In every election cycle, one or more candidates for public office end up getting publicly dragged through the mud over alleged past non-political actions. Sometimes the allegations are true. Sometimes they aren’t. When they are true, they’re sometimes really terrible — and, given the candidate’s policy positions, indicative of hypocrisy — and sometimes blown out of proportion. Sometimes the scandal costs the candidate an election; other times it merely stains the elected official’s reputation.
The current poster child for that phenomenon is, of course, Herschel Walker, Republican nominee for US Senate from Georgia. In the course of his campaign, the “Christian, family values, pro-life candidate” has ended up admitting to fathering three children outside the confines of his marriages and now stands accused of encouraging, supporting, and paying for at least one abortion.
I understand why the GOP recruited Walker to run for Senate. He’s got (and deserves) great positive name recognition, especially in Georgia, for his career in football. His public political positions prior to running clearly fell within the Republican ambit. What wasn’t to like?
Well, let’s be honest: There were signs long prior to his candidacy that he might not be the wisest choice. His first wife publicly accused him of domestic violence circa 2001. He wrote a 2008 book on mental illness. Not on mental illness in general, but on his own diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder, in which he described possessing a dozen distinct identities/personalities.
I guess Republicans might consider 12 senators for the price of electing one a darn good deal. Then again, if half of them are Democrats, it’s a wash, right?
Given the skeletons already released from Walker’s closet, it was a safe bet he had more of them still locked away, and that some of them would get out once he decided to run for US Senate.
We ALL probably have a few skeletons in our closets. Things we’d rather everyone didn’t know. Things we don’t talk about unless we have to. Things we’d find embarrassing, and that would damage our own reputations, if they pranced out and started dancing around in public.
But we’re not running for US Senate, so we don’t have to worry about that.
Herschel Walker IS running for US Senate, so he does.
Life hack: Don’t want your dirty laundry aired in public? Don’t run for public office.
If you feel like you have to run for public office (you don’t; plenty of other people are willing to), sit down with your campaign staff and discuss every embarrassing incident in your life from junior high school on, truthfully and completely, so they can at least have a plan for dealing with the coming live action re-enactment of Walt Disney’s 1929 animated short, “The Skeleton Dance.”
No one is really qualified to be a US Senator. The position shouldn’t exist. Giving some people power over other people’s lives is always a bad idea.
But some people are even more unqualified for the job than others. Herschel Walker seems to be one of them.
Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.