In what appears to be some sort of followup to his “Is it in the water?” story about South Carolina political scandals, McClatchy reporter James Rosen apparently wants to remind us that it’s not just South Carolina that’s messed up:
Despite a string of strange political stories that have drawn national attention over the last year, South Carolina owns no patent on eccentric behavior by officeholders. A sampling from recent years:
Funny thing about his list, though – it has one Republican, one Independent… and eight Democrats. Here it is in its entirety (descriptions are paraphrased in the interest of space):
Rod Blagojevich: Corruption and general self-aggrandizing wackiness.
Larry Craig: Wide stance.
John Edwards: Rielle Hunter.
Eliot Spitzer: Ashley Dupre.
William Jefferson: $90,000 in very cold cash.
James Traficant: See Blagojevich, Rod.
Marion Barry: Crack, corruption, uncanny resilience.
Jesse Ventura: Says crazy things!
Eric Massa: Groping and/or tickling.
Kwame Kilpatrick: Affair with staffer.
So, out of 10 names, and going all the way back to Marion Crackbarry in 1990 (Traficant, Ventura and Jefferson are not exactly current either), Rosen could only think of one non-South Carolina Republican with a scandal? Really? What about John Ensign’s affair with a staffer and subsequent attempt to pay off her husband? What about the Vice President’s Chief of Staff getting convicted of obstruction of justice? What about the baldfaced corruption of John Doolittle and Tom Delay?
Oh, but wait – Rosen did say “eccentric,” so maybe those guys just weren’t eccentric enough. But are Edwards, Spitzer, Jefferson and Kilpatrick really more “eccentric” than David Vitter cavorting around in a diaper, or Vito Fossella and his two families, or Mr. Seven-Of-Sexclub in Illinois trying to pimp out his wife, or Mark Foley trading explicit IMs with underage pages, or Rush Limbaugh’s creative strategies for obtaining Oxycontin and Viagra, or a gay prostitute sleeping over at the White House, or the Vice President Of The United States shooting a guy in the face??? How could Rosen possibly forget all of that?
And as for Jesse Ventura, well, if you’re going to put people on the list just for saying outrageous wacky things (like calling Cheney a chickenhawk and saying that waterboarding is torture that makes people confess to anything!), you don’t even need to leave the state of Minnesota – or the present – to find Michele Bachmann, who rolls out of bed saying crazier shit than The Body could imagine on his wildest day. Not to mention Sarah Palin, Virginia Foxx, Joe “All Apologies” Barton, Glenn Beck and, well, probably half of the Republican caucus.
Look, I can understand Rosen wanting to defend South Carolina by listing scandal-ridden goofballs from other states, but by my count there are at least four Democrats and one independent who don’t belong on his list, and anywhere from ten to fifteen Republicans who do. Mr. Rosen’s memory is suspiciously selective.