- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 4, 2000

Let's get this straight. The Democrats think Texas Gov. George W. Bush is unfit to be president because on Labor Day in Kennebunkport, Me., in 1976, he had a couple of beers too many, and drove home slowly to his family with his sister and two friends in his car. When stopped by the police, who had observed his car swerving slightly, he took what was coming to him without grumbling or complaint. He pleaded guilty, paid a $150 fine and had his Maine drivers license suspended for 30 days. The officer who arrested Mr. Bush told the Associated Press that Mr. Bush was a "picture of integrity" in his dealing with the police.

Now, the Democrats of course are the party which gave this country some of its most famous lushes. Lyndon Johnson comes to mind, a maniac behind the steering wheel, who saw no problem driving around on his ranch with an open beer can in his hand. What Johnson would have said about all this beggars the imagination. Then there's Ted Kennedy, who not only ran off the bridge in Chappaquiddick, but left Mary Ann Kopechne to drown while he hightailed it back to the family compound in Martha's Vinyard. Massachusetts residents have re-elected Mr. Kennedy to the Senate year after year, despite his sordid history. And let us not forget President Clinton, whose womanizing and carrying-on in the White House and his lies about it got him the distinction of being the first president in American history to face an impeachment trial. The Democrats are hardly the party to throw stones, one would think.

The political motivation and timing of this story smells to high heaven. Fearful that their candidate is faltering, Democrats are desperately reaching into their bag of dirty tricks. The Gore campaign is pretending innocence, but the lawyer who gave the story to the press in Maine in the first place, Tom Connolly, was a Gore delegate at the Democratic convention in August, and therefore indisputably connected to the Gore campaign. Furthermore, Mr. Connolly, who ran unsuccessfully for governor of Maine two years ago, yesterday stated that the case was brought to his attention by "a public figure" who had been told by someone who was in Biddeford District Court when Mr. Bush's 1976 case came up. Who this "public figure" was he has not disclosed.

Now, driving drunk is obviously not a smart thing to do, but Mr. Bush says he learned from his mistakes and has not had a drink in 16 years. Furthermore, he reacted with dignity and openness when the story broke. His reaction stands in stark contrast to the behavior we have seen from President Clinton and Vice President Gore for the past eight years. That ought to be enough for America's voters.

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