With an official investigation looming and calls for his resignation mounting, Portland Mayor Sam Adams changed his story Tuesday about when his relationship with a teenage legislative intern turned romantic, if not sexual. In an interview Tuesday with The Oregonian, Adams acknowledged that he and Beau Breedlove, then 17, expressed an attraction toward each other at a 2005 lunch that Adams, 42 at the time, previously had described as purely professional.
Being male, I can vouch for my gender's propensity for thinking with the wrong head (particularly when alcohol is involved). Even with that in mind, I still can't manage to wrap my head around the colossally stupid behavior that new Portland Mayor Sam Adams is apparently guilty of. "What in the HELL was he thinking??" doesn't even begin to cover the enormity of Adams' intellectual, political, and moral lapse.
When I look at the dilemma Adams finds himself in, it seems important to determine just what the issue is here. If Adams had a consensual sexual relationship with an 18-year-old man, well, end of story. Two consenting adults, don'tchaknow??
Except that there seems to be far more to this story than Sam Adams having sex with a young adult. Personally, what Adams does behind closed doors is his own business. If he schtupps goats...well, it's a free country, no? I may not choose to engage in this sort of behavior myself, but if we're talking about two consenting adults here, than there's no crime, and what happened between Adams and Beau Breedlove is no one's g-----n business.
No, it seems that not only did Adams lie about the nature of his relationship with Breedlove, he did so while couching his denial in terms of righteous indignation. To make matters worse, he asked Breedlove to also lie about their relationship. When first we practice to deceive, eh?
Now Adams is facing calls for his resignation, and he's up against the reality that the wide-ranging support he came into office with on January 1st is rapidly and perhaps irretrievably crumbling. As if that wasn't bad enough, Oregon Attorney General John Kroger has stated that his office will conduct an investigation of Adams' relationship with Breedlove to determine if a crime was committed.
Personally, I think Sam Adams is just about the best thing to happen to Portland in a long time. Having been forced to confront my own feelings on this matter, I have to be honest with myself. If Adams was a Republican, I would be frothing at the mouth demanding his resignation- not for the sex, but for the lies. I'd like to be able to hope that Adams will be able to overcome and rebuild the trust and good feelings that he came into office with just three short weeks ago. As the first openly gay many to lead the city, Adams was uniquely positioned to be a voice for ALL Portlanders. Now I fear that he's squandered his credibility- not because he couldn't keep his pants zipped, but because he put himself in a position where his political rivals could force him to answer to charges of pedophilia.
There are those who are hoping that Adams can survive this crisis and emerge stronger from it. For my part, I'm not convinced that anyone is going to be able to put this fire out. Adams may refuse to resign, but he may ultimately be so hobbled by this controversy that his ability to get anything done will be null and void. I suppose this is what one might expect to result from thinking with the wrong head.
Yes, if Adams was a Republican, I would be demanding that Adams do the right thing and resign. Were I to be honest with myself, I'd be doing the same thing now. Indeed, I think the time has come for Adams to do exactly that, and it saddens me to have reach this conclusion. Portland could, and would, be a better city with Sam Adams in the Mayor's office. Having demonstrated what can only be described as a stunning lack of integrity and common sense, can Portlanders trust Adams? And what else might he have been less than truthful about?
I wish I had the answers to those questions.
If Adams were to be looking to me for advice...and thankfully, he's not...I'd have to swallow hard and tell him that it's time to do the right thing. It's time to resign and spare Portland the embarrassment of seeing your personal life played out and dissected in the media and in City Hall. It's time to spare taxpayers the expense of the AG's planned investigation. It's time to realize that as Mayor you're- rightly or wrongly- held to a higher standard...and you just failed your first big test.
Man, thinking with the wrong head really CAN get you into all sorts of trouble, eh??? Yes, it can....