I have a new way to judge the seriousness of politicians and political candidates. What do they choose to do after their political careers are over? In the case of President Bush, as revealed in a recent interview with Laura Bush, the ex-President's focus right now is almost entirely on the well being of his fish. As Mrs. Bush recently indicated in a New York Times interview, her husband is "always worried about our small lake that is stocked with bass, because he loves to fish. There’s always some concern: It’s too hot. It’s too cold. Are the fish not getting enough feed? That’s what he worries about." Kind of amazing, don't you think, that in a world wracked by war, famine, natural disasters, and nuclear catastrophes, this is what Mrs. Bush puts on the record as her husband's primary worry?
And then we have the current preoccupation of the Republican and arch-conservative former Senator from the State of New York - Alphonse M. D'Amato. The Senator, it turns out, is the chief lobbyist for the internet poker industry. Senator D'Amato, who has proudly represented and promoted such august companies as PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker, recently learned that the heads of all of these outfits have been charged with fraud and money laundering. Mr. D'Amato who has apparently garnered millions as a lobbyist for these groups and has contributed huge sums from his earnings to other arch-conservative politicians in New York, has boldly declared, "Online poker is not a crime and should not be treated as such." Right on, Senator. How bold you are.
Should examples like this influence our judgments about the seriousness of current politicians who seem intent on controlling a budget process that could set this nation's social priorities for decades to come?