Ethics Quote Of The Week: Ann Althouse

“As I’ve said many times on this blog, I think election results deserve respect, Democrats have failed to accept that they lost an election and that those who won deserve their victory, and those who were disappointed should be focusing on winning the next election, not undoing to results of the election they lost. Democrats need to turn back from the precipice. They need to give up the drama and hysteria about Trump and show that they are more stable and responsible than Trump. A “no” vote on the impeachment proceedings will only happen if Democrats — some of them — have the sense to say “no.”

—-Ann Althouse, iconoclastic Wisconsin law professor/social commentator/ blogger, in a post this morning.

[Before I start, let me interject that “I think election results deserve respect” is revolting equivocation, and credible commentators should avoid it. In this nation, in this system, in a democracy, election results deserve respect. ]

As frequent readers hear know, I quote or refer to Althouse more frequently than any other web commentator (George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley is a close second) now that Ken White at Popehat has moved on to greener pastures. Her post today, “What I can’t figure out and what really interests me is why today feels different” explains why, at least to me. In the  matter of Donald Trump’s election and the reaction to it by the  Axis of Unethical Conduct (AUC) that I last discussed here, Althouse almost exactly mirrors my analysis, and reveals that she occupies a similar position for making it. I have one up on Ann, I think, because while I almost voted for Hillary Clinton out of my unshakeable (actually it has been a bit shaken now, if not stirred) contempt for Donald Trump, she actually did despite matching my distrust and dislike of Hillary Clinton. In the post containing today’s Ethics Quote of the Week, she reveals why I was right and she was wrong.

The Democratic Party proved to me in late October of 2016 that it seeks power over all else, and no longer possesses a sufficient commitment to American values, our fundamental principles, or our institutions that can compete with that obsession. This means that not only can the party and its members not be trusted, it means that it is actively corrupting the American public and will continue to do so unless and until something makes it change both its strategic and its ideological course.

That Ann still thinks there is any chance at all of the party doing so now shows that she still can’t bring herself to accept the frightening reality that the AUC is willing to destroy the nation to save it. In that respect, I’m still ahead of her, perhaps because the professor is so emotionally committed to being neutral that she cannot accept that the time for neutrality has past when the responsible choice is unavoidable, or ought to be.

That’s what she gets for not reading Ethics Alarms.

Althouse is absolutely correct in her analysis, except that she naively harbors hope—after three years of the most irresponsible, unethical conduct by either major political party since the Civil War—that the Democrats are capable of being patriots, statesmen (and stateswomen), and ethical citizens. Incredibly and tragically, they are not.

She goes on to write in part,

“The people who voted for Trump are real. They are not despicable or “deplorable.” They are voters in a democracy, and democracy — crazy though it is — is our beloved system here in the United States of America. We’re wedded to it, for better or worse, and I’m trying to make the best of it. There’s some wild excitement and there’s some serious work to be done. I don’t want any more chaos that is needed to claw through the days to the next election. Let’s have an election, not a kooky congressional extravaganza. I need Pelosi and Schiff and these various Congress critters to shrink back into their place and let the presidential candidates have the stage. Let’s be normal.”

It’s almost unethical for the smart people who the public looks to for wisdom and guidance to refuse to base their opinions on reality, or to advise from a position of denial. This is denial. Early in 2017, another blogging law professor, the ultra-conservative Glenn Reynolds, presciently observed about the Democrats, “All they have to do is not act crazy, and they can’t even do that.”  Bingo. They can’t, and they have proven that they  won’t. Nothing could be more clear, and there is nothing useful or productive about “wishin’ and hopin'” that a whole party that has been beguiled into anti-American madness born of hate, frustration and anger will suddenly turn back into its Dr. Jekyll version after becoming, and staying Mr. Hyde for President Trump’s entire term so far.

