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« Thought for the Day from Alexander Solzhenitsyn | Main | RE: ’The rest is just conversation’ »

August 29, 2007

’The rest is just conversation’

Andrew Stuttaford goes way off-base in his reaction to the Larry Craig scandal:

Frankly, I don't care very much about the "dignity and character" of elected officials. Their job is to govern effectively, honestly and minimally. The rest is just conversation.

How exactly would one govern "honestly" -- or even "effectively" -- without character?

Mark Steyn makes a couple of good points in his response to Stuttaford, but be careful, it's not suitable for younger readers. Nor, for that matter, is the scandal itself, which is why I haven't gone into detail about it here. I just couldn't resist pointing out what a sad pass we've come to if we don't even understand why our public officials should have character.

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Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

The timing of this "revelation" is very political.

The foot-tapping incident happened three months ago.

He pled guilty so as to not disrupt his trip. Or so he says. Maybe he is guilty of soliciting, and maybe he isn't, at all.

Or do you have some inside information?

Gina Dalfonzo

I made no statement about Senator Craig's guilt or innocence; I only said there's a scandal, which there is.

However, I believe a plea of guilty, whatever its motivation, usually does count for something. To plead guilty to a crime is a serious thing, and if he deliberately lied in that instance simply because he didn't want to disrupt a trip, that in itself would be a problem.


Gina, I'd grant that, but our legal system does in some cases force defendants to plead guilty or be charged with contempt of court. I know of one such case locally.

I don't know if that was his situation or not.


And...don't forget, Senator Craig plead guilty.


The Senator plead guilty to disorderly conduct, not solicitation


Gina's original point is getting lost (on a site called "The Point", no less): is it possible for an elected official to govern in the absence of character?

Forget, for a moment, the sordid details. Under what circumstances is it OK to plead guilty to something, to "make it go away"? (Ponder the implications of something "going away".)

And is it OK for an official to have a wildly divergent public persona and private life?

Finally, are scandals irrelevant? If we get enough bread and circuses, can our elected "representatives" (those who WE HAVE CHOSEN to bear our image to the world and make decisions of major import for us) behave any way they please?

Touring the Colosseum in Rome was profoundly saddening for me - to see a facility built for the express purpose of distracting the public from the incompetence and corruption of their leadership.

Should we expect our leaders to be above reproach, or not?

Is it OK to injure someone in private (such as lying to one's spouse, or using another person merely for personal gratification instead of giving them a fulfilling relationship) while pledging to decrease the injury to the public (by insuring that the nation's laws protect everyone from the least to the greatest)?

Seems to me there's more to discuss here than the arrest of one man.

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe being a United States Senator isn't a matter of being able to make difficult judgment calls because you deny yourself daily for the good of others. Maybe instead it's merely a mechanical process of voting the way the polls and the letter-writers indicate so as to insure re-election.

After all (but maybe this is too much of a leap for some), who cares if solicitation is a crime, if crime itself is not a crime?

Jason Taylor

"Touring the Colosseum in Rome was profoundly saddening for me - to see a facility built for the express purpose of distracting the public from the incompetence and corruption of their leadership."

It's worse, it is a facility designed to commit horrible things in. The architectual acheivement makes it more horrible. At least Auschwitz and the Berlin Wall have the good taste to look abominable. It's aesthetic quality encourages moral blindness and I sometimes think they should just blow the thing up.

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