My inquiry has been slightly different of late: I’ve been trying to decide on the most loathsome Democrat candidate, which so far is a dead heat with multiple contenders. However, the degree to which some of these people make me want to retch is a distraction, and I will be periodically polling on the more relevant topic of this blog as we crawl to the August 2020 conventions, a year from now.
To head off the inevitable “whatabout” responses, let me stipulate that, of course, Donald Trump, our President, is unethical in many, many ways, based on what we know about his character, what he says, and what he does.
That is not a verdict on whether he should be removed from office, or whether he is corrupt or “unfit to be President.” If unethical character or deeds alone were grounds for impeachment, we would have had about 30 of them by now. There has been no evidence that Trump is a corrupt President, which is what matters, just assumptions based on the general distrust by those who will never give him a chance.
Fitness for Presidency is self defining: elections determine whether a President is fit, because in a democracy that’s the people’s right to determine, not pundits, no ethicists, not other politicians. Once found to be fit to serve by an election, a President’s subsequent conduct determines whether the public was right. It doesn’t matter whether those who voted against him think he’s fit. Their standard did not prevail. At the point of election, all good citizens are obligated to wipe the slate clean and allow the elected President to proceed in the most difficult job in the land with the nation’s symbolic support. A large chunk of the Left has refused to do that this time, ever. That means they are unethical, and unfit to live in a democracy. It is the job of those who are fit to either convince them of their dangerous error, or to minimize the damage they are doing to the nation.
I was moved to pick today for the first poll after acquiring more damning intelligence about one of the strong contenders for “Most Unethical,” Senator Kamala Harris of California. You can read some earlier verdicts on Harris here. I would say that her stand-out unethical quality is incompetence, and that leads her into other bad places, because she has no evident leadership instincts or skills, and isn’t quick enough to fake it.
The new intelligence was Harris’s post debate “defense” of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s effective attack on Harris’s record as a prosecutor and her current rhetoric. There are valid defenses of the variance in her positions then and now, but Harris has been unable to articulate them, a bad sign. This attack on Gabbard, however, was unethical.
First, she had her press secretary, Ian Sams, tweeted (and retweeted) this smear:
“Reporters writing their stories with eyes on the modern-day assignment desk of Twitter, read this: ‘The Russian propaganda machine that tried to influence the 2016 election is now promoting the presidential aspirations of a controversial Hawaii Democrat.”
We know it comes from Harris because he wasn’t fired ten minutes after he tweeted it, so his boss owns it. In another tweet, Sams linked Gabbard to Syria’s Assad, and this we also know comes from Harris. Right after the debate, knowing that Gabbard’s attack would, as they say, “leave a mark,” Harris told reporters,
“This is going to sound immodest but I’m obviously a top-tier candidate. And so I did expect that I would be on the stage and take hits tonight. I think that this coming from someone who has been an apologist for an individual, Assad, who has murdered the people of his country like cockroaches, she who has embraced and been an apologist for him in a way that she refuses to call him a war criminal, I can only take what she says and her opinion so seriously. And so, you know, I’m prepared to move on.”
But what about what Gabbard said, Senator? How is she wrong? Senator?
For me, this kind of statement is the end of the inquiry. She resorts to the per se disrespectful tactic (as in “she thinks we’re all idiots”) of using polls as the equivilent of value. It is basically asserting the King’s Pass: “She can’t accuse me of wrongdoing,, I’m more important and popular than her!” The scary thing as that Harris might really think that’s a good argument. Then she stoops to ad hominem in its purest, mots unethical, most dishonest form: “Ignore the messenger’s message, because of this completely unrelated matter.” And she never addressed the substance of Gabard’s criticism!
For now, I’m going to restrict the poll field to a group of candidates that have at least a faintly glimmering hope of actually being nominated (meaning, for example, that Gabbard isn’t an option), and while omitting some frighteningly unethical creeps who have no shot and might sweep the field in the no-ethics sweepstakes, like Mayor de Blasio and billionaire Trump-hater Tom Steyer. I will also leave out candidates who have, so far, not displayed any strong unethical tendencies, like Amy Klobuchar. There will be opportunities to add and subtract from the group later.
Here’s your poll: