Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Are You Still With Us, Dr. Wu?

Looks like bad things don't just happen to Democrats at the national level. Here in Oregon, incumbent Democratic Congressman David Wu is one of today's celebrities. He is in one of the nation's most hotly-contested congressional races, going against Republican candidate Goli Ameri (gee, her last name almost sounds like "America", doesn't it!) She is an Iranian-American who enjoys the freedoms inherent in living in America, as we all do. In her ads she looks prim, proper, and attractive. She is usually pictured in a nice home. Her politics are fairly far to the right, but many people will probably bypass their critical thinking skills when they see the positive TV image her campaign has presented: patriotism, love of America, love of Oregon; home and hearth, cleanliness, family values, etc.

I am not sure Ameri had anything to do with today's story in the Portland Oregonian, but the newspaper denies it relied on any Ameri or GOP sources. Someone revealed to the media that Wu physically abused a girlfriend 28 years ago when he was a 21-year-old student at Stanford University. The story has been in the works for some time now. He allegedly tried to force her to have sex with him, and that is definitely unacceptable behavior. Neither Wu nor his ex-girlfriend want to talk about the incident. She did not wish to press charges after the incident, and he sought counseling soon after. He apparently has not repeated such actions during the last 28 years, but of course these revelations have necessarily put him on the defensive.

Today Wu made a public apology for the behavior, long ago as it was, and he says he has had to live with guilt for the last 28 years... but in today's sound-byte media climate, will such a statement be enough to keep him even with Ameri on Election Day? I have to wonder. In her political ads, she won't have to mention things Wu did in 1976 because plenty of folks who support her will be doing that job for her by writing letters to the Oregonian's editorial page. All of this will touch a collective nerve among voters when it comes to David Wu... so is he finished? I would imagine so.

From all appearances, the past has caught up with Wu. The questions I have with the release of this story are in its timing and in the relevance of it to present-day campaigning. The Wu story comes out close to Election Day... should the paper have released the story or kept a lid on it? They released it... "Liberal media"? Hah! Anyway, Wu messed up in a big way 28 years ago. Does that mean he should not be allowed to continue serving in Congress today? Many Democrats may say so now, and an even greater number of Republicans surely will.

Even though they may not have anything to do with revealing Wu's past, it seems that whenever the Republicans want to avoid a close race they bring out the heavy clubs and try to browbeat or bludgeon their opponents to help assure themselves of victory. Regarding the congressional race for the district in which I live, rural politics are so right-wing that Oregon Representative Greg Walden (R) hardly even has to campaign, let alone sling mud... because I think he knows it will be extremely difficult for any Democrat to beat him.)

Those who run today's GOP are masters of media manipulation, and their timing is usually impeccable. Fairness, compromise, thoughtful discussion, and respectful behavior... all appear to have become things of the past for today's Republican leaders. In many cases, noble traits have disappeared in favor of a vicious attack mentality. My belief is that much of this has been brought about within the GOP at an everyday-citizen level by uncompromising talk-radio attack artists like Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh, belligerent television types like Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, and bellicose authors such as Ann Coulter. I believe there are millions of good-hearted Republicans who have basically been brainwashed and transformed into angry militant types by these media personalities who say (or insinuate) that such behavior is acceptable. "Liberal media"? Hah...

During the Clinton impeachment hearings, it was revealed that Illinois GOP Rep. Henry Hyde had had an affair. Hyde dismissed the charge, referring to it as a "youthful indiscretion". (So he was 42 years old when he was committing adultery. Wasn't that "youthful" of him?) Most Republicans forgave Hyde for some inappropriate sexual behavior (the GOP seems to be totally hung up on all matters sexual.) People deny the Wu story has anything to do with politics. Even with that said, Wu's past bad behavior deals with sex, he is a Democrat, he has a House seat the GOP desperately wants, they are pushing a wholseome/appealing candidate, and it is three weeks to the day before the 2004 election. Despite all the denials, does this not have all the earmarks of another GOP Dirty Trick?

Whatever he did, let's hope David Wu and the woman involved have not had any further problems similar to the one in 1976, and that they are effectively dealing with the situation. Their personal welfare and the welfare of those around them is of the most importance. I also find myself hoping David Wu can stand the heat and stay in the kitchen, even though there are some Republicans in there who would like to boil him... and maybe now some Democrats as well. Goli Ameri may or may not be into destroying people, but there are many in her party who operate that way. We badly need a Democrat's voice and experience in Washington, D.C. more than we need that of another rank-and-file soldier in America's army of angry goose-stepping Republicans. But how badly do we need someone with David Wu's background, even if the incident occurred 28 years ago, when he was 21?

I won't have to make that choice November 2, because David Wu is not the congressional representative from the district in which I live. If I did have to choose, I'm not sure what I would do. It poses an interesting philosophical question... Does a Democrat voter admit that what Wu did was distasteful, but look at the bigger picture and vote for him anyway, knowing that the Democrats can't afford to lose yet another House seat to the bloodthirsty modern-day GOP? Or does a voter say "under no circumstances will I vote for someone who did something as disgusting as that, GOP domination or not", and then vote for either Goli Ameri or a third-party candidate? What do you think Oregonians should do? It is a real quandary.

Are you still with us, Dr. Wu?


Blogger J. Marquis said...

Was the woman involved with Dr. Wu by any chance named
Katy? Do you think it's possible she lied?

8:54 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Ah yes, I knew you would enjoy the primitive reference to Steely Dan!!

9:39 PM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

It's something I learned at my old school. The teacher was a former gaucho who owned a herd of big black cows.
He taught a class called Pretzel Logic. I got in trouble because I called his philosophy a royal scam. He replied that only a fool would say that. So Josie and I got in the Midnight Cruiser and drove away.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Man, you sure PEGged that one, you godwhacker!

8:24 PM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

Looking forward to seeing you on Black Friday!

6:11 AM  

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