“Please, House Democrats, please vote ‘no,'” Ann concludes.” Stand down and let us get back to the 2020 presidential campaign. Surely, some of you still believe that elections matter and elections must be the norm in America. The rest of you seem as though you’ve already given up and ceded the 2020 election to Donald Trump. That’s how I will interpret a “yes” vote on the impeachment, a disclosure of your consciousness of 2020 loserdom.”

At this point, responsible and knowledgeable Americans must stop pleading and hoping, and begin developing a realistic strategy to stop the Axis of Unethical Conduct. Assuming that they can be talked out being what they have become is irresponsible and incompetent.

36 thoughts on “Ethics Quote Of The Week: Ann Althouse

  1. I don’t know Jack. I think there is something to be said about having hope. I find it unlikely that these people (or most people) are going to change if they are not open to change, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to stop trying.

    But surely you can’t be 100% on board with this:
    “At this point, responsible and knowledgeable American (sic) must stop pleading and hoping, and begin developing a realistic strategy to stop the Axis of Unethical Conduct. Assuming that they can be talked out being what they have become is irresponsible and incompetent.”

    Or why else would are you still be writing?

    Also, you got some weird thing going on at the end of your post.

    • That weird thing was fixed.

      I’m not trying to talk the resistance, the Democratic Party, or the corrupt news media out of anything. I am trying to help explain to the public why they need to be opposed and forced to reform. I have great faith in Americans, but none in mobs, self-perpetuating bureaucracies, and professions run by people who lack the minimal qualities to be in them.

      • Ok. Well, perhaps it is just the way your writing comes across to me.

        I would say 95% of what you write I agree with you, but that isn’t why I read you. I read you because while I agree with you most of the time, you have changed the way I look at things that are not based on preconceived notions.

        • I would say 95% of what you write I agree with you, but that isn’t why I read you. I read you because while I agree with you most of the time, you have changed the way I look at things that are not based on preconceived notions.

          Yes, that. Big time. I appreciate that Jack is arriving at his positions with careful thought most of the time rather than a reflexive recitation of the societal norms that drive most people definition of ethics.

          • Just to expand the thought further…..

            On those times that we don’t hold the same position, I find his arguments fairly persuasive as they are carefully thought out positions. He’s swayed me a few times and those where he hasn’t, they have caused me to carefully consider my position and ask myself where and why it differs.

            • On those times that we don’t hold the same position, I find his arguments fairly persuasive as they are carefully thought out positions. He’s swayed me a few times and those where he hasn’t, they have caused me to carefully consider my position and ask myself where and why it differs.”

              Thank you for that comment. “Dittos.” And as always, thank you, Jack.

    • Ann Althouse does not see the full scope of the problem if she imagines it to be grumpy and disappointed Democrats having a fit.

      If a popular movement were to develop in America, as is presaged and prefigured by DT, the threat to the entire power structure — far beyond petty party designations — is terrifying to that structure. It appears they will stop at little in their attempt to repress it and stifle it.

      All across the spectrum people are being shut out and repressed.

      This helped me to understand better:

  2. If anything comes out of the Durham investigation of the Muller report’s origins, I expect the freakout level of the Democrats to explode to new, unheard of levels. They will become vastly more unhinged. I think those that participated should pay, but fear the outcome with regards to the democrat’s reaction.

    • It’s been said that there are four boxes to be used in the defense of liberty. Of these boxes, the third is the jury box, having been preceded by the soap and ballot boxes. I think this is where we’re at, represented by the Durham Investigation.

      It’s telling that our progressive countrymen spend a lot of time attacking each of the boxes individually, isn’t it?

      • The issue with the jury box is issues involving the federal government have a jury pool selected from Washington DC. Given the fact that Trump got 4% and Clinton got 90%, it’s going to be pretty hard to find a “neutral” pool of jurors. A

        question I’ve had and don’t know the answer to is if it is possible for federal prosecutors to take the cases to another judicial district? Is this a default through inertia, or is there actual rules and regulations dictating where the case is to be tried for a federal case? If they could idict Mcabe, Comey, et al in Oklahoma, the jury pool would be vastly different.

