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Which Gaetz?

Post # 165, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary

The apparent out of control Congressman is the son of a former Florida Senate President.

i had an order for two of my books, The Golden Years...The Florida Legislature, '70's and '80's from Senator Don Gaetz shortly after it was published in 2007. I recalled the Senator and his partner then Rev. Hugh Westbrook had lobbied me on behalf of hospice care issues when I chaired the Senate Health and Rehabilitative Services ("HRS") Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee funding HRS. Understanding that his son, Matt had political plans, I assumed the second copy was for the then law school student.

The elder Gaetz had distinguished himself in the Capitol--both as a lobbyist and a hard working member of the Senate. I was told by one staffer that he would have retired from the Senate, were it not possible for him to serve one more term under Senate President-Designate Don Gaetz. That is pretty nice testimony about a Senator's reputation.

So it is with almost amazement that I find the latest press about Congressman Matt Gaetz. Yes, that is the same son of the Senator I was praising. The press about the young Gaetz has ranged from stories about involvement with an indicted Tax Collector, to possible involvement with a minor sexually, to violations of interstate commerce. All of those possible charges are serious, and even more so for a member of Congress. How does that happen within a family held in such high regard politically?

Pictures of Matt Gaetz in high school reflect a person with long hair, a sneer on his face, and frankly what appears to be "attitude." That evolution among teens happens in many families, but is generally out grown into adulthood. Apparently that was not the case with the Congressman. Add to that the toxic high from befriending a President of the United States, especially a political rogue like Donald Trump, and the aberrant behavior, in-spite of his family, comes out. Perhaps there could be a feeling of independent success separate and apart from his Father, that is propelling Matt Gaetz down such unpromising paths? I cannot help but think the Congressman's behavior and comments have forced his family to ask the question, "How and Why is This Happening?" There are reports that Senator Gaetz is now trying to defend his son and is very critical of the press attacking him.

Matt Gaetz is innocent of any and everything unless and until he is charged. In the meantime, just his appearance of being out of control has to be an embarrassment for one of the Florida Senate's respected former members.


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