Dear Big Daddy,
How come Sacramento never has any good sex scandals? Seems like something
always is going on in D.C., but here in the California capital, it’s
dullsville. Are Capitol denizens less sexy than their Washington
counterparts, or are reporters here just lazier?
Oh, I don’t know if I’d pick on the fourth estate for missing any Sacramento
sex scandals that may be lurking in the shadows. Those folks generally are
willing to write about anything superfluous and meaningless. Just look at
the coverage of the so-called “Tapegate” incident involving the governor’s
private comments about a “hot-blooded” Latina lawmaker. That should tell you
right away that if there was anything out there smacking of a sex scandal,
it would be on the front page of some daily publication faster than you
could say “paternity test.”
Is an assemblyman from Merced inherently less sexy than a freshman
Congressman from Ottumwa, Iowa? I don’t think so, but then, I’m not a
fair-haired lass with a twinkle in my eye and a hint of mischief in my
heart, so perhaps I’m not the best person to pose that question to. However,
I will say unequivocally that sex appeal has absolutely zero link to the
amount of sex elected officials have or the number of sex scandals that
break out on the front pages. Whether you’re in Sacramento or Washington,
Mickey Gilley got it right: The girls all get prettier at closing time.
Now, back when the California State Legislature was making a difference in
people’s lives by building roads, universities and the state aqueduct
system, instead of dictating to people how long they could tie their dog up
for, we didn’t have any sex scandals. That’s not to say we didn’t have any
sex, we just never had anyone turn it into a scandal.
Well, for openers, we gave reporters better things to write about back in
those days, plus, readers cared more about my policy fights with Pat Brown
than about who was leaving my, or anyone’s, apartment at 2:00 a.m. More than
anything though, writers kept whatever they knew about a member’s private
life to themselves, figuring who he slept with didn’t really matter to the
voters. Hell, I’d argue that it probably made folks into better lawmakers by
relaxing their bodies and opening their minds so they could focus on policy
matters during the daylight hours.
Another reason why you see more stories about folks in Washington getting
caught with their britches down is thanks to the sheer size differences
between the two bodies. Once you get rid of the senior crowd in the two
Senate houses, it means you’ve got 80 people who can get caught with things
where they’re not supposed to be in Sacramento and 435 people who can get
themselves into trouble back in the beltway.
Then, there’s the ego factor. Let’s face it, as pompous and egotistical as
some of these freshmen Assembly members in Sacramento are–a fact that breaks
my heart to face after spending so much time building “the people’s house”
into the most-respected legislative body in the nation–their counterparts in
Washington are 10-times worse. No doubt, they all suffer from the “I’m too
smart to get caught” disease that has so far proven incurable. Forget
finding a cure for the clap, if we could stamp out the “I’m too smart to
(fill in the blank)” syndrome, can you imagine how many other problems we’d
solve at the same time? It won’t cure cancer, but finding a cure for chronic
stupidity is a goal nearly as noble.
Just because you aren’t reading about any Sacramento sex scandals doesn’t
mean there’s a Puritan revolution going on in the city. Perhaps it means–and
I realize the chances of this are rather remote–that the folks under the
Golden Dome are better at keeping their private lives private.
You should be less concerned about what everyone else is doing and who
they’re doing it with and more concerned with why you’re alone with nothing
more than a computer keyboard. As Big Daddy has been advising everyone for
months, get off the couch and get in the game–especially a game like this,
which works to relax the body and open the mind like nobody’s business.