Monday, February 2, 2009

My Predictable Response to Michael Phelps and Tom Daschle

I was really surprised to hear the recent revelations about Michael Phelps and Tom Daschle.

Not surprised that they *did it.* Not particularly judgmental about the behavior itself, either. But honestly, in both cases, I'm surprised that more precautions weren't taken -- either by the principal himself or by one of his PR people -- to protect him from himself.

Doesn't Michael Phelps have an agent or handlers constantly reminding him that just about anything he does could instantly be captured to be lodged forever in Facebook or YouTube infamy? And doesn't Tom Daschle have an accountant whose main job in life is to make sure that the Honorable Gentleman files properly, and on time? I know my own taxes this year are going to be a bit complicated (what with the home purchase and all) and I'm paranoid enough to try to farm out some outside help.

I noticed in both Phelps statements -- following the DUI arrest, and again following the picture revelations, he started off the prepared statement by stating his age, with the obvious implication that it should somehow serve as a mitigating factor.

That doesn't really work for me. If 23 year-olds can fly multi-million dollar aircraft, drive nuclear submarines, and walk the beat on Haifa Street, they're clearly making *big-boy* decisions in my book. But even on a basic level, many 23 year-olds have mortgages, car payments, families of their own, and all the other accoutrements that come with responsible adulthood. Shoot, many 19 year-olds (Phelps' age at time of DUI arrest) deal with all of that stuff.

Again, just want to wrap this up by re-iterating that it's not my place to judge how Michael Phelps spends his free time, or how Tom Daschle might have misunderstood something about his consulting business.

I'll save those calls for companies with endorsements and the U.S. Senate.

But in the meantime, it just strikes me as incredibly stupid that both have jeopardized their careers over things that seem as if they could have been prevented with a little bit of foresight -- not just on their part, but also on the part of those who now stand to lose so much because of today's headlines.

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