Experts Expound

Experts Expound

“San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, fighting scandal, says he’s going to enter a treatment program for alcohol abuse. What impact will this have on his political career?”

Don’t get a fork out to stick in him: He can rebound easily if he handles the next few weeks and months well. Ask Bill Clinton.

It hurts him, but it’s not a disqualifier. He just needs to become known for something other than same sex marriage, drinking and womanizing before he turns into a punch line. On the other hand, maybe he and Antonio can have an Infidelity Primary. If there’s a Democratic candidate for governor with a happy marriage, now would be a good time to step up.

The Playboy Mayor should be re-elected easily but was already unlikely to capture statewide office after playing the role of a liberal George Wallace on gay marriage and partying with a 20-year-old model. Newsom’s self-destruction is good news for Jerry Brown’s ambitions–an undivided Bay Area base in a Dem primary–and therefore bad news for Antonio’s 2010 dreams.

The fact that he had the affair with the wife of a trusted colleague and friend sets it apart from similar tawdry episodes. Especially among men, I think this calls into question his core principles and trustworthiness. Thus, I think it may be very damaging to his political career.

Well, it’s going to be darn crowded down there, that’s for sure. It seems that every politician and celebrity who’s in trouble has entered one of these programs. He’s following the standard model: Fess up, say you’re sorry and go into rehab. But this one’s worse than usual, even by San Francisco standards. Booze, OK. Sex, even better. But betrayal of your best friend? He may have gone too far.

He can regain his footing on the political ladder if he stays off the booze, exercises better judgment about his private life and continues to do a good job as mayor.

Puts him on the sidelines in the short term, but he’s young and voters can be very forgiving.

He’s fessed up to a problem, which makes him the newest member of the “mea culpa” gang. This gives him the opportunity to lift himself to the next rung on the resurrection ladder–that of “reformed wastrel.” Infused with the proper balance of humility and confidence, he then can march triumphantly back into the arms of a proud and grateful electorate. Or, he could do something else as outrageously stupid and spend his remaining days in the political gutter. Could break either way.

Let’s not write the guy off today. Let’s see how he rebounds for his re-election bid and then throw the dirt on his grave.

The people from whom we sought opinions: Andrew Acosta, A.G. Block, Roy Behr, Don Wilcox, Jon Fleischman, Evan Goldberg, Deborah Gonzalez, Dan Schnur, Jason Kinney, Tom Kise, Karen Hanretty, Kevin Spillane, Michael Houston, Adam Mendelsohn, Matt Ross, Sam Delson, Mike Madrid, Morgan Crinklaw, Dave Lesher, Richard Zeiger, Mike Madrid, Margita Thompson, Ken Gibson, Ralph Simoni, Bob Hertzberg, Scott Baugh, Steve Maviglio, Tony Quinn, Peter DeMarco, Adam Probolsky, Barbara O’Connor, Jack Pitney.

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