          • I get change of venue, particularly when the investing agency and prosecution is geographically limited. Often state laws dictate that the jurisdiction is based on the county of the alleged crime.
            I’m questioning what is dictating the choice of DC circuit. The justice department has authority for the entire US. Is there a specific guideline on where charges must be brought?

            That said, I think the change of venue is granted less than it should be. Particularly in regards to DC holding a political trial. When the jury has a 90%-4% disparity, that should be automatically moved to somewhere more aligned with the electorate yet that is automatically done.

  3. she still can’t bring herself to accept the frightening reality that the AUC is willing to destroy the nation to save it.

    To save it, or to be lord of the ashes?

  4. There is something to be said for matching your rhetoric to your audience. Plenty of people still see the Democrats as credible. It is tragic.

    Speaking unequivocally to this audience risks being dismissed as a kook. That is almost unavoidable.

    The Democratic strategy has been reduced to an improve game. Everything the President does is parroted back, and elaborated: “Yes, and…”. It is not enough for the President to incompetently and hypocritically withdraw from Syria and the Kurds, but he is also doing it to “cozy up” to dictators. They weave this complex tale of cloaks and daggers. Anyone who speaks up to contradict this narrative is accused off using “talking points”, because the counter argument is too simple. (The counter argument is of course that the Democrats are corrupt.)

    How do you avoid this mess? That requires balancing priorities to maintain trust and credibility. Will everyone agree as to how? Probably not, but there is undeniably a need to avoid looking like a kook oneself while calling out the kookery of others.

  5. Althouse’s post lacks the necessary threat: if you vote for this, I will vote for Trump next year. At some point before the last election, millions of Americans independently arrived at, “If they nominate her, I will vote against her.” They prevailed, even though it came as a shock to many of them.

    Politicians are employees. They require direction, and sometimes firm direction.

    • I did not vote for DJT in the primary and I did not vote for him in the general. My vote doesn’t matter to the EC count, as I now live in a one party state trending the way of California. But it did count in the margin of victory.

      This time around, I cannot stand by while the Democrats have done what they have. If they have a primary, I will be voting DJT, and most certainly will in the general election. I think I’m far from alone.

      • Funny.

        I live in The State that Mondale won, so my vote counts less than yours.

        I forget for whom I voted because, while I despised Clinton and Trump, the Libertarian proved to be an idiot. I may have actually voted for the Prohibition Party, as I often joke.

        I walked out of the voting place at 7:15 am feeling positively pessimistic about the fact that, at the end of the day, either Clinton or Trump will have won.

        When Trump won, I was slightly relieved. He was uncouth, boorish, and would probably be iNeffective (ie mostly harmless); she would be obnoxious, skilled, and immune from criticism on the basis of sex (a la Obama and race). On form, he is atrocious; on substance, she is dangerous.

        Then came the constant attacks. Yes, Trump does stupid things that are worthy of criticism. But, when EVERYTHING is attacked, any thinking person has to say, “wait a second….”

        10,000 lies? Wait a second.

        All Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers? Wait a second

        Before not too long, you start saying, “this is fair criticism, but THAT is NOT fair.”

        Then, you start thinking, “he is not being treated fairly.”

        Then, you start thinking, “Screw his critics; they aren’t fair.”

        Come next year, I may end up voting For Trump simply out of sympathy.

        I will still try to keep an open mind, but the Dems are competing for the biggest government vision (except Gabbard; she could win my vote). Libertarian? We will see.

        But, it is entirely possible that Trump could win The State Mondale Won.

        If that happens, the Democratic Party has better take notice.


