I’m sure much of the discussion over Mike!™ McGavick’s surprise revelation yesterday afternoon that he had been arrested on a DUI thirteen years ago will probably focus on whether or not this was a shrewd political move. (The revelation, that is, not the DUI.)
But one thing that seems to have been glossed over in the media coverage thus far is how totally blotto Mike!™ admits to have been at the time:
He told The Associated Press that he registered 0.17 in a blood-alcohol test, well above the legal limit, after he was pulled over. He told the Seattle P-I that he wasn’t arrested and the charge never went on his driving record because it was ultimately dismissed.
“Well above the legal limit”…? Talk about an understatement. 0.17 is more than double the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 percent, and more than halfway towards unconsciousness.
And what does it take to get this incredibly drunk? Well according to every blood-alcohol calculator and chart I checked online, an awful damn lot. For example, using the University of Oklahoma Police Department’s online calculator I plugged in 8 drinks over the course of an hour for a 200 pound man, and I only got up to 0.16 percent. (Perhaps it’s telling that OK’s calculator only goes up to 8 drinks an hour.)
How drunk is this? HealthStatus.com provides the following helpful reference chart:
|.03 to .12||Feeling of increased confidence, sense of daring. Look flushed or red in face. Trouble with fine actions, such writing.|
|.09 to .25||Trouble seeing or focusing, slow reactions, sleepy, stumble often or lose balance easily.|
|.18 to .30||Confusion, dizziness, slurred speech and lack of muscle coordination.|
|Above .25||Serious health issues, including death.|
That’s pretty damn drunk.
I’m sure many of us have reached for our car keys wondering how close we might be to the legal limit; the thought has occurred to me leaving Drinking Liberally, where I typically consume two or three beers over the course of an evening. But 8 or 9 drinks? Since college, I don’t think I’ve had that much to drink in an entire day, and if I’d downed them in a single hour, my dorm mates would have found me face down, head in a toilet. (Okay… they did.)
This was no borderline lapse of judgement. Mike!™ was drunk. And it should have been damn clear to him, his wife and his friends that he was totally unfit to drive.
And while I’m guessing from his admission that this was the only time he got caught, it’s hard to believe that this was the first or only time he ever stumbled behind the wheel of a car. In any case, it certainly wasn’t the first time McGavick got totally shit-faced, as this type of serious drinking requires some serious training.
But then, we shouldn’t expect anything less from such a serious candidate.
See, this is why we do what we do. The Seattle Times follows up:
But McGavick provided few details about the arrest, prompting Internet discussions about how much he had to drink.
Turns out it was mostly beer at a series of three parties, and the Times also cites the University of Oklahoma Police Department’s online blood-alcohol level calculator.
So let’s see. If it takes 8 or 9 beers an hour (1993 DC lobbyist crowd, I’m guessing Heineken or Becks) how many beers did he have over three or four hours to maintain a 0.17, and how much drunk driving did he do between the parties to get from one to the other? That must have been some evening of binge drinking.