By Tim Redmond
So Gavin Newsom admits he has a drinking problem and is going to get counseling. Good for him. I hope he joins AA, goes to meetings, takes it seriously and cleans himself up. If he really has an alcohol problem, it won't be easy, and he deserves all the support he can get.
But frankly, his brand of treatment sounds a bit weak. He's not going into residential rehab; he's not giving up any of his duties. He's going to get some help from Mimi Silbert at Delancey Street, and even she is a bit shakey about what's going on, according to the Chron:
"It's true,'' Silbert said. "I don't know if I would use the word 'counseling,' but I will be helping the mayor."
I wish him luck, and I really mean it. I have had plenty of alcoholic friends, one of whom died of it, and it's no joke. But if all he's going to do is quit drinking and call Mimi Silbert every now and then, well, he really didn't need to make a big deal of it, and hold a staff meeting and tell everyone. Again: He's not going into rehab and isn't planning to miss any work. And if, as his campaign consultant Eric Jaye says, Newsom isn't blaming the alcohol for his bad behavior, then why can't he just do it quietly? Why the big announcement?
Well, because claiming a drinking problem and "seeking treatment" is a great excuse for a politician who's been caught in a sex scandal.
I hate to be a cynic, but I'm reminded of Bill Clinton telling the nation that he was seeking spiritual counseling -- from Jesse Jackson -- after the Monica Lewinsky affair.
(SFist had the great line:
We also wonder if he'll do AA like Ruby did and so have to confess to everyone who he has wronged. Imagine that press conference.)