"Parents, you're the leading influence on your teen's decision not to drink." Those are the words of Maryland's Attorney General Doug Gansler, a Democrat and candidate for governor, in an anti-underage age drinking public service announcement he recorded a year ago.
Sadly, Attorney General Gansler doesn't listen to his own words and reportedly helped plan a party last June at which underage boys would be drinking beer and wine.
The rules the parents "negotiated" forbade "drinking 'hard alcohol,' according a copy of the rules and planning documents obtained by The Baltimore Sun. The list of prohibitions did not mention drinking beer or wine."
He even showed up to the party, where the illegal drinking should have been obvious, but he still looked the other way. He may claim to be in the dark, but that's just not credible. It was a party he planned, paid for, and attended.
As a dad, I'm appalled by his behavior. It's irresponsible for a parent. And as a lawyer, I also know he likely violated the oath he took as attorney general by selectively enforcing the law.
A state official has a duty to uphold the laws he swore to uphold. He has a duty to enforce laws for which he has advocated. And he has a responsibility to look out for public safety. Helping plan a party that includes underage drinking is an abdication of his duties and responsibilities — not to mention blatant hypocrisy.
Parents have an obligation to teach by example. Maryland children have learned the wrong lesson from the state's attorney general. How can he credibly discourage reckless and irresponsible behavior when he has acted so irresponsibly?
Reince Priebus, Washington
The writer is chairman of the Republican National Committee.