Today Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann declined the invitation to participate in the NewsMax debate, moderated by Donald Trump. All the GOP Presidential contenders have now responded to the opportunity accept some television exposure in exchange for playing pawns in Donald Trump’s tawdry manipulation of the media, public attention and the political process for personal promotion purposes.
The Ethics Alarms grades are in for this integrity test, based on rapidity in assessing the revolting nature of the exercise, clarity in condemning it, and personal integrity demonstrated by the handling of the whole embarrassing stunt.
Here they are:
A: Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul get the highest grades for declining quickly and for the right stated reason—Trump.
C+: Mitt Romney was the third to decline, but also told Trump it was for scheduling reasons, losing points for weasel words, or, in the alternative, really not objecting to The Donald. As usual, who knows what Romney really believes?
D : Perry and Bachmann, for waiting until they knew who else was debating. Perry used the same excuse as Romney, and Bachmann declined “respectfully.” That loses points: Trump doesn’t deserve any respect.
D-: Rick Santorum. OK, he should flunk, but he’s desperate, and only a debate with nobody else at it would give him a chance to stand out. He couldn’t resist temptation. I sympathize.
F: Newt. He has no excuses. Or integrity.