Nuthin' but a G Thang

G as in Gallagher. OK, credit the Tampa Tribune’s Michael Fechter with a huge scoop, scoring decades-old court files that allowed the state media to explore more deeply Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Gallagher’s long-rumored wild past. You can read Fechter’s story here.

Fechter’s story showed a great deal of restraint in terms of the others involved, declining to name fully Gallagher’s first wife and not naming at all the woman with whom he had an extramarital affair in the late 1970s. The rest of Florida's dailies and the blogosphere did not show similar restraint: both of their previous names (each has since remarried) were included in stories about about the revelation carried statewide by the Associated Press.

So, is all this coverage of a candidate’s long-ago life fair or germane?

A candidate’s private life becomes personal when it demonstrates character flaws that voters need to know about in making their choices for public offices. Allegations of criminal behavior are clearly fair game; stealing dogs is, too. Infidelity is a touchier subject, one that most daily newspapers are extremely cautious in raising. Moralists among us say infidelity is absolutely fair game and a campaign issue; others would say, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” As for the allegations of marijuana use, I have a strong position on this: We should not elect any public officials who have NOT tried marijuana. Period.

So weigh in, Blurbexians, what do you think about the Gallagher story?


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