There is apparently is little that a politician can do today that is so uncivil, embarrassing or undignified that partisans won’t cheer it, and that fundraisers and marketers unencumbered by things such as values, responsibility, and shame won’t try to use to raise money. Call the President a liar during his State of the Union Address? Fundraising gold! Shout “Baby killer!” on the floor of the House? Great!! Use it to get those checks flowing!
Now, not to be outdone by the shameless venality of the GOP, Democrats are using Joe Biden’s resort to gutter-speech, to the President, during a formal ceremony, on national television, as part of a new fundraising pitch. CNN reports that Democrat donors who give at least $25 to the cause will receive “a limited edition ‘Health Reform is a BFD’ T-shirt in a super-soft, fine jersey (men’s) or baby rib (women’s) cotton fabric,” according to a new fundraising page posted on the website of Organizing For America, the White House political group housed in the National Democratic Committee.
This is how boors, low-lifes, cynics and bottom-dwellers warp our values, pollute our culture and destroy civility. Next, I’m sure we can expect to hear funny old Joe fart uncontrollably during a Senate immigration policy debate, and see the Democrat marketers rush out with new shirts reading: “Immigration: It’s a Gas!” Biden, meanwhile, forgetting every bit of manners his mother taught him, hasn’t even had the decency to express regret at his error, I suppose because dropping F-bombs is now acceptable in polite company.
The media actively rewards public figures who, in more rational times before shame could be exchanged for big bucks, would hide under a rock somewhere until their infamy cooled. Paris Hilton—accomplishment? A sex tape!—becomes a reality show star and professional celebrity. Tom DeLay, who resigned from Congress under the cloud of scandal, and Kate Gosselin, she of child exploitation and spouse abuse fame, get to strut their stuff on “Dancing With the Stars.” Impeached Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is featured on “The Apprentice.” G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North, a felon and a perjurer, become talk radio stars, as conservatives, supposedly the champions of law and honor, cheer. David Letterman’s serial sexual harassment not only draws high-ratings laughs, but doesn’t even draw a rebuke or a slap on the wrist from CBS. (Meanwhile, Tony Kornhheiser is suspended at ESPN for a mere breach of respect and manners. Clearly, ESPN didn’t get the cultural message: boorishness is now, it’s cool, it’s lucrative!) And let us not forget my personal least-favorite shameless celebrity pundit, the despicable Dick Morris, who is lionized on Fox News because he turned on his former employers, the Clintons, after embarrassing them while in their employ. He had been discussing sensitive matters with then-President Clinton over a speaker-phone while being serviced by a prostitute.
Stay classy, Fox.
I suppose all this sounds as quaint as my father railing about how kids won’t give their bus seats to seniors anymore. If the public won’t stand up for standards of gentility and politeness, then we just won’t have them, that’s all. Clearly, our leaders, opinion-makers, media moguls and role models won’t try to hold back the tide, because there is money in disgrace, and profit in rudeness. These ethics alarms appear to be busted beyond repair.