When a sitting U.S. congressman's behavior is so erratic and inexplicable that his own staffers want him to get psychiatric care and some of them quit in horror upon his reelection, it's a legitimate news story for national media coverage regardless of the political party of the person involved.
Of course, if the congressman were a Republican, it's difficult to imagine his political affiliation would go unmentioned in any media account.
But the federal legislator in question is Oregon Rep. David Wu, a Democrat.
In a February 23 Swampland blog post for Time.com, Amy Sullivan omitted Wu's political affiliation even as she detailed the troubling behavior he's exhibited over the past few months:
- Taking oxycodone from a campaign donor,
- Engaging in such hostile and erratic behavior during the campaign last fall that his staff urged him to be hospitalized for psychiatric care and then quit after he won reelection,
- Talking his way past airport security in Portland in order to hit up deplaning passengers for votes,
- Taking the highly unusual step of making himself his own campaign treasurer after yet another staff member quit last week,
- And--based on what I was hearing from Wu staff way back in 1999 during his first term in Congress--generally being one of the most volatile and verbally abusive members of Congress.
Of course we all hope that Wu gets the help he needs, but it seems odd that we're only now learning of these things well after the November elections. Where were the media before the election?
Oh, that's right, they were busy smearing conservative candidates as extremists, crazies, or incompetents.