Wasn’t There a Time?

Wasn’t There a Time?

I was so sure there was a time when important and accomplished men (and less often women) whom were being considered for important roles within our federal government were expected to live up to the standard of “above reproach”. It seems like not so long ago, if a candidate was accused of some major scandal, say one that involved victimizing a female classmate for example, they would pull their name from consideration for the good of the party and the nation. Making a statement to the effect of: “While these accusations are false and absurd - - - I am hereby withdrawing myself from consideration because I believe this great nation does not need to get bogged down in salacious hearings and testimony….” They believed the dignity of the post they wished to fill was more important than their own personal ambition.

I recall reading in Lee Iacocca’s autobiography that Robert McNamara insisted on paying some pittance for an automobile he used one weekend when he was working for the Ford Motor Company to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. I can recall any number of men withdraw from public life for the greater good, often when they were completely innocent. I recall a time when a stellar reputation was expected, and that reputation was not so easily tarnished; when it was normal to want to serve the masses – not normal to cling to personal power and influence at any cost.

I know the quintessential American story is to win, but it doesn’t always have to be with the crushing right hand of a John Wayne haymaker. We used to admire those who could preserver adversity, to overcome and be victorious at the end of the story without a brawl. Didn’t we used to do that more often, and with more personal integrity? And wasn’t enduring hardship a greater virtue than fighting at one time in our history? Didn’t we greatly admire those who just took the lumps and were vindicated later? Sure, we like a man who can handle himself in conflict, but don’t we prefer a man who chooses his battles wisely?

Those that do admire America do so because we are (well, have been) reluctant warriors. Even as a lifelong Republican, I admired those who found a way to avoid violence and resolved things in a calm and reasoned manner (although I often failed in that regard myself). But this generation seems to spoil for a fight, and their heroes are not the calm leaders like Marshall and Eisenhower whom won WWII for us—but Tony Stark, a rich spoiled boy who has the biggest gun and isn’t afraid to use it if his smile and a cleaver quip can’t get him the result he wants.

I don’t know if Brett Kavanaugh is a good man or a good judge, but I do know there is enough smoke to suggest there has been a fire. I am also concerned by a man with a lifetime appointment being a binge drinker in his past – and how recently has that been a part of his life (thirty years- okay, thirty days- not okay)? [On a personal note, I am opposed to Kavanaugh because he, like so many moralists, is very motivated to impose rules on others that do not apply to him, I am related to and surrounded by any number of these creatures and their highest virtue is hypocrisy.] But my main complaint is that he (like his nominator) doesn’t have the maturity and restraint to say: “This appointment is too important to be considered without thorough investigation and consideration—I will not take the appointment until my accusers have had every opportunity to make their case and I have been fully vindicated. Or we can simply nominate another of the excellent judges on the short list and I will face all accusations, but not as the centerpiece of the SCOTUS agenda.” If he had the integrity to do and say those things, hell I may even support him. I wish I could admire our national leaders, I wish they were significantly better men and women than I am (which can’t be hard, I’m not that good of a guy).

What say you? Are we led by those with honesty and integrity? Have we ever been?
(This is part of my 45 part series, every President [with rare exception] is worse than the one before.)

I’d like to quote from “The Road to Unfreedom” by Timothy Snyder, both from page 255:

“It did not escape the attention of the Kremlin that the Republican leaders of congress declared, almost a year early, that Barrack Obama no longer enjoyed the usual prerogatives of the president of the United States. At that moment Russia began its email hack of Democratic politicians and activists”

“This level of partisanship, where the enemy is the opposing party, and the outside world is neglected, creates a vulnerability easily exploited by hostile actors in that outside world.”

Some people have to look in the mirror, but they or we need to wipe it clear first.

Yeah, we are such reluctant warriors!

When “Making the Libs cry” and “Ignoring all behaviors as long as a conservative Justice is picked so that I won’t lose my guns” became more important than anything else, that’s when it started going downhill.

Um, well, we have Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court, so I’d say something similar has occurred no less than 27 years ago.

Obviously there have been a few cases where people have been caught red-handed doing unsavory stuff, in office, and never voluntarily stepped down.

I would honestly say something like Franken is the exception, rather than the rule.

