Talking Points: Underage Drinking in Focus

The Talking Points memo this evening is about the Jenna Bush situation.

Most of us in the media don't like covering stories like this one because we really don't know what's going on, and I remember, when I was 19 years old, it wasn't pretty.

So we first ignored the first go-around of Ms. Bush and booze when it happened a few weeks ago because most college kids drink, and there's nothing really newsworthy about that. Also, embarrassing the Bush family or the family of any other American over a nebulous situation is unfair and cruel.

Here on The Factor, we guarded Chelsea Clinton's privacy, and we very rarely do private life stories that do not impact on public policy. But now the Jenna story is expanding, and we have to deal with it.

Former first lady Barbara Bush said that her son, George W., may be getting a karma slap because of all his carousing in college.


BARBARA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: I had trouble when I was married to the president and now to see that same fellow that I used to drive around in Little League car pools and I used to yell at to please pick up his room -- to see him as president is truly amazing.


BUSH: Although he is getting back some of his own.



Well, Mrs. Bush, who is a straight shooter if there ever was one, seems inclined to see her granddaughter's headline-making activities as simple immaturity, or so it seems by that clip. I hope Barbara Bush is right, and there's nothing more here.

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that Jenna Bush has had alcohol brushes as far back as 1997 when she was 15. Again, this isn't unusual, but it is cause for concern.

My opinion is that if young people can avoid booze, they'll be better off for it. I've always believed that intoxication chips away at a person's dignity.

In other words, I am not a party animal and never have been. I am a boring guy, but I've cut down on my mistakes by avoiding booze.

I also believe that America — and most other Western countries — has a huge problem with alcohol, and many kids are far too cavalier about it. Drinking can ruin your life.

So the Jenna Bush story is on the map, and we hope this young woman does not have a serious problem. We also hope that other young Americans will see the situation and consider other people when making decisions about underage drinking. If that would happen, maybe something good might come out of this mess.

And that's the memo.

Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

The divorce between Rudy Giuliani and Donna Hanover has provided amusement for some jaded New Yorkers. I know both of these people. And I feel bad about it, especially for their two kids.

The latest report is Ms. Hanover complaining that her New York Yankee tickets have been cut off. The mayor's lawyer Raul Felder says Ms. Hanover should buy tickets if she now wants to go to a game.

We say this whole thing is way out of control and ridiculous.

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