Paul Jacob

Agreed. Everyone is buoyed just by having this conversation. Pinch me.

Still, this stoic public servant sought to put the ugly accusations in context, noting that he has struggled lifelong as “a hugger, of both men and women.” Equal opportunity, see? And it’s just like Filner to share his struggles with those closest to him — within arm’s reach.

Furthermore, while Mayor Bob was apologizing to everyone who might have felt offended by his offensive and downright bizarre and abusive behavior, he was also asserting his innocence as a legal matter. “I do not believe I am guilty of sexual harassment,” he offered, “and I believe a full presentation of the facts will vindicate me.”

Sorry and vindicated. This is a fast-moving world.

Oops! Then four additional women came forward on the local PBS television channel — one a dean at San Diego State University and another a retired U.S. Navy rear admiral — to air their allegations of Filner’s groping, verbal harassment, headlocks, etc.

Even a political pro like his majesty the mayor would be hard pressed to maneuver around such a PR body blow, right? (Oh, ye of little faith.)

“Beginning on August 5,” declared San Diego Mayor Robert Filner at a news conference last Friday, “I will be entering a behavior counseling clinic to undergo two weeks of intensive therapy.”

Not sure what his precise behavioral syndrome will be called, but the man is clearly ill and needs all our compassion along with some expensive and secluded medical attention. While still mayor, of course. Even during his stay, he’ll be briefed on the city’s survival status morning and night.

“The behavior I have engaged in over many years is wrong,” Filner reiterated. “My failure to respect women and the intimidating conduct I engaged in at times is inexcusable. It has undermined what I have spent my entire professional life working on — fighting for equality and justice for all people.”

Yes, it is inexcusable, but mustn’t we excuse it or risk interrupting the mayor’s sublime stewardship of our nation’s eighth largest city?

Get well soon, Mayor Filner!

Now, if there were only someone back East — in say, New York City — who had this same selfless and sensational commitment to serving in public office, someone so dedicated to “fighting for equality and justice for all people” that no level of personal scandal or abuse of real people, regardless of how outrageous, could stand in the way of progress.

For the people.     [further reading]

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.