Not substantiated by any history that I’m aware of.

You imagine you do. The real world begs to differ.

No. No. No. No. We never did. This is blindness to history.

Right, sure. Because nobody applauded Patton and McArthur and LeMay. You’re cherrypicking so hard that the tree is shaking.

The adage that the only way to get a politician out of office is to find him in bed with a dead girl or a live boy goes way back. So far back that the use of “him” was the default.

Standards change constantly. Catholicism invalidated a presidential candidate… until Kennedy. Divorce invalidated a presidential candidate… until Reagan. Being total scam invalidated a presidential candidate… until Trump. Morality is relative and situational in real life, no matter what any religious hypocrite says.

No, there wasn’t ever a time. Go to a newspaper database and start pulling up articles at random. You’ll find that in every single time in history people made the same complaints over and over, some of them justified, some of them out of ignorance, some of them merely partisan. There are no Good Old Days. People always judge the present day against an imaginary ideal of perfection and the present day always comes out looking bad.

I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.

Not to mention the terribly important issue of controlling what other people do with their naughty bits.

I won’t say anything about Kavanaugh because I’ve said plenty in the active, 60-odd page thread we have on that subject in this forum.

But I’ll second what Exapno Mapcase said. There was no such time. There was a time when very little background checks were done and there was a time when the press more or less looked the other way, and there was a time when a woman really would be thought of as a tramp or worse if she made salacious accusations about a man. But there was no time when folks generally acted like you describe.

Yes, that too.

But even if there wasn’t ever such a time, there should be, and we should be trying to make that time now.

When was this time?

The thing is, back in the Before Times, the journalists who covered politicians had a code. Private peccadilloes like affairs and drinking problems were lovingly repeated to other professionals as gossip, but weren’t considered fit to print. And a political opponent’s scandals were very seldom used as ammunition against them, because that shit could boomerang. After all, it’s pretty risky to accuse your opponent of having a mistress when you yourself also have a mistress. So there was a sort of detente, personal scandals were considered out of bounds.

To an extent, of course. Accusations of impropriety have a long history in American politics, all the way back to accusing Thomas Jefferson of fathering children with his slave, or Alexander Hamilton’s adultery scandal.

That’s a nice sentiment and probably deserves a thread of its own. This thread should be devoted to debunking the nonsense posted by the OP.

I think it was mostly the press didn’t cover it. For example JFK had affairs with several women–but the American people didn’t hear about until well after he was dead.

To what moral standard should we hold our candidates? If one is absolutely faithful in marriage and beyond reproach in business dealings, but holds positions on issues that are absolutely antithetical to you, do you compromise your positions to vote for the more moral candidate?

And what do you do if no candidate satisfies your standards? Do you hold your nose and vote “for the lesser of two evils?” Do you refuse to vote at all?

Unfortunately, we have to choose among actual human beings as candidates, and they all come with bugs as well as features.

There has never been a time when all candidates acted as you outline, OTOH there are at all times individuals who do. All we have to do is identify them, convince them to throw their hat in the ring and put them in office.


“Ma, ma, where’s my pa? Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha.” But Grover Cleveland won 2 of the 3 races he contended.

More to the point, getting good policy enacted is more important than having moral paragons in office to a certain point.

Some flaws are inexcusable. Other flaws should make a candidate disfavored to the point they ought to lose a healthy, vigorous primary. These flaws aren’t necessarily crimes, nor should they be, but they are windows into a mindset, such as saying racist things or, yes, being a lying spouse or partner. It’s pretty well guaranteed that nobody’s perfect, but some flaws are more consequential than others when it comes to deciding which policy to support.

The architect of the Vietnam War, who consistently lied to the American people about its likelihood of success while thousands of soldiers were sent to injury or death, is the OP’s example of integrity in public life?

The second sentence was actually the retort from Cleveland’s supporters after he won. The original taunt was just the first part (a reference to an illegitimate child, in case that wasn’t clear to onlookers).

Immoral politicians have a long history. The Thomas Jefferson/Sally Hemmings controversy began while Jefferson was still President. And Alexander Hamilton was blackmailed over an affair, which people in Jefferson’s camp used to discredit him as a politician when he tried to make use out of the Hemmings stuff.

This shit goes back to day 1.