Our View – Memo to Republican pols: Leave your zipper up in Alexandria

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Why is it that Republican politicians keep hiding their mistresses in Cameron Station?

No, make that Grimm Street in Cameron Station, where lobbyist Vicki Iseman and retired Air Force offi cer Laura Fay both live.

Okay, maybe thats an unfair characterization of presumptive GOP nominee John McCain, who said he and Ms. Iseman were friends and nothing more. Ms. Iseman, who has not been seen in Cameron Station since the allegations by the New York Times broke, has continued on radio silence, giving no interviews, statements or even denials to the media.

In 1999, Ms. Iseman began showing up so frequently in Sen. Mc-Cains offi ces and at campaign events that staff members took notice. One recalled asking, Why is she always around? the Times reported. And in interviews, the two former associates said they joined in a series of confrontations with Sen. McCain, warning him that he was risking his campaign and career. Both told the paper that Sen. Mc-Cain acknowledged behaving inappropriately and pledged to keep his distance from Ms. Iseman.

Thats old news now, and last time we checked, Sen. McCain is still the presumptive GOP nominee for president, his reputation perhaps deservedly unscathed by the mini-scandal and the shoddy journalism that produced it.

Life went on in the normally tranquil bedroom community of Cameron Station as well, with the West End Farmers Market opening as scheduled and new kiddie play groups being formed on the weekends at Cameron Perks.

Then, in the pre-dawn hours of May 1, New York Citys sole Republican congressman, a pasta and politics pol named Vito Fossella of Staten Island, was pulled over by Alexandria Police on Braddock Road aft er running a red light. Fossella failed the sobriety tests, including a lucid and accurate recitation of the alphabet, and was unable to stand on one leg. Most importantly, he tested .17 on the Breathalyzer, double the legal limit in the State of Virginia.

Under the Commonwealths new no-nonsense drunk driving laws, Fossella may face jail time, but on Monday, only his attorney showed for an appointment with the judge in Alexandria District Court, presumably to ask for a continuance. Th e Commonwealths Attorney is not talking.

Why is this important? Because Fossella told the arresting Alexandria offi cer that he was on his way to see his sick daughter, and gave as his home address Grimm Street, Cameron Station, the same address as an old friend who signed for him the next day at the Alexandria jail. New Yorks ravenous tabloids went wild, pressuring him to admit that the child was his. Which it was. He was leading a double life, with a wife and kids back in New York, and a second family right here in Alexandria.

Needless to say, this is not the Alexandria way. We are, for the most part, Sunday churchgoers, not adulterers and polygamists, in the sociobiological defi nition of the word. For the most part, we love our families and our community, and we dont drive drunk.

Fossella, the proud paterfamilias of both a household in New York and a love nest with a mistress and child in Alexandria, has been in Congress for more than a decade, but did not seem to have a Washington, Maryland or Virginia address. Kind of a long time to crash with friends here, dont you think, Congressman?

While Fossella made a number of mea culpas for driving twice the legal limit of his blood-alcohol level, it was interesting that on Mothers Day a few days later House Republicans decided to reconsider a unanimous vote to commemorate Mothers Day. Hmmm.

Truth be told, Fossella is not the fi rst congressman to admit to this unconscionable indiscretion. In 1976, Rep. Robert Leggett (D-CA.) confessed that he had been supporting a girlfriend and two children in Washington along with his hometown family. At the time, Th e Post reported the Leggetts story under the headline: Life of Immense Complications. Curiously, Leggett was re-elected that year. Which goes to show that if you support that kind of thing, you must be a serious liberal.

Fossella, however, never prided himself as supporting any kind of liberal platform. In fact, his record shows that of an avowed social conservative who has been supportive of legislation like posting the Ten Commandments in public places.

He was not the fi rst New York politician to run afoul of morality. Th ere is of course New Yorks former Gov. Eliot Spitzer (who deservedly and immediately resigned), and back in 1884, Grover Cleveland almost lost the presidential election for president when Buff alo newspapers came up with an alcoholic sales clerk with an illegitimate son and placed the baby on Clevelands doorstep.

This kind of fi lth belongs nowhere in a civilized society. Especially a clean-cut place like Alexandria. Which is our morality lesson of the day.

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