        • Your story and mine are eerily similar. Except I live in Texas, so my vote really doesn’t count at all at the presidential level, at least not in 2016 or 2020. i refused to vote for either Clinton or Trump, and was certain after his surprise win that he’d be a one-termer. Now, looking at the mess the Democratic party has made of itself and the ridiculous candidates they’re fielding in a primary that is looking more and more like an insanity contest than a serious political election, I sincerely hope that Trump wins in 2020, and will likely be voting for him. What an absolute fiasco that it’s come to this, that an utter clown like Trump is the final bulwark against some very dangerous, anti-American forces. Maybe we don’t deserve democracy, if we let it get to this point…

          • I can’t count out the Democrats just yet. I am still standing by my prediction that TRUMP is a one-term President – standing by it, but starting to shuffle my feet a bit, given the Democrats’ antics and seriously ridiculous extremism. I dread the inevitable (but exalted) shitheadedness (thank you, Arthur in Maine) that would mark the Democrats’ never-ending strivings to discredit, smear, and depose of the re-elected President. But, I am for TRUMP for 4 more years.

        • I respect Gabbard. I don’t agree politically, but I do believe she is honest and not nuts like the entire Democrat field this round. I wouldn’t feel bad for a Gabbard win. My daughter only concern would be the house has gone nuts too, and would she be a check? If the Senate stayed republican, I think that would be good for the country. No crazy judges and the Senate keeps everything in check.

          Hillary’s deranged hit on Gabbard says everything about Clinton. The rest of the party should be revulsed by the attack, but tellingly they are not.

          By the way, an amusing anecdote about Mondale: In the presidential race, he lost 49 states. When Wellstone died and Mondale was nominated to replace him on the ticket, Mondale lost. That makes Mondale the only person to have lost a statewide race in every one of the 50 states.

          • My phone is on drugs, I have no idea how ‘daughter’ got added. It’s taken to autocorrecting long after I type so I don’t notice things way past where I typed.

  6. Funny thing this “hope” word. I remember reading a comment from a State Department guy saying, “We keep hoping Russia will turn into a normal country, but it never does.” I remember hoping all the anti-Trump animosity would peter out after the inauguration. Whew, was I ever wrong on that. This Ukraine phone call is SO weak a pretext for impeachment, I originally thought after a few weeks, Nan would do an Emily Litella and say, “Never mind.” Maybe this weird vote that’s not really a vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry but … something kinda sorta else, I guess, may get voted down and this Star Chamber will be shut down. I hope so. I don’t see anything wrong in hoping for that to happen. Does that mean I’m delusional? No.

    A question for the Con Law experts in the commentariat: If Trump were impeached and convicted and removed from office as expeditiously as Nan hopes (speaking of hope), could he still run for President in the 2020 election? I assume he would not be barred.

    • If the president is impeached, he is not automatically barred from seeking further office. A separate vote of the Senate is required for that, but I believe the vote threshold for such a vote is just a simple majority, not the two-thirds required for impeachment.

        • Good catch. I was using “impeach” improperly here. Should have said “impeached and convicted”.

          Out of curiosity, I looked up the history of federal impeachment. Only 19 people have been impeached in our history: 15 judges, two presidents, one cabinet member, and one senator. Only eight of those were convicted and removed from office, and only three of the convicted were further disqualified from holding federal office in the future.

          Notably, for the purposes of this conversation, Alcee Hastings was impeached (for bribery and perjury) and removed from office as a federal judge in 1989, but has spent the last 26 years as a member of the House of Representatives. Nice job, Florida voters. Keep up the good work.

  7. Was Pelosi’s approval of the impeachment process a stalking horse to get access to the redacted portions of the Mueller report?

  8. I have a question regarding today’s witness Col. Vindeman.

    He states he was concerned about Trump’s request to have a foreign power investigate a US citizen. Why then do we have a mutual cooperation agreement with Ukraine on criminal matters? Who exactly would would be the subject of such investigations if not a US citizen?

    • What president hasn’t caused concern among government employees? So what? I was concerned about the revocation of Glass-Steagall, but no one in Congress asked me to file a whistle blower’s report so they could impeach Bill Clinton for signing it.

      • OB

        I am sure any number of Vindman’s subordinates had concerns about him at times.

        I want Vindman to answer the question why do we have a mutual cooperation agreement for criminal investigations if when we ask to look into an issue that involves a US citizen this NSC gets concerned.

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