The last few weeks have been trying ones for Oregon’s first Congressional Representative David Wu. His personal life played out in the national media in an uncomfortable way.
It was revealed that Wu had gone through a series of irrational behaviors that warranted many of his staff quitting and left him having to defend his actions.
From the little I know about David Wu, something like this was not unexpected. Remember the Klingon Speech?
This put David Wu on the map for all the wrong reasons, and rightfully so. I understand the devout Trekkie was trying to make an analogy, but it made him seem like a nerd and out of touch. This last month’s actions have only deepened worry that Wu can no longer serve his constituents.
During the last few days of his most recent campaign, Wu essentially went into hiding, all while opponent Rob Cornilles was gaining ground. Wu’s staff witnessed erratic behavior, starting with a speech in front of the Washington County Democrat Party so fiery that some members lodged complaints. Audience members interviewed said despite being in a friendly crowd, he lost their vote. The youtube videos of this event have unfortunately been deleted by Wu supporters.
Two days later, on October 29th, four days before the election, Wu bypassed PDX security to see greet his children, only to use the security breech to lobby for votes. More complaints were filed. The following day, he posed as his children and sent odd emails to his staff: “Cut him some slack, man. What he does when he’s wasted is send emails, not harass people he works with.” Wu stated at one point he had quit drinking, bringing up questions of substance abuse.More recently, it was found that Wu took an unknown painkiller from a campaign contributor, adding to the drug/alcohol questions.
Campaign staff said he had previous periods of normal behavior, followed by manic mannerisms, but this was the worst they had ever seen. You can read more about his antics in this Oregonian article.
For these episodes, I cannot excuse Mr. Wu as he has tried to do in the local media. Wu has said he has sought help and is in a good place, although his rapid recovery makes a skeptic out of me. But one of the most visible, and probably infamous actions, is a picture he took of himself in a Halloween costume (above), supposedly playing with his kids.
Why this picture should be vilified I have no clue. Despite sending it out to staff and friends, which everyone should try to avoid, shouldn’t fathers be able to pal around with their children without recourse? Because this particular episode has been given coverage because of its visual nature, I feel this has been an injustice done to Mr. Wu.
Being separated from his wife and an active Congressman, I’m sure Wu is grateful for anytime he can spend with his children. Being able to enjoy that and capture it with photos is nothing he should be ashamed at. Yet he is being harangued for it. Isn’t the problem parents who aren’t involved in their children’s lives? Shouldn’t we focus on Mr. Wu’s greater problems: his mental health, his potential substance abuse issues, his ability to represent Oregon’s First District?
So no, I am not defending a democrat, I am defending a father.