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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Bottoms up at the top

Better to have a teetotaler or a drinker in the White House?

And, when it comes to political leadership, it's not clear that Man from Galilee had more control over his apostles than, say, another J.C. had over Hamilton Jordan. And if Clinton didn't get his gin-blossoming, W.C. Fieldsesque schnozz from gin, where they hell is it coming from? But the main point is well-taken nonetheless; we all want a leader who can relax with an occasional beer. Or in the case of Winston Churchill, the continuous "Papa Cocktail."

We wouldn't want a leader drunk on duty, of course. But there's something about people who are afraid of losing control that's scarier than people who do lose control occasionally.


brian stouder
Tue, 01/30/2007 - 5:55am

an interesting question. If you read American Civil War history (for one example), a common charge that comes up is that this or that general was drunk during a battle - which conjures the profane image of negligent leadership and consequent horribly injured and killed men (at least some of whom would otherwise NOT have been killed)

But then one thinks of US Grant, and the charges against him of being a heavy drinker - and President Lincoln's quip that maybe the Union should send a keg of whatever Grant was drinking to all the other generals!

But people like Churchill & Grant are the exception, I would guess. I prefer to take my chances with a sober leader

Steve Towsley
Tue, 01/30/2007 - 3:35pm

What we're really talking about is alcoholism, the kind of drinking or using in which the man takes a drink, the drink takes another drink, then the drink takes the man. It isn't that that the man is out of control, but that he or she is out of control regularly and with little choice how, where or when.

Since alcoholism is a progressive disease whose rate of decay varies widely and is tough to predict (it may take 3 years to lose your mind, or 30), we can't, in my view, make a general rule to ease our minds. Anyone with a drinking problem is liable to let you down at any moment, no matter how large their hollow legs may seem.

I doubt that agencies like CIA, Secret Service and FBI hire new recruits with any history of chronic problems along these lines (except for informants, we may assume), and I think the standard should be even stiffer for our government officials and most especially our president.

Nobody believes we've never had alcoholics and addicts in all three branches of government -- Supreme Court, Congress and Executive. But we don't hire them on purpose and we like to see them set aside when these handicaps to clear-headedness raise their ugly heads.

Nor will a "fluff'n'fold" detox fill the bill in a few weeks or a couple of months. A year minimum should be required to prove real responsibility, ability to recover, and commitment to a constituency. Four or five years is a lot better.

Just my .02.

Wed, 01/31/2007 - 10:28am

how many "drunks" vote"? that might explain a lot...

So if alcohol is so evil, lets re-instate prohibition- no bars, no liquor store, no veterans clubs to drink at... no drinks, no drunks? right?
no drinks, no drunk drivers. Senator Wyss should be delighted(even though I personally witnessed him drink, and drive, and will submit to a polygraph to attest to the same)

But wait- no drinks- no taxes from bars, veterans clubs, or liquor stores.
no drinks, no drunks, no taxes... which means that- using governments formula of no net tax cuts, without off-setting tax revenues- that means that the tee-totaling bible embracing holy roller types will have to py more taxes to mkae up for the shortfall.
just exactly how much money does the Indian and allencounty governments make from all the combined taxes paid by "drunks" and all the establishments that sell alcohol, or employed in the alcohol industry?

So raise a glass to the drunks- they should be praised as heros for saving us all from other onerous, unavoidable taxes. buy a drunk a beer, and save your tax money...

and as WC fields once said- never trust a man who doesnt drink..