I don’t know if either Charlie Sheen or LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa read newpsychopolitics.com, but last week I raised the question of whether it’s a good idea for an aspiring national figure to be partying with Sheen and his friends. Maybe the mayor took the hint, because yesterday he appeared on TV to explain what he was doing at Charlie’s party in Cabo San Lucas just after Christmas.
According to website TMZ.com, the photo of Sheen and Villaraigosa “ignited a media frenzy and a wave of public backlash for the politician.” Villaraigosa assured voters he’s not friends with Charlie Sheen. He gets his picture taken 50 times a day, he claims, with all kinds of people. “I have never said no to anyone who wants to take a picture,” the mayor told the press.
But is getting your picture taken with anyone who wants it a good idea? After all, a photo of model Donna Rice sitting on Sen. Gary Hart’s lap (see Aug. 17 post, How Did JFK Get Away With It) ended Hart’s presidential prospects. And you can’t trust your friends, either, since the Hart/Rice photo was taken by Rice’s friend Lynn Armandt who sold it to The National Enquirer for $25,000. [LA Times].
Villaraigosa’s story doesn’t quite fit Sheen’s account of the photo op. Villaraigosa told NBC that he was in Cabo on vacation where he ran into Sheen, who was there opening a night club. They then had a three-minute conversation followed by a photo. But if it were such a short meeting, then why did Sheen tweet “From Boyle Heights 2 Mayor of LA! Antonio Villaraigosa knows how to party.”
One of the most damaging aspects of a political sex scandal is the way that things can spin out of control and eventually what really happened hardly makes any difference. After all, both Hart and Rice maintained that nothing happened the night they spent together on the yacht Monkey Business. Villaraigosa maintains that nothing happened when he ran into Sheen.
Political insiders say that Villaraigosa could be nominated for Secretary of Transportation in the new administration. But is President Obama now looking at that picture of Villaraigosa and Sheen and wondering What was he thinking?
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