Can I buy you a drink congressman? Perhaps a nice Cabernet?
Mug Shot thanks to FossellaFive.org
Drunk driving AND a secret love child all revealed in one scandal. People are arguing over what to call this scandal. Simple "Vinogate?" "Double the Family Values?" "A Congressman Walked into a Bar?" Or, a suggestion on Daily Kos, "In-Vito Fertilization."
The behavior of Vito Fossella leaves much to be desired, though perhaps by Republican standards where even pedophilia is accepted, maybe he isn't so bad.
According to an eyewitness account:
Then Vito Fossella walked in with his pal, Brian, who was evidently drunk. Roberto recognized Vito through his involvement with the Republican Party and invited him over, where I noticed his lips and teeth were horribly stained with red wine.
"Can I buy you a drink congressman? Perhaps a nice Cabernet?" I said.
He was dumbfounded that I got the order right. I ordered one for his pal, too, who shuffled off to the bathroom where I found him later slumped in a chair outside the door. The manager of Logan Tavern caught sight of this mess and complained to our party, which subsequently dispatched the congressman to tend to his lamb...
Suddenly, Brian rose to his feet and stumbled to the corner and fell like a dead flounder on the table, which held his weight for approximately three seconds before it crashed to the ground. I went over and tried to get him to his feet, but couldn't budge his drunk ass until the waiter gave me a hand. We were able to get him up and I walked him out to the curb where I assured him the fresh air would do him good. All the while Vito shook his head disapprovingly with a mischievous, cheap, red lipstick grin on his face.
Roberto was holding the cab door open not ten feet away, but Vito Fossella decided he and Brian were well enough to walk ... and apparently drive back to Alexandria ... drunk and delirious.
Which all is pretty normal for a couple of drunken frat boys. But Vito Fossella is a Congressman and spends a great deal of time on his "family values" high horse, yet doesn't seem to live up to his values. Still, boys will be boys and there is nothing illegal about being a drunk asshole. But then he chose to get behind the wheel of a car. At that point his behavior went from irresponsible to reprehensible and illegal, and he was endangering lives. The comment of the waiter at the bar is telling:
"I can't imagine him [Fosella] getting into a car. They were [both] incapable of driving," Josh Hahn, a waiter who was working Wednesday night at the Logan Tavern, said of Fossella and his plastered pal named "Brian."
Lest you think the waiter is exaggerating, according to the same article:
Fossella...had a blood-alcohol level of 0.17, twice the state's 0.08 legal limit.
No wonder he looks so glum these days (photo from same article):
Will Fossella resign? Will more Democrats come out of the woodwork to run against him? Rumor has it the DCCC is speaking to Michael Cusick, though other rumors are Cusick may not be interested. Still, Vinogate or whatever has suddenly made this more of a competitive race. That tends to attract more candidates.
Of the existing candidates in the race, Dominic Recchia has remained silent, continuing what can only be called a stealth campaign where he shows up to no forums, no clubs and does nothing but rely on outside money from developers. Steve Harrison has taken the high road and issued statements that are eminently reasonable and kind.
Driving while intoxicated is a very serious charge. Over 17,000 people die every year as a result of such irresponsible and illegal action according to Mothers against Drunk Driving Only 2 days ago MADD held a luncheon at which I was represented. I stand shoulder to shoulder with MADD in its quest to rid our society of this scourge and I certainly hope that all candidates and elected officials from all parties and all places would do the same. As elected officials and potential elected officials we have an obligation to set an example for society. Lawmakers cannot expect the people to follow the laws if they themselves disregard them.
To me, the key point is this:
Lawmakers cannot expect the people to follow the laws if they themselves disregard them.
Once the love child story came out, Harrison issued a second classy and reasonable statement:
Steve Harrison Statement on Fossella
It is unfortunate that Congressman Fossella’s indiscretions have now had an impact on so many innocent people and lives. I wish only the best to his family in this time of personal crisis and hope they can see themselves through to a better moment.
The Congressman indicates that politics is the last thing on his mind right now. While I understand that on a human level, the simple fact is that over the next six months, with a looming election, he will have to juggle his congressional duties, the campaign and his personal responsibilities. Only he can decide if he can properly represent the people of this district during this time. He must carefully weigh all his options including resignation or not running again.
If he decides to run, the people will decide in November if his recent behavior and revelations should disqualify him from continuing in office.
There are great issues to be debated in this campaign - the War in Iraq, healthcare, the economy, the environment and energy, just to name a few. It is now my intention to get past this distraction and return to those issues
Perhaps this illustrates why I like Steve Harrison so much as a candidate. He is a genuine good person and would make an excellent Congressman.
You can support Steve Harrison through my NY State Act Blue Site.