● Rifling through cable channels last night I came across the surrealistic sight of CNN host Eliot Spitzer intently discussing the political ramifications of a sexual misconduct criminal charge in New York City against the leader of the International Monetary Fund. Of course Mr. Spitzer now has time, now that he isn’t governor of New York. And he has expertise in terms of the general subject matter.
● One thing about such high-profile scandals, they cut across all political party lines. The IMF leader is a French socialist, Spitzer is a Democrat, former Senator John Ensign of Nevada (who resigned on May 3) is a Republican. And today brings fresh news about former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and his heretofore unknown child: maybe he will now seek advice from the former Senator from North Carolina, John Edwards (D).
● While most elected officials lead private lives beyond reproach, I have worked over the years with a few from the Pacific Northwest who fell short of the ideal. Senators Bob Packwood of Oregon and Larry Craig of Idaho come to mind. One case vivid in my memory is that of Senator Brock Adams. He was running hard in 1992 for reelection to the U. S. Senate while under some light clouds of alleged improprieties. Early one week he called me at my office to urge me to come over to Seattle to meet with Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, who was flying in from Washington, D.C., to help with a political dinner, a fundraiser that Saturday night. Senator Adams thought it would be good if the Majority Leader heard directly about our industry’s difficulties in gaining trade access to Japan for our fresh apples. I chose not to travel over the Cascades that weekend, but did agree to personally purchase a ticket to the dinner event being held for his re-election. (As an aside, this is an insight into how campaign fund raising by incumbents sometimes works.) On Sunday, The Seattle Times published a front page exposé on the serial problems the Senator posed towards young, trusting women within his reach. Under very dark clouds, he was soon out of his race for re-election, thus paving the way for the then little-known challenger, Patty Murray, to succeed him.