ours made long ago when we were but a boy. Uncle Jim was for many years one of two national committeemen from Indiana, which meant he also served on the governing board of the National Republican Committee.

Uncle Jim was a huge, burly man with a gruff demeanor, a dry wit, and a warm heart that he struggled to hide from the world. He could pack away a quart of bourbon and a dozen eggs in a single late night sitting -- and often did.

On the day we're reminded of he had just returned from an NRC meeting in Washington, D.C. where strategies for an upcoming congressional election were discussed at length. Uncle Jim was particularly keen on trying to defeat the incumbent congressman in his home district, Democrat John Brademus. So, he said he'd spent most of his time in Washington trying to dig up dirt on Brademas.

"One rumor I heard is that he's sleeping with every other congressman's wife in Washington," Uncle Jim chuckled, "and the other is that he's sleeping with every other congressman. I can't decide which story to promote."

In the end, it didn't matter. Bradmas won reelection by a landslide. In fact, Brademas was a very good congressmen, so good in fact that his constituents never seemed to care much about his sex life. In that, they were exactly like our Uncle Jim.

"I don't really give a damn who Brademas sleeps with," Uncle Jim explained that day so long ago. "I just want to get his nose out of the public trough and put mine in its place."

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