I was stunned to read the e-mail exchange between Dan Patrick and John Carona in the Quorum Report’s “Daily Buzz” section, in which Patrick accuses Carona of spreading “rumors and untruths” about him and his wife and the state of their marriage. In a later e-mail, Patrick writes, “I can assure you I have first hand knowledge that my statement is correct about Senator Carona spreading the lie about our separation and possible divorce.” I do not question what Senator Patrick says, but I will say, as a writer, that such comments often have the opposite effect of what was intended, weakening a point rather than strengthening it, in a “he doth protest too much” sense. Carona responded:
Dan, I would have replied sooner, but I just returned home after a weekend away with my wife and kids. The email which you blasted to our colleagues and then provided to the media is false and you would have known that had you called or emailed before sending it.
I think Carona has a point. My mother taught me, “Never send a ‘mad’ letter without putting it in a drawer overnight.” The wisest piece of correspondence in this entire episode was sent by Senator Judith Zaffirini:
Dan: Your email is the first that I have heard about this issue. I’ve talked to several senators recently, including Senator Carona, and the subject never came up. I only wish you had contacted him when you heard about it, giving him the opportunity to respond. I simply cannot imagine Senator Carona ever spreading any rumors about anyone. Your email judges him and assumes that all of us will too–on the basis of an anonymous accusation. I know him well enough to know that he says what he means and means what he says–and isn’t shy about it. He also believes in (and practices) face-to-face interaction, not backstabbing. My questions follow: (1) Who said this to you? Given your earlier email, we have a right to know. (2) Why didn’t you contact Senator Carona instead of accusing him before the entire Senate?
* * * * Zaffirini asks a good question: Why not contact Senator Carona? This is a regrettable incident. One can only imagine how Bullock would have reacted. (Or maybe not, since he knew everything that was going on anyway.) In the end, this is a private matter that should have remained private.