UPDATES: It turns out that this was not Rep. Watson's first DUI bust. Channel 12 reports New Hampshire State Police arrested him on Dec. 3, 1999 for drunk driving. He was found guilty in March 2000, was fined and had his license suspended for three months. Watson was serving as House Minority Leader at the time, the post he lost yesterday. The East Greenwich Patch reported on a meeting Watson and other E. Greenwich General Assembly members held with the EG Town Council. Watson was asked if he could tell his constituents that he would not use illegal drugs again (i.e. if he was going to continue to use marijuana that he would do so under RI's medical marijuana law). Watson refused to answer, citing privacy, even though he had given a long and rambling speech on the subject on the floor of the House.
BREAKING NEWS: As I predicted, House Republicans ousted Rep. Bob "Dude" Watson as their minority leader just one week after giving him their unanimous support.
Watson was busted on April 22nd in East Haven, CT for possession of marijuana and driving under the influence.
Watson's truly entertaining defense was that he did have marijuana on him because he uses it to treat a medical condition. He claimed he didn't smoke it before being pulled over at a checkpoint and failing the field sobriety test. He said the East Haven police had "targeted" him because he is a legislator and that the police report about his red, glassy eyes and slurred speech was totally false. He said he wished the East Haven police cars had video because that would have vindicated him. He also explained that while he needed the pot for medical reasons, and had done so on medical advice, he was not registered under RI's medical marijuana program because he was afraid his identity would be leaked and people might get the wrong idea.
For this speech, Watson won a standing ovation from all his Republican colleagues and a few Democrats (whether they did so because they were gullible or cynical, I can't say).
My favorite Tea Party legislator Rep. Doreen Costa said of Watson "We're not friends, we're family and family sticks together.''
Until it's time to throw him under the bus. It's times like these that renew my faith in the political process.
Author: Will Collette