As I've mentioned before, Democratic candidate Michael Arcuri's campaign team appears to have deleted a comment on its web site's message board asking about Arcuri's position on abortion, then deleted the entire message board when the question was asked again.
Democrats here in New York's 24th district are beginning to feel mighty uneasy about Arcuri's silence on the issue, given how easy it would be for Arcuri to put a simple statement up on his web site describing his position on abortion. Arcuri is a lawyer, so let's not pretend that he doesn't have his opinions on the subject all worked out.
Yet, there's a limit I have in how far I'd like to see this debate go. Here's a message that was left on this blog not too long ago, to illustrate:
"I could tell you exactly why Arcuri fails to answer that question [about abortion] but it would need to be in a private manner, or you could just call his EX-wife and/or EX-mistress and ask them."
I really don't care if one of the Democratic candidates has had a sexual affair. For that matter, I don't care if one of the Republican candidates has.
We all do stupid things. Everyone, including politicians. The word is that Mohandas K. Gandhi had sexual affairs outside of his marriage. That didn't make him less of a leader.
What I care about in this race is a discussion of the ideals that shape a candidate's public life, and the competence with which the candidate is able to promote those ideals. Michael Arcuri seems to have some high ideals about public justice, and has carried those out in his public life as District Attorney. Les Roberts has some high ideals when it comes to war, disaster preparedness, and public health, and has worked in accordance with his ideas through his adventures working in war zones like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Zaire.
I do fully understand that other people care about the sexual affairs of candidates, and that's one of the reasons I believe it is unwise to reduce the field of Democratic candidates to just one, handpicked by party bosses who live halfway across the country. It's more likely than not that the national and local media would attack any one of our Democratic candidates without mercy if the candidate was found to be having a sexual affair.
I have no way of knowing if this rumor of a past sexual affair involving Michael Arcuri has any basis in reality. It's quite likely that the rumor is baseless, or a half-truth, handed to me by somebody from a rival campaign. I'm not from Utica, and I really don't like to get involved in nagging narratives like this one. I've seen a lot of people inside and outside politics have their lives ruined by sexual affairs, and I would never want to get involved in trashing somebody involved in a sex scandal. They've already got enough pain to deal with.
What would qualify as a legitimate scandal, in my book? Breaking the law without a good cause, like civil disobedience, would probably qualify. Public, rude behavior would also be worthy of note, as would addiction to alcohol or drugs. Still, compared to support for an ill-conceived policy or connection to public corruption, these personal failings would be secondary.
Readers, if you catch me falling from that standard during this campaign, call me on it.