I'd Never Have Driven Drunk If I Hadn't Been Drinking

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dirty old man.jpg

Disgraced congressman Mark Foley (above left) has pulled out an excuse as old as fermentation. On Friday, after resigning over what White House spokesman Tony Snow calls "naughty e-mails," Foley announced that he was going into rehab for treatment of "alcoholism and related behavioral problems." Yesterday, The New York Times reports, his lawyer "said that Mr. Foley had sent the inappropriate e-mail messages while under the influence of alcohol and that he had kept his drinking problem secret." Top secret: "A former aide and other associates said in interviews that they did not believe Mr. Foley had a drinking problem."

You really can't blame Foley for trying, though. Wait a minute—yes, you can. The drink-made-me-do-it excuse is transparently an attempt to get credit for accepting responsibility without actually accepting it. Is anyone more sympathetic to, say, Bob Ney or Mel Gibson because they're drunks in addition to being, respectively, crooked and anti-Semitic? How many Americans still believe alcohol has the transformative powers Foley, Gibson, and Ney ascribe to it? On balance, I suspect (hope?), the rehab shtick has to hurt more than it helps.

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  1. If we could legalize certain drugs we could give politicians some REAL cover.

  2. It’s tough being an alcoholic these days. Not only do you have to worry about esophageal varicies and scirrosis, but apparently you are now a gay boyluster and anti-semitic as well.

    They really need to remake The Days Of Wine And Roses.

  3. I’m assuming that the entire Republican leadership was drunk (more likely Oxycontin) for the last year, and this is what caused them to cover up for Foley.

  4. The reason blaming alcohol works as at least a quasi-excuse is that most Americans can identify with getting drunk and doing something stupid they would have not done while sober.

  5. He’s gotta get rid of the evil thetans taking over his body. Or whatever.

  6. An internet connection and alcohol are a dodgy combination. Anyone ever get a nice package from Amazon with some books and CDs you don’t remember buying?

    As usual, the Onion covered this years ago:

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/39045

  7. How many Americans still believe alcohol has the transformative powers Foley, Gibson, and Ney ascribe to it?

    Can’t speak with regards to Foley and Ney, but as far as Gibson is concerned, all I’ve got to say is, “you’re not Catholic, are you?”

  8. Now, instead of just an idiotic perverted asshole with pedophilic tendencies, he is an idiotic perverted alcoholic asshole with pedophilic tendencies.

    I suspect the alcoholic part just gets him away from the media for say, oh, I don’t know….five more weeks.

  9. I was thinking about this yesterday and this morning… the way that “going into rehab” is more and more frequently used as cover for transgressions by public figures. I think it’s a ploy that PR guys make their clients use as a last resort. Secondary chute type thing.

    A person becomes a ‘victim’ of the awful plague of drugs and alcohol. The Devil Made Me Do It. They also get out of the public eye for a time. They can later claim they’ve reformed themselves and make another shot at regaining credibility.

    But in Foley’s case I think it’s pretty useless. When you have to have your lawyer make statements like, “Mark Foley is NOT a pedophile”, you can assume your chances of future reelection are rather poor.

    Technically I think he IS a pedophile – just not a pederast? I’m not sure the distinctions matter much at this point.

    JG

  10. The story is TRUE. Polish media reported it as well. The fellow faces up to 3 years in jail, which for him might actually be an improvement in his condition as he is homeless.

    http://wiadomosci.onet.pl/1353809,2677,kioskart.html

  11. Is anyone more sympathetic to, say, Bob Ney or Mel Gibson because they’re drunks

    You write a line like this without mentioning the acknowledged masters of the art? I am so cancelling my subscription.

  12. TK:
    Sit down, and shut-up, old man.

  13. In vino veritas.

  14. Mel Reynolds should have thought of this. Foley better start writing real nice letters to Bush starting right now.

  15. Well, when I worked for the county here in AZ, if you got caught doing something really bad, all you’d have to do is cop to a substance abuse problem, you’d at least be able to keep your job. I don’t think it mattered what substance you claimed no control over, but since it’s more acceptable to be an alcoholic than a heroin addict, that’s probably the best one.

    As a matter of fact, there was a lady who worked with me who had really erratic behaviour as far as showing up to work and whatnot, and everybody was pretty well convinced she was on the sauce. She disappeared for a couple weeks, then came back to her job, which was still waiting for her. She told me about the “classes” she was taking and that she had been having some issues.

    Me? I just quit…felt like more of a man to simply move on than to make up some story about how I was an alcoholic. While that may or may not be true, it was really the soul-sucking properties of working for a large government entity that made me not want to go into work, and not any drinking that I may or may not do. 🙂

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