« Give a Republican Enough Rope... | Main | State Senator Obama, Foodie in 2001 »

Made in Oregon: All Politics is Local

made-in-oregon.jpg I recently moved from my beloved Chicago to the Peoples Republic of Portland and it all happened as my former neighbor (literally--we lived two blocks away) was being hauled away to the pokey. The Rod Blagojevich story is Chicago politics at its best, which is to say politics at it worst. So it was with a little satisfaction that read about the troubles facing my newly adopted hometown's mayor.

Sam Adams (real name, I swear. And it gets better) was caught giving it to an intern named Beau Breedlove (I couldn't make it up if I tried).

According to the Oregonian this week, "Adams, who is openly gay, at first said his relationship with Beau Breedlove was strictly intern-mentor. He later acknowledged a sexual relationship and said the 'mentoring part' of their relationship was contrived."

It's all too much for a cynical old bastard like me to absorb so I turned to a good friend who has lived in Portland for a while to give me some perspective.

The biggest issue seems to be that he lied: he was confronted by two different reporters (who had heard rumors that he was sexing up an intern), and he denied them, point blank, and called the rumors dirty politics, homophobic, etc. -- he really took the high ground, when he could have just shrugged it away as none of anybody's business.

But he says if people found out they were indeed involved, nobody would have believed that they'd waited until he turned 18. So in order not to be perceived as a liar, he lied. Not under oath or anything, but still.

The gay community is essentially up in arms on two fronts: falling over themselves in support of him, or falling over each other as they scramble away from him. Three papers in town, including JUST OUT, the GLBT paper, have called for his resignation. No recall petitions may be filed until he's been in office for six months, so the angry mobs are just going to have to wait to light their actual torches, and hope he ups and quits immediately. I'd say that the average Portlander could give a shit about the whole thing, and wouldn't want to be perceived as homophobic -- his orientation was barely an issue during the campaign, except as a source of extreme pride by the gay community -- but naturally, the lying thing is kind of reeky.

My opinion? Well, which one. I'm all over the place. I definitely think it would be a mistake for him to resign: he's a born leader with an incredible sense of civic duty and is, in many, many ways, the ideal person to be mayor of Portland. He deserves to be mayor in a way that nobody else does, and the city (which is facing major change and growth in the next 25 years) needs him right now -- it certainly doesn't need a quick-change stop-gap plug-the-nearest-bozo-in-there-and-pray approach to this situation.

But I wish he'd handled the whole thing much, much better, and I can't completely support him. I wish he hadn't lied, but more than that? I wish he'd had the sense not to put his entire career (and by default, pride-by-association of the gay community) in jeapordy, just to chase a piece of barely-legal tail. Admittedly, I think the guy he was involved with is an opportunistic douche-nozzle with a power-daddy-complex and porn mouth, but I really think the whole thing casts Sam Adams' emotional maturity into doubt in a way that makes me really uncomfortable: sure it's none of my business, but it doesn't stop me from knowing it. Or feeling like I have to defend his behavior, just because I'm gay.

I feel the same way about Madonna.


So, while the details of this scandal are pretty funny if taken one by one, the sum of what it all means is actually pretty sad. Maybe it's time for me to take stock of my own cynicism, but Breedlove getting nailed by Sam Adams is just too funny.



this all smacks of theban pederasty.

i don't have any sympathy for him and the situation in which he finds himself.

he lied to his constituency. he took advantage of a professional situation for personal gain. he took advantage of a teenager while rebounding from a split from his former partner. he didn't address the situation or live up to his responsibility to public office while running his campaign.

gay, straight, whatever... at the time he was 42 and knocking it out with a teen. i don't care what gender or sexual preference you are. when you're 42 and your in a relationship with an 18 year old it's only a relationship of power.

sorry, from what i can tell from my scant research, i just don't see this guy as a leader. not a civic leader for an entire constituency that reaches across gender, race and sex. maybe a cheer leader for gay rights.

hope he enjoyed that slap and tickle with the little boy. if there's any justice, he'll fall from his perch.

no hypocrisy or party preference. same goes for larry craig, ted haggard, and mark foley. the dick swings both ways.

by the way, how does he deserve to be mayor more than anybody else. because he's gay? because he's a liberal? because he's so civic minded?

intentions go hand in hand with actions, conduct, and character. he's fallen down a lot in those categories.

I agree with Vitas. We can't be havin' double standards.

What double standard? He lied about a sexual relationship. Big deal. I didn't give a shit when Bill Clinton did it, and I don't care about this guy either. That's a single standard.

It's perfectly legal to bang teenagers as long as they're 18 or 19. This country is full of prudes and busybodies.

Larry Craig, Ted Haggard, et al, deserve scorn not because they enjoy freaky sex, but because they're hypocritical about it. Passing anti-gay legislation, preaching against homosexuality while smoking poles when nobody's looking. THAT is a double standard. And it's our civic duty to call them out on it.

I only mean that he shouldn't be treated any differently than anybody else in this situation. How in/appropriate his actions were is a whole nother matter.

just because it's legal, doesn't mean it's right. i still stand by my comments about relationships between adults and adolescents being about power.

go ahead, think of me as a prude, but banging it out with a teen and lying about your relationship while running for public office is not exactly the high example i wish for in my civic leaders. yeah, clinton included.

going back to relationships of power, take this example (not meant to be directly in reference to the politician in question, but just for debate):

a 42 year old man meets an 18 year old girl who is easily influenced by older men given unresolved daddy issues and makes the conscious decision to pursue a purely sexual relationship. through deceit he coerces the girl into belief that there is a strong romantic relationship that only they can truly understand. he proceeds to fuck the living shit out of her for a few months and then tosses her aside like yesterdays trash. the girl, distraught, devastated and even more confused about relationships moves forward into a life of unfulfilled relationships.

so, he messed her up, but it's all ok, because it was legal. no harm, no foul, right?

if it's legal, then it's all right.

given that train of thought, it can be strongly debated that actions under the bush administration were justified because they could interpret the laws in their favor. no moral high ground can be applied, because if it's the law, that's all that matters.

First off, the Bush Administration absolutely broke laws. See warrantless wiretaps...

As for your "yesterday's trash -> devastated" sotry, I don't see how it would be any different if the dude was 42 or if he was the girl's age. She's still going to be devastated if her boyfriend ends up being a dick.

I love how "adolescence" keeps getting longer and longer. When you're 18, you're legally an adult. But in the late 70s, states started raising the drinking age to 21.

I'm not saying that all 18-year-olds are emotionally ready to be having sex. Especially not with creepy old dudes. I'm just saying it's none of my business (or anybody else's) what two consenting adults do with each other in the privacy of their freaky sex chamber.

this is an area where we'll just have to disagree then. there is always going to be grey areas between interpretation of legality and ethical conduct. just because you can interpret a law, apply it and be supported by a court of law does not necessarily lend credence that it is an ethical act nor morally acceptable.

case in point, warrantless wire taps. this was actually upheld by a ruling and opinion provided by us intelligence surveillance court of review.

no decision of the usisc has gone in front of the supreme court since it was formed in the late 1970s. and given that the supreme court has already refused to review this on appeal earlier in 2008, i doubt it will anytime soon.

now add to this the reprehensible decision by the supreme court, voting strictly down ideological lines, regarding the ability to use evidence in criminal cases obtained in violation of the constitution, and you can find that just since something is viewed as legal and upheld in courts, doesn't necessarily make it ethically correct or morally acceptable.

sometimes laws are the baseline for the lowest allowable, acceptable actions in a society. just because the line is drawn at 18 for consent, doesn't mean that this is the standard-bearer that we should strive for.

so, call me a prudish to believe that someone may be ethically mischievous and self serving by exploiting a position of power to corrupt someone of lessor position. oh, and i'm not talking about the 18 year old and the mayor any longer. i'm talking about the power abused by the bush administration, the attorney generals office, the courts that upheld the bush administrations actions as legal in a court of law against the people of the united states the the constitution that are freedoms are based upon.

but then again, why do i care what freaky shit goes one between some folks wearing black gowns as long as it's "legal"?


nicely done

but then again, why do i care what freaky shit goes one between some folks wearing black gowns as long as it's "legal"?

You care because Administration policies and Supreme Court decisions affect us and our civil liberties for generations. Who someone is screwing does not affect us. That's all.

Post a comment

Get GLONO merch!