What they're saying about Doug Gansler

Baltimore Sun staff

Here's a roundup of commentary on Maryland attorney general and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler, who said he "made a mistake" by not intervening at a beach week party in Delaware where there was underage drinking.

** Baltimore Sun columnist Dan Rodricks notes that Gansler's public duty and parental strategy have collided.

Which gets me to why Gansler's behavior in this affair really shouldn't be a problem for his gubernatorial campaign: He's one of many parents who think the best approach to underage drinking is to acknowledge that it exists and do their best to make sure no one gets killed.

** Slate's Dan Kois thinks that Gansler handled the party as any sensible parent should.

There is of course a 100 percent chance that teenagers at Beach Week are going to drink and be idiots. As a parent, there are three ways to handle this situation: You can, understandably, forbid your children from attending at all. On the other side of the scale, you can just send your children off to Ocean City and hope their common sense will keep them out of trouble. Or you can make the tactical decision to oversee the festivities and keep things from getting out of hand: keep kids off the road, keep them out of each other’s pants, and keep them from doing shots. Would that all parents of teens were so “permissive”!

** The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza wrote that Gansler has had the "Worst Week in Washington."

“Assume for purposes of discussion that there was widespread drinking at this party,” Gansler said. “How is that relevant to me? … The question is, do I have any moral authority over other people’s children at beach week in another state? I say no.”

Wrong answer — particularly when you’re the state’s top law enforcement official and running to be the next governor.

** The Daily Kos' David Nir says that Gansler "doesn't get to enforce a double standard."

As Adam Bonin put it, if Gansler wants to publicly criticize underage drinking laws, he can do that. But he can't help teens do something illegal and try to absolve himself of responsibility as though he's "just another dad." He's not. He's the state's top law enforcement